Hefte zur Baukunst is a new series of publications launched jointly by Verlag Kettler and the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung. It presents monuments that are of historic importance, traces their origins, and records their expert restoration.
The first volume in this series is devoted to Berlin’s Tieranatomische Theater. Situated close to the Charité hospital, this lecture theater for the demonstration of veterinary anatomy is the oldest remaining academic building in the German capital. It was designed in 1789 by the architect Carl Gotthard Langhans who also created the Brandenburg Gate. The building was conceived as the main structure of the new veterinary school. It ranks as the most important work of early classicism in Berlin and is an impressive testimony to the Enlightenment and the Prussian spirit of innovation. At the time, the public dissection of human corpses and animal carcasses was increasingly considered a basic discipline essential to understanding the anatomy of both humans and animals, as well as to the study of diseases. Langhans designed a two-story centralized plan that combines cubic and cylindrical shapes. At the heart of his composition lies the striking round lecture theater laid out to seat 150 people. With its dome, it creates a contrast to the cubic structure of the adjacent rooms.
The “old anatomy”, which survived all wars and destruction, was carefully extended twice in its history. In the years 2003 to 2019, the building underwent restoration work and was adapted for use by Berlin’s Humboldt-Universität.