Allegory of the reconceptualization of knowledge in various fields as a consequence of the globalization of knowledge in the seventeenth century. Frontispiece of the Jesuit Heinrich Scherer's work on the four-fold crisis in geography, 1710. Original source owned by MPIWG Library.

Architecture

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science building is situated in Berlin Dahlem, in the south of Berlin, and in the vicinity of a number of other Max Planck Institutes. Historically, the area was chosen in the beginning of the twentieth century as a location for hosting elite research institutes that together would create a “German Oxford.”

The new building for the MPIWG, designed by the architectural office of Dietrich & Dietrich (Stuttgart), was completed in 2006. The rotunda of chestnuts located at the center of the property determined the peculiar shape of the building. The research departments and service units reside in linked pavilions arranged around the chestnut trees and create an inner courtyard.

The library is the heart of the building: directly accessible from all departments of the Institute, the library even enjoys natural lighting despite its subterranean location. Historian Andreas Schätzke has written on the architecture and the historical context of the Institute's building. It appeared in a volume on the architecture of the building by Edition Axel Menges (2010).