Inauguration of the new building for the Max Planck Institute for Human Development


When the MPI for Human Development moved into its new building in Berlin in 1974, the design by architects Fehling and Gogel illustrated the way the student movement of 1968 had steered science into a new era. The star-shaped construction which forewent both representative pomp and anonymous internal structures was something altogether new in architecture. It focused on communication and let the external form be a consequence of the internal needs of the scientists. “Think and read alone” and “communicate with others” – these were the basic needs that the new building had to fulfil. At the same time, it was an expression of the new tendency in the scientific community to allow members of staff below Director’s level to influence decisions. It also coincided with the specific research field of the Institute. The Institute had been founded in 1962 and was working with a research topic that concerned society at large: the conditions for the acquisition of knowledge. The unusual architecture was intended to promote this work and was therefore seminal in every aspect.

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