Only brief history was granted to the private railroad trucks, constructed in the mid of the 19th century, which advanced into the city center and led in terminal stations,. The late neo-classical Hamburger Bahnhof was closed already in 1884, only 40 years after its onset. After 1906 the building was used as museum for building structure and transport. The Rieckhallen, built as a downstream unit, survived economically without the Hamburger Bahnhof. In the end the firm Rieck adopted the whole, in its north-south-extension highly-visible building and in 1960 the compact basement received a light new upper construction.
Whereas the Riekhallen during the german division found itself on the edge of the west-berlin outskirts, the whole area after the unity, advanced to the center of the city and the very close new main-train station signalized a radical reevaluation of the whole borough after 2005.
The shipping firm Rieck left the building in 2001 and since then Eugen Blume purposed it as an ideal location for exhibitions. Already in 2002 the 220 meter long building had its first premiere as an exhibition hall with a surreal video-installation by Julian Rosefledt. Also artist like Tacita Dena, Olafur Eliasson and Thomas Demand set up their ateliers at the south part of the building which remained also after the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection moved into the building.
The reconstruction was planned and performed by Berlin architects Kühn Malvezzi. Their purpose to change a shipping agent building into a 6.000 squaremeter exhibition space was above all a technical and logistic challenge such as handling with artificial and natural light, replanning of space or the new placement of the technical unit. The historical structure of the building remained conserved and underlines the specific character of an industry building. This task was not new for the young architects, having done a reconstruction of the Binding brewery for the documenta 11 in Kassel.
A bridge connects the Rieckhallen with the Hamburger Bahnhof. This connection is so, functional inside and sculptural outside, a passage and at the same time a signal. The brigde, completed in summer 2004, somehow represents the second, never realized wing of the Hamburger Bahnhof and became a companion piece to the already existing Kleihues-building.
The 250 meter long black building is of course a new eye-catcher but a the same time its function is without a doubt: the art remains the star.