The Boros Bunker in Berlin-Mitte houses a private art collection the likes of which you’ve never seen. Topped with a glass atrium, the monumental Nazi-era bunker contains five floors of contemporary art spread across 3000 square meters.
In the early 2000s, art collectors Christian and Karen Boros were searching for a home for their 700-piece collection of contemporary art. Only in Berlin would a WWII Bunker with a sordid history seem like the perfect fit. Inside the hulking exterior, visitors travel through a series of interconnecting rooms where works from big-name artists like Ai Wei Wei and Olafur Eliasson stand alongside lesser known, but equally as intriguing emerging artists. If the massive names on show here aren’t enough to pique your interest — the story of the space will. Built in 1941 as an air raid shelter by the Nazis, following the Second World War, it was used briefly by the Soviets to hold prisoners of war. Following the war, the bunker assumed a more benign role: a storage space first for textiles, and later for tropical fruit (locals, in jest, used to call the site ‘Banana Bunker’). In typical Berlin style, following this wholesome period of fruit and fabric, the space housed a hardcore techno club whose infamous parties caused the club to close down in the mid-’90s — and its final incarnation, as both the home and gallery space of Christian and Karen Boros, occurred in 2003, when the couple bought and converted the industrial space into one of the leading contemporary art spaces in Germany. If you’d like to visit, you best enquire ahead of time — tours can be booked out up to three months in advance.