Prestigious Humboldt Forum relies on intelligent locking system from ASSA ABLOY


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After around nine years of construction, the Humboldt Forum is gradually opening its doors. In the heart of Berlin’s historic centre, it was set up as a modern space for culture and science. Modern also describes its intelligent digital locking system which will secure the new events and meeting centre. The electronic eCLIQ locking system from ASSA ABLOY Opening Solutions meets high security standards and offers not only contemporary management, but also full flexibility for targeted and convenient control of the Forum’s numerous different user and visitor groups.

Located at a historic location between Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz — right next to Museum Island, Humboldt University and Berlin Cathedral — the Humboldt Forum is a new cultural house in the historic and cultural heart of Berlin. Over more than 42,000 square metres, it will offer space for exchange and diversity in the future and, thanks to its open building concept, will also act as a new public space for Berlin.

Uniting traditional and modern

The final decision on reconstruction was taken in summer 2002 by a large cross-party majority in the German Bundestag. The Humboldt Forum owes its current appearance, a vibrant contrast between baroque and contemporary architecture, to a reinterpretation by Italian architect Franco Stella, who triumphed in a 2008 international architecture competition for the reconstruction. With three reconstructed baroque façades, the building incorporates large parts of the Berlin Palace heavily damaged in the Second World War and combines them with modern style elements. Breaks in the history of the site are thus reflected in the story of the place and the programmatic core of the Forum itself. Stella’s design also impressed by its urban integration with open urban spaces.

Two of the inner courtyards will be open 24 hours a day: the so-called “passage” and the “Schlüterhof”. The newly designed passage, a pedestrian passage across the Forum, connects the pleasure garden in the north with the palace square in the south. The Schlüterhof, in turn, was largely reconstructed according to the plans of baroque architect and sculptor Andreas Schlüter. With his renovation of the Berlin Palace in the 18th century, Schlüter had a major impact on its appearance today.

The Humboldt Forum is named after the brothers Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt. Their curiosity and ability to explore the world with open eyes is the inspiration behind the artistic and scientific program. In addition to three core themes — history and architecture of the location, the Humboldt brothers, as well as colonialism and coloniality — current socio-political issues are also at the forefront.

Simple and flexible

As a modern cultural hub with presentations, exhibitions and events, the Humboldt Forum will also house the globally important collections of the Ethnologisches Museum (Ethnological Museum) and the Asiatisches Museum (Museum of Asian Art) of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums), the Humboldt Lab of the Humbold-Universität zu Berlin (Humboldt University of Berlin) and the Berlin Global exhibition of the Stadtmuseum Berlin (Berlin City Museum).

The fact that the Forum’s premises are used so differently and are accessed by many employees, service providers and numerous external visitors at different times, placed high demands on security technology for adequate protection of the building. A solution was required that not only offered a very high security standard, but also uncomplicated management of access authorisations.

Modern locking concept

As the building owner, the Humboldt Forum decided on an intelligent, digital eCLIQ locking system from ASSA ABLOY and commissioned Weckbacher Sicherheitssysteme GmbH for the challenging planning, delivery and installation of the project.

The electronic locking system is distinguished by robust, durable and secure components, as well as its compact form and striking design. The keys and cylinders of the modular locking solution are perfectly compatible with the stringent design-oriented requirements and installation situations of the doors in the Humboldt Forum — and thus optimally integrate into its sophisticated new building concept.

The key factor, however, was that this locking system offers contemporary management with full flexibility. Regularly changing access authorisations can be quickly and easily defined with eCLIQ, for example for changing exhibitions. Any keys that are lost or which people forget to return or knowingly do not return, can be deactivated just as easily via the system.

Authorisations with time and room restrictions can also be configured, allowing administrators to grant cleaning staff access at specific times, for example. The master key system can be managed directly by the Humboldt Forum via an easily scalable and flexible cloud-based platform administered by the CLIQ Web Manager.

Strong partner for security

A total of around 1,500 intelligent programmable eCLIQ locking cylinders were installed in the new structure, which, including its basement and roof terrace, has a total floor area of around 97,000 m2. In addition, 700 intelligent battery-powered keys are made available to the Humboldt Forum Foundation to enable all authorised persons to access the building.

“In this context, intelligent means that the keys used only close and open doors to which access is also programmed. Lost keys are simply deleted and new, customised access profiles are assigned. This means that security and locking convenience with the eCLIQ master key system are state-of-the-art,” explains Jannis Hlous, Project Manager at Weckbacher responsible for work on the Humboldt Forum. This traditional Dortmund company for locking systems has strong knowledge of public building projects at this scale and, as ASSA ABLOY’s long-standing specialist partner, has over 70 years’ experience in security equipment for large building systems.

To learn more about key operated CLIQ mechatronic access control technology, download a free Solution Guide at

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