SCHOTT supplies glass for the Palace of Tears in Berlin

News /
7 May 2012
SCHOTT supplies glass for the Palace of Tears in Berlin
Tikana® from SCHOTT gives the Palace of Tears a glass façade that closely resembles the original.

Special glass from SCHOTT gives the Palace of Tears at the Friedrichstraße train station in Berlin that is listed as a historic building a glass façade that closely resembles the original. The Berlin authorities for the preservation of historic buildings decided to have the restoration glass Tikana® from the technology group SCHOTT installed as part of the renovation work on the building that dates back to the sixties. The glassy pavilion was used as a terminal building for westbound border crossings during the GDR era.

The head of conservation selected the restoration glass Tikana® for two reasons. On the one hand, it was the only product that accurately copies the historic, slightly irregular glass used in the early 1960s – and not just from a visual standpoint. Even today, SCHOTT still manufactures it using the traditional Fourcault glass-drawing process that was quite common back then. Here, the glass melt is drawn from the melting tank with the help of a drawing nozzle and then transported vertically upwards.

On the other hand, SCHOTT was the only company that was able to produce the glass panes in the statically required thickness of six millimeters and the dimensions necessary. For example, model panes of up to 2794 millimeters in height were needed for this project.

SCHOTT combined the desired optical and structural properties with the advantages that modern insulating glass offers with respect to thermal insulation. An insulated 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. Bollinger und Fehlig Architekten GmbH oversaw the restoration work. They worked together closely with the historic building authorities on renovating the façade and received support from Lichtbogen Metallbau GmbH.

Restored in a modern fashion, yet designed to have that authentic historic look, today the Palace of Tears takes us back to the time before German Reunification. The glassy pavilion was once designed by Horst Lüderitz, the architect of the German Reichsbahn when the Friedrichstraße train station became a border station after the Berlin Wall was built in 1961. Thanks to its large window front, the building appears to be airy and flooded with light from the outside. Nevertheless, the atmosphere in the lines during passport checks was sad when East Germans had to say goodbye to their families and visitors when they returned to West Germany. In fact, this is where the Palace of Tears got its name. Today, the permanent exhibition “Border Experiences. Everyday Life in a Divided Germany” sponsored by the foundation House of History of the Republic of Germany reminds us of what life was like when Germany was still a divided nation.

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