Nikolaikirche Berlin

Understanding architecture

Look at that! Almost on our own doorstep and in the historical center of Berlin, we “inkl. Designers” realised for the first time an inclusive museum project. Needless to say that here at home we were particularly happy to implement all that inkl. stands for.

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In the converted Nikolaikirche (“St. Nicholas’ Church”) the church history of Berlin is told. Five new tactile models and audio guides are now available to guests from all over the world, enabling them to understand church architecture over the course of time. These models can be used by everyone, regardless of whether they are living with or without a disability.

The essence of the idea of inclusion has come to life here in inspiring teamwork: On the way to an exhibition that is easy to use for all visitors, we and our colleagues at the Stadtmuseum have coordinated all the planning steps with a focus group. Representatives of the Association for the Visually Impaired, students of the European University Viadrina in the Master’s programme Protection of European Cultural Assets, as well as blind and visually impaired museum friends critically tested our designs and thus made the result even better.

The new, high-quality 3D models for the permanent exhibition now illustrate the step-by-step development of the Nikolaikirche. The origins of the church, made of field stone, brick extensions, later a copper roof and an interior with a cross vault, can thus be traced in different models on site. Innovative tactile guidance as well as the sensible use of different materials are aesthetically appealing and inclusive.

The audio texts are conceived in the same inclusive sense, for everyone: they give both blind and sighted people orientation on the models and descriptive explanations.

The pilot project in cooperation with the Stadtmuseum Berlin was realized in only half a year. This was a sporty project, we Berliners would say. And a great hit anyway.

A glance at the tactile station

Left: The photo shows the material samples of the west facade, in the background it shows the complete model of the Nikolaikirche. Right: This photo shows the complete model of the Nikolaikirche, in the background the church room is visible.
This photo shows the first station of the exhibition from the back. In the foreground is the back of the Nikolaikirche, in the background is the model of the west facade with the material samples.
This photo shows the model of the west facade. Beside the west facade are material samples of the west facade.
Left: The photo shows the second station of the exhibition. There is the vault model, the wall model and the tactile cross-sectional graphic. Right: This photo shows the tactile inscription of the tactile station, the lower ends of the vault model and two figures which serve as a reference for the size of the model.
This photograph shows the wall elevation with tactile caption.

Renderings

Left: Graphic of the complete tactile model of the Nikolaikirche. Right: Graphic with the view of the north side of the Nikolaikirche.
This graphic shows the complete model with the cut open interior of the Nikolaikirche.
Left: This graphic shows the interior of the Nikolaikirche with the organ gallery, four pillars and the vault. Right: This graphic shows the complete model with the cut open interior of the Nikolaikirche.
Left: This graphic shows the vault model of the Nikolaikirche. Right: This graphic shows the vault model of the Nikolaikirche from below.
This graphic shows the model of the wall cutout of the Nikolaikirche.
Left: This graphic shows a detail of the wall cut-out: the vault approach. Right: This graphic shows the detail of the choir circumference of the wall cut-out.

Accompanying Media

This photo shows the front of the flyer for the exhibition extension. On the front of the flyer you can see the interior of the Nikolaikirche which is overprinted with red braille dots and the logo of the city museum.
This photo shows the front and back of the flyer for the exhibition extension. On the inside the text is in white on a red background. Here the Braille dots are printed transparent.
This photo shows the mobile maps of the Nikolaikirche. These cards can be borrowed at the cash desk of the Nikolaikirche for blind and visually impaired visitors.
This photo shows the mobile maps of the Nikolaikirche. These cards can be borrowed at the cash desk of the Nikolaikirche for blind and visually impaired visitors.

Inclusion in Detail

Sighted and blind visitors will explore the large model of the Nikolai Church at the opening.
Left: A blind visitor feels the model of the west facade. She uses the audio guide to get information about this section of the Nikolaikirche. Right: Four visitors stand in front of the second tactile station and explore the three different models.
Hands feel the material samples of the west facade, which are mounted next to the model of the west facade.
Left: Hands feel the model of the vault of the Nikolaikirche. Right: In the foreground of the photo, the second station of the exhibition is depicted, at the end of the station two men are standing having a conversation.
The photo shows the large model of the Nikolaikirche. Behind the model, on the cut side, two visitors look at the interior of the church model.
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Projectdetails

Client: Stadtmuseum Berlin, Museum Nikolaikirche

Project period: 2018 – 2019

Project Specifications: Guidance and part-moderation of the focus group meetings, conception and implementation of the tactile station including product design, 3D data creation, graphic design, involvement in the creation of comprehensive audio description texts for image description suitable for blind and visually challenged people, production support and monitoring