When searching for a new place to live with their young son and their 700-piece art collection, Berlin-based couple Karen and Christian Boros checked out some odd real estate: a defunct hospital, a former school, and a massive Nazi air raid bunker. They settled, ultimately, on the bunker: Virtually windowless, built in 1943, and as imposing an eyesore as you’d expect from Nazi architects, it became their home sweet home in 2003. Since then, the Boros family has transformed the 32,291-square-foot concrete structure into a private museum.
A video by Freunde von Freuden takes us on a tour through this luxurious art haven. Jens Casper of Berlin-based firm Realarchitektur revamped the formerly lightless industrial structure with tiny peephole-like windows, into a labyrinthine gallery, and added a glass-walled penthouse to its roof. The scarf-wearing, cigarette-smoking Boros shows off pieces by the likes of Elizabeth Peyton, sculptor Olafur Eliasson, Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Tracey Emin, and Wolfgang Tillmans. “We . . . like to purchase things that we don’t like,” Boros says, revealing just how disposable his income is. “Those are often things we fall in love with on second look.” He started collecting art at just 18, and made his fortune as an advertising mogul and founder of the Boros ad agency.
After it was a Nazi air raid shelter, the structure had a second past life: the most influential nightclub in Berlin used to squat there. When Boros bought the building from a real estate investor and booted out the squatters, the walls were covered with graffiti–so it was already home to its own kind of art. The Boros home gallery is open to anyone by appointment.