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The Campus

The Original Premises

In 1887, Werner Siemens donated an area 19800 m2 in size, in the city of Charlottenburg for the construction of the first Physics Department of the PTR. In the years 1887-91, the Observatory as main building, the presidential residential building, the administration building and the machine hall were built.

The Observatory is elaborately constructed. To avoid ground motion it stands on a concrete slab measuring approx. 1000 m2, and 2 m thick. An ingenious exhaust system provides for a constant interior temperature, in connection with exterior walls of a clamshell-type construction. According to contemporary descriptions, the heating installation is said to achieve an astounding temperature constancy of a few hundredths of a degree in the interior rooms.
For the Second Technical Department of the PTR, the German Empire in 1892 bought from v. Siemens further adjacent sites with an additional 14389 m2, in order to complete the facility with a chemical laboratory, a residential building for officials, a second laboratory building (henceforth known as "main building", today the Werner von Siemens Building), and also small adjoining buildings. In this way, a type of "Prussian campus" was created: modern, spacious and unique, worldwide in its function.

In 1912, there at the site of the initial machine and tank building of the First Department, a new electricity laboratory was erected, the present-day Emil Warburg Building.


The First Extension

In 1923, the Imperial Weights and Measures Office was integrated into the PTR. The office building, the present-day Wilhelm Foerster Building, lies opposite the main building in the present-day Abbestraße. As to arrangement, the building erected at about the turn of the century with its mirror-image facade construction is situated just at the extension of the axis defined by the Observatory and the main building. The facade of this also elaborately constructed building, was erected in red-faced brick and lavishly decorated.

The Second World War inflicted very heavy damages on the building structure. The administration building and the presidential residential building could not be saved. The heavily damaged Emil Warburg Building and the Wilhelm Foerster Building have been restored.

The Second Extension

In 1978, PTB took over the former Industrial Safety Museum in the southwest section of the block between Fraunhoferstraße and Kohlrauschstraße and incorporated it into its campus as the Hermann von Helmholtz Building. The building concerned is an exhibition building, construction of which began in 1900. It is divided into three parts: the administration section, the lecture hall with a foyer on the ground floor, and the attached exhibition hall. The hall and the lecture hall are purely steel constructions, and the brick outer walls only have a lattice function. The roofs of the multi-wing hall are extensively glass-paned.

The Third Extension

The integration of the Amt für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung (Office of Standardization, Metrology and Commodity Testing) of the GDR in the course of the reunification of both German states led to an expansion of the Charlottenburg site of the PTB, by incorporating the buildings of the Landesamt für das Mess- und Eichwesen (State Office of Metrology and Verification), along with the northern third of the block of the extended grounds in the campus of the Berlin Institute of the PTB. New constructions and reconstructions were built here for infrastructural use.

Die dritte Erweiterung

Die Eingliederung des Amts für Standardisierung, Messwesen und Warenprüfung der DDR im Zuge der Vereinigung beider deutscher Staaten führt zu einer Vergrößerung des Charlottenburger Standorts der PTB, indem mit den Gebäuden des Landesamts für das Mess- und Eichwesen auch das nördliche Blockdrittel des Erweiterungsgeländes in den Campus des Instituts Berlin der PTB einbezogen wird. Hier entstehen Neu- bzw. Umbauten für die infrastrukturelle Nutzung.

Modern with Tradition

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The building complex of the Berlin Institute has been included in the inventory of the building and art monuments of Charlottenburg and stands under protection as a complete ensemble. The Hermann von Helmholtz Building and also the Observatory, as oldest laboratory building of PTR/PTB, are under individual monument protection.

Through its historical buildings, the Berlin Institute is firmly rooted in the tradition of the PTR. Its buildings, however, accommodate laboratory space equipped with the most modern technology.

Currently, the Berlin Institute encompasses the two squares of the original premises and of the expansion premises. Its further development aims at an inner consolidation of the site, resulting in a harmonic, self-contained, modern campus with visible historical roots. For this purpose, an urban-designed master plan was developed, forming the basis - in future decades - for further stages of site expansion. This site has an urban design classification and meets both the monument protection as well as the use-specific type of requirements.

At the present time, a central technical infrastructure building is being built to complete the northern infrastructure junction. In future, a low temperature centre at the corner of Abbestraße/Frauenhoferstraße is to take over essential functions of the present-day Warburg Building.