SCHOTT solutions no. 2/2012 > Restoration

The restoration glass Tikana® from SCHOTT gives the Palace of Tears at the Friedrichstrasse train station in Berlin a glass façade that closely resembles the original. Photo: SCHOTT/C. Costard

Place full of Emotions


The Palace of Tears at the Friedrichstrasse train station in Berlin that is listed as a historic building received a glass façade made of the restoration glass TIKANA® that closely resembles the original when it was renovated.


Christine Fuhr

Parting and longing, fear and joy, despair and hope – these types of feelings come to mind with the building that was built on the grounds of the Friedrichstrasse train station in Berlin in 1962. The pavilion made of glass and steel that was erected according to the plans of Horst Lüderitz, the architect of the German Reichsbahn, was used as a border crossing point for leaving East for West Germany back in the days of the GDR. Due to the many painful goodbyes after meeting with relatives and friends from other parts of Germany that often culminated in collapses from exhaustion and more than 200 deaths and failed escape attempts, the people of Berlin colloquially called this pavilion the “Palace of Tears.” Today, the foundation House of History of the Republic of Germany brings back the many dramatic and everyday effects that division and borders had on the lives of Germans to life again at this historic site on 550 square meters of exhibition space.


Major renovations that included the new glass façade were performed in advance of the permanent exhibition entitled ”Border Experiences. Everyday Life in a Divided Germany” that opened in September 2011. The main challenge for the Berlin authorities for the preservation of historic buildings and the architectural firm Bollinger + Fehlig Architekten that was commissioned with renovating the building was to restore the character of the ”customs clearance building” as authentically as possible. Lüderitz had designed it to be a pavilion flooded with light with a steel-framed construction on top of a 2.50 meter high pedestal. This included using large glass surfaces that have the same type of slightly irregular structure that was typical for the production processes available in the 1960s. Furthermore, the project planners wanted the glass panes to offer special lighting properties that would prevent the room from overheating as a result of sunlight. The restoration glass TIKANA® met the demands of the authorities for historic buildings and closely resembled the historic, slightly irregular glass used in the early 1960s. Besides this, SCHOTT was the only company capable of producing these glass panes in the required thickness of six millimeters and the dimensions needed. For example, the project called for model panes of up to 2,794 millimeters in height. The SCHOTT experts combined the desired optical and structural properties with the advantages that modern insulating glass offers with respect to thermal insulation. An insulating glass laminate that consists of the restoration glass TIKANA® on the outside and a float glass pane that features a heat insulation coating on the inside was used in the Palace of Tears. Restored in a modern and yet authentic fashion, today the Palace of Tears invites visitors to embark on a journey back into German history.
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