ANOHA Berlin

Jewish Museum Berlin - Museum for children

An impressive spruce timber construction with a height of 7 meters and a base diameter of 28 meters is the centre of the new Children’s World within the Jewish Museum in Berlin has been installed in the former wholesale flower market.

This circular, single-storey, CO2-neutral, free-standing building is the core building of the new Children’s World and the modern interpretation of Noah’s Ark - abbreviated to "ANOHA” from the Torah. Designed by the American design practice Olson Kundig, the project has then been implemented by the Berlin architect’s office Engelbrecht.

Sustainability was a major issue, too - not only in terms of contents but also in terms of project implementation. Locally grown spruce is the dominating material used for the supporting structure, walls, and ceilings. Even the floor is made from this renewable material. Durable beech wood is used for the interior. A total of 20 bent glued laminated timber beams with tight bending radiuses of 5.5 meters form the inner part of the ark
and the supporting structure for the insulated, trapezoidal and rectangular timber roof elements and the factory pre-fabricated special wall elements. 140 secondary axes serve to fasten the lath cladding. Similar to ship construction methods, wall areas have been cladded with horizontally aligned board-type structures. The exhibition area, designed as timber-rib construction, is complemented by additional facilities, such as workshops, a foyer with wardrobe, staff rooms and lavatories. In terms of architecture, the circular ark - designed as house-in-house concept - offers a soft counterpoint to the straightlined flower market hall that had been built back in 1963 and was designed as skeleton steel construction.

Rubner Holzbau was charged with the overall range of timber engineering tasks for this special project including design, factory prefabrication of all elements, transport, and assembly.


Project details

location Berlin (GER)

completion 2020

Owner JKM Gebäudemanagement, Berlin (GER)

Architecture Olson Kundig, Seattle (USA)

Object planning Architekturbüro Engelbrecht, Berlin (GER)

Size 77 m³ Glulam

modern ark

Inspired by Stanley Kubrick and the Sumerians

Instead of imitating the historical and biblical ark designs, ANOHA represents the modern type of ark, which is inspired by two apparently different sources: an old Sumerian text, which was discovered one decade ago and describes a circular ark, and the spaceship from Stanley Kubrick’s movie “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

According to the biblical legend, the ark was an impressive vessel, which Noah built and used to save his family and all animal species from the flood.
The narrative design created by the Seattle Architects invites young visitors from the age of 3 to re-enact, to understand and to re-invent the legend of the flood, of the saving ark and of the new beginning by using the approach of contemporary interactions. In their exploration children are joined by 150 imaginative animal sculptures positioned at the work bench, the water path or in the section that is named „Tell us a story of a/your better world”. The ark, designed as a timber construction, is meant to be used as an interactive place to discover, explore and play. A place, where young visitors shall be inspired to think about the respectful co-existence of humans, animals and nature and encouraged to actively work for a diverse and better world. Even less attractive and less liked animals, like the naked mole rat, have their space and stand for respect, open-mindedness and tolerance towards anything and anyone that might seem strange at first sight. The mammoth - an extinct species - and the polar bear - a highly threatened species - focus the attention of children and adults to important topics, such as environmental problems and climate change pointing out, at the same time, which options each of us has to start rethinking and to actively implement proactive measures.

The animal sculptures have been designed by selected artists and are made from found items and recycled materials. These sculptures can be explored in a manifold way either as a monkey bar, a hammock, or a cosy cave. Treasures want to be discovered, sounds want to be heard, and thoughts and ideas want to be implemented. By the way, one crucial consulting service, which was indispensable to secure the success of the project, was rendered by the children themselves.
A Children’s Advisory Council, especially initiated for this project and made up of children aged 8 - 11, actively contributed to the implementation of the Children’s World.

Roof elements

flat roof 1,015 m² (rectangular elements) | radial roof 600 m² (trapezoidal elements) | Transition section from flat roof to radial roof 115 m² (rectangular elements)


Arched beams ark 15 m³ | supporting structure flat roof ark 18 m³ | supporting structure flat roof museum 40 m³ | cloumns 4 m³

Cladding and panels

Panels in the inside yard 600 m² (13 m³ spruce slats) | Cladding outside screen 440 m² (9 m³ spruce slats)