Remembering without hero worship
Wieland architectural bronze for the Berlin Memorial of the German Armed Forces
The memorial of the German Armed Forces in Berlin, inaugurated in 2009, is clad with bronze materials from Wieland. Aesthetic and durable at the same time, the unusual design of the metal cladding conveys the memorial's message.
The idea of creating a central memorial where all dead soldiers of the German Armed Forces can be remembered came from the then Minister of Defence Franz Josef Jung. In 2007, he commissioned a committee to develop proposals for a publicly accessible memorial at Bendler Block in Berlin – headquarters of the Ministry of Defence. The choice fell on the architect Andreas Meck, whose design provided for a reinforced concrete cuboid building 32 metres long, eight metres wide and ten metres high, clad with a perforated bronze shell. The arrangement of the punched out openings is based on the Morse code and quotes the oath taken by regular and professional soldiers as well as the pledge of the conscripts. In addition, the bronze plates evoke the identification marks of the soldiers, which are broken through in the middle in case of death. Inside there is a room of silence in which the names of all the soldiers who died in service are projected on a wall for five seconds at a time. A principle that avoids a hero worship and instead focuses on the transience of life and the individuality of dying.
The foundation stone for the memorial was laid at the end of 2008. Wieland contributed the raw material for the metal cladding: sheets of Wieland-M15 architectural bronze, three metres long, 58 centimetres wide and three millimetres thick, brushed on one side and coated with foil. Before their assembly, they were perforated, angled and patinated for an even brown colouring by other companies involved.
The impressive memorial was inaugurated in September 2009 by the then Federal President Horst Köhler. Even though many other partners were involved in its realisation – for Wieland it is an honour to have contributed to the permanent fulfilment of the aesthetic and functional tasks of the memorial of the German Armed Forces with easy-to-process and durable materials.