Academy Of Arts, Berlin, Germany

The Academy of Arts in Berlin returned to its former site on Pariser Platz in 2005. Parts of the World War Two era-buildings and a statue belonging to Albert Speer can still be seen.

Academy of Arts

Pariser Platz 4




The Berlin Academy of Arts is the oldest cultural institution in Germany. It exists to promote modern, contemporary art and to protect cultural heritage.

King Frederick I founded the Prussian Academy of Arts in 1696 as a forum for artists and scholars. The building on Pariser Platz was a private dwelling from 1734 and became the home of Count Arnim-Boitzenburg in 1858. The Prussian Treasury acquired the site in 1902 and architect Ernst von Ihne converted the building between 1904-1906.

Famous members of the academy include Wolfgang von Goethe, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Bertolt Brecht, and Max Liebermann.

Berlin Academy of Arts

Bundesarchiv Image P049294. The Berlin Academy of Arts building on Pariser Platz in 1933. Copyright unknown.

The Nazi party took over the academy, disbanding it in 1937. The building became the party’s head office of construction. This is where Hitler’s architect Albert Speer modelled the idea of “Germania”, the 1,000 year capital of the German Reich. Allied bombing of Berlin destroyed most of the academy, leaving only the exhibition halls intact.

One memory of the Nazi occupation of the building remains. In the main hall stands a statue of ‘Prometheus’ by Reinhold Begas. It once graced the offices of Albert Speer. The Nazis walled it up for safekeeping during the war. Construction workers discovered it buried away during rebuilding work.

Albert Speer

Bundesarchiv Image 183-J14589. Nazi architect Albert Speer in a Soviet T-34 tank on 28th June 1943. Copyright unknown.

During the Cold War, the building became a print and photographic workshop as the academy split into east and west factions. East German border troops commandeered part of the building after the building of the nearby Berlin Wall.

Prometheus in Berlin's Academy of Arts

The Nazis had a love of ancient Greece and this impressive statue of The Prometheus was safely walled up in the Academy of Arts during World War Two. It was discovered and restored during construction of the new building. Photo taken on 23rd October 2017.

Today, since 2005, the Academy of Arts stands once again on Pariser Platz next to the Brandenburg Gate. This is where the original building stood. Stuttgart born architect Guenter Behnisch designed the modern glass-fronted building. Behind the glass, visitors can see the surviving ruins of the painting halls from the original building.

The 36m x 80m building stands in the southeast corner of Pariser Platz. Walking through will guide visitors toward the Holocaust Memorial Monument by Peter Eisenman.