The Berlin Wall, which stood between 1961 to 1989, came to symbolize the ‘Iron Curtain’ – the ideological split between East and West – that existed across Europe and between the two superpowers, the US and the Soviet Union, and their allies, during the Cold War. This fragment of the wall has history written, and actually painted, all over it, with a mural by French artist, Thierry Noir in certain segments, including this one gifted to UMass Amherst. Though over sixty years old, the Berlin Wall as a symbol of a barrier to human liberty remains incredibly relevant in today’s context world-wide.
Placing the wall on display while protecting it in a minimal manner was of critical importance. An ultra-clear, all-glass structural enclosure with a sloping stainless steel plate roof ensures minimal obstruction between the viewer and the wall while protecting the wall and keeping maintenance to the enclosure minimal. To prevent excessive heat gain and to allow the wall to breathe, the entire enclosure is vented at the base and at the roof along with quarter inch gaps between the glass panels. An LED light fixture is integrated into the base at the front of the wall and a full height access door is carefully integrated in concert with the enclosure structure for minimal visual impact. The entire structure is set on a pre-cast concrete base, designed to be lifted and moved in the future.