The Museum für Naturkunde Berlin was designed by architect August Tiede. After four years of construction, on December 2nd in 1889, it was opened by Kaiser Wilhelm II. One hundred years later the museum was in an inadequate state. Extensive building repairs and preservations and an improvement of working conditions for employees were necessary. The first comprehensive renovation plan was defined and to be carried out in two stages. However, even before construction work started on stage one, one third of the exhibition space had been renovated and refurbished from EU and national lottery funding. In July 2007 and after two years of construction the four galleries showing the temporary exhibitions World of Dinosaurs, System Earth, Evolution in Action, Cosmos & the Solar System were re-opened.
The subsequent first stage of construction (2005 - 2010) was essential in the overall renewal of the whole building. The original substance of the listed building would only be minimally affected, while the functionality, logistics and infrastructure of the ensemble would be re-shaped and improved. The Swiss architect’s office Diener & Diener won the contract for the building work. In 2010, the former war-ravaged East Wing of the museum was reopened as the most modern storage for the zoological wet collections. Also more modern laboratory and research spaces and a preparation workspace where exhibits are created and maintained were installed.
The second stage of construction (2012 - 2018) is another huge step on the Museum’s way to re-shape the concept of a modern research museum. The focus will be on the sympathetic restoration and modernisation of collection rooms to ensure functional long-term storage for zoological and palaeontological preparations. The monumental staircase and the collection rooms in the central and side wings of the upper storeys will all become part of the visitors‘ circuit – allowing visitors an insight into scientific collections such as the antler collection and into current research. Not only new lab and office space, but also a new multifunctional event venue will be built. Accessibility will be continued to be improved, visitors‘ cloakrooms and toilets modernised. Old brittle roofs will be renovated, as well as all facades of the five historic buildings that form the ensemble.
The redesign of the courtyard and the entrance area has already been completed at the end of 2015.
Alongside ongoing building work, a master plan is being developed for the comprehensive renovation of existing parts of the building and the extensions required. This also intends a new building that would house collections under optimum conservatory conditions and as well as a communication centre.