Inspired by the pioneering vision of Noah's Ark at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, which underscores the importance of diversity, collaboration and second chances, ANOHA—The Children’s World of the Jewish Museum Berlin seeks to give the museum’s youngest guests a sense of hope and possibility. Located within an existing former flower market hall, the heart of ANOHA is a circular wooden ark, standing almost 23 feet (7 meters) tall with a 92-foot (28-meter) base diameter. The curvilinear ark complements the curved ribs of the Brutalist light scoops overhead, while the shift in materiality from concrete to wood offers a softening counterpoint to the existing space.
More than 150 sculptural animals populate ANOHA’s ark, each created from found objects by a team of 18 German artists. This approach encourages children to consider the importance of recycling and adaptive re-use, while supporting ANOHA’s core philosophy of creativity and imagination. The tactile nature of these sculptural objects and the sense of playful discovery as children recognize the familiar materials used to make them further serve to highlight the importance of respecting, treasuring and conserving global resources. Interactive exhibits placed along an intuitive visitor pathway teach children how to solve problems independently and as a group, while explorative spaces modeled after unique habitats allow children to experience the diverse perspectives of the various animals.
Sustainable strategies are embedded in the architectural design as an integral part of the user experience. Mechanical system needs are reduced thanks to the environmental buffer of the existing hall, significantly lowering energy loads. Ceiling fans and operable windows in the ark allow for air exchange and natural ventilation. The hall’s curved concrete roof forms draw daylight into the interior. The ark’s windows support this passive daylighting approach, while visually connecting ANOHA with the existing structure of the hall.
Olson Kundig Design Competition Team: Alan Maskin, Jerome Tryon, Juan Ferreira, Stephen Yamada-Heidner, AIA, LEED® AP, Katie Miller, Laura Bartunek and Martina Bendel
Olson Kundig Project Team: Alan Maskin, Design Principal; Stephen Yamada-Heidner, AIA, LEED® AP, Project Manager; Martina Bendel, Project Architect; Jerome Tryon and Ryan Botts, Architectural Staff
Key Consultants: Labs von Helmolt, Local Site Manager; Architekturbüro Engelbrecht, Local Architect; IGLHAUT + von GROTE, Local Exhibit Designer; IBPM GmbH - Projektsteuerung, Owner’s Representative; EiSat GmbH, Structural Engineer; Rentschler und Riedesser GmbH, Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer; Ingenieurbüro für Elektrotechnik (IfE) Grothe GmbH, Electrical Engineer; Blieske Architects Lighting Designers, Lighting Design; Transsolar KlimaEngineering, Natural Ventilation Concept / Climate Engineer; Kubix GmbH, Animal Construction
Artists: • Arie van Riet (artistic x-ray images of various animals in the security area) • Dieter Braun (large illustrations throughout the museum) • Andrea Übelacker (“world puzzle” art project, produced in collaboration with elementary school children grades 1-3) • Gunilla Jähnichen and Tine Steen (collaborative Noah’s Ark film project in the foyer) • Wolfram Spyra (sound artist for installations in the foyer and Rain Room, sound artist and developer of the sound islands in the Flood Room) • Martin Böttger (water animation in the Flood Room) • Anne Metzen, Agnes Kelm, Andreas Edelblut, Annika Statkowski, Armin Benz, Beate Kelm, Conny Helm, Falk Starke, Franz Rodvalt, Gisbert Barmann, Gunnar Zimmer, Heiko Helm, Jan Schroeder, Jens Prockat, Jochen Müller, Jörg Hilbert, Maria Bahra, Matthias Garff, Myriel Kohrs, Nina Schrader and Thomas Raditschnig (animals)