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Riding Halls and Stables
The first buildings were constructed on parts of the former Garrison Wood Yard (Garnisionholzhof) beginning in 1822. The reknown German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel sketched the drafts for an H-shaped riding stable complex and a large riding hall, now called Schinkel Hall (Schinkelhalle). Also included were two large riding sites, the back site being enclosed by the Havel River while the front one remained publicly visible through a wrought-iron lattice with eagles, created by Christian Daniel Rauch. They could clearly see the yard from the street, which led to people nicknaming it the “Riding Theater” (Reittheater), a place where the cavalry exercised. Over the years, especially in the last century, the Schinkel riding stables were supplemented with further stables, and in 1915 a fourth riding hall for the Hussar Guard was constructed. Its design was similar to the design of the Schinkel Hall, with two large self-supporting steel girders spanning over 25.50 meters. The Soviet military forces used this building after the second World War during the GDR years as a garage, among other things. Only one row of these oldest riding stables still exists today, as the rest was demolished in 1976 during the building of the Humboldt Bridge. The concentration of the four riding halls and their stables on such narrow territory is unique and an outstanding architectural feat.
The Schinkel Hall, a listed building under historic preservation, is one of the oldest buildings on the territory. Build in 1823 according to Karl Friedrich Schinkel's plans, it used to be part of the H-shaped riding stable complex which was constructed on the Garrison Wood Yard since 1822. The Schinkel Hall is 40 metres long and 18.2 metres wide. With an open roof truss made of solid pine baulks, the construction is fully stable without middle columns, which would have been obstructive in a riding hall. As an outstanding relic of the period and as an example of an extinct architectural style, it was restored and enlarged in line with accepted conservation practices. Today it is used as a high-quality and atmospheric venue for various cultural and commercial events.
Four riding halls existed on the caserne area. Riding Hall A was built in 1915 because of army reinforcement, and it was the fourth hall and constructed according to the plans of the architect Robert Klingelhöffer, a Royal Government Building Officer in the Army Building Authority II. Designed like the neo-classical style of the Schinkel Hall, the roof truss consists of two large self-supporting steel girders spanning over 25.5 metres. As of 1998, the children and youth theatre sections of the Hans Otto Theater reside there. Interestingly, the cooling stable, which was an extremely progressive development at that time and used to slowly cool down tired and hot horses, makes a perfect foyer for today's purposes.
Riding Hall B was, more recently, used for dramatic art and dance by T-Werk and Fabrik Potsdam. Today, however, it is a rehearsal stage for the Hans Otto Theater.
Riding Stables on Harness Yard (Schirrhof)
A large complex of riding stables belonged to the Hussar Guard caserne. It was attached to the Schinkel Hall by a covered hall so that horses and riders could be exercised in every kind of weather. Numerous preserved details refer to the former function of the buildings.
These buildings were restored within the frame of the ZKS project, among others, with the support from the EU (EFRE) as well as federal and state government sponsorship for the upkeep of historic buildings.
Today, T-Werk and Kunstraum Potsdam (an art exhibition center) are accommodated in the restored riding halls in the Harness Yard, a place where horses and carriage were once harnessed. After the completion of the second construction stage in autumn 2007, the organic super-market Bio-Company opened its doors. The dancing and dance training studios as well as the former Russian Hall, which is now a concert and activity hall, followed in March 2008, and the private art museum FLUXUS + opened in April 2008.
Current users of the building include:Waschhaus Potsdam »
Hans Otto Theater GmbH »
Kunstraum Potsdam »
museum FLUXUS + »