The ensemble we know as Herrenhausen got its start in the 17th century as a country estate for the Electors of Hanover. Its notoriety grew with the addition of the Baroque Grosser Garten designed by Martin Charbonnier between 1696 and 1714, bringing to bear all the influence that his teacher André Le Nôtre exerted decades earlier at Versailles. At the same time, a residence was built to terminate the central axis of the expanding gardens. It was more than a century later, in 1819, after the territory had been elevated to a kingdom, that architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves recast the structure with its restrained Neoclassical façade.
That legacy came to ruin during World War II, when a 1943 bombing raid leveled the castle, leaving only a crumbling horseshoe staircase. In the 1960s, restoration began on the garden, but the residence wasn’t rebuilt until last year, according to the Laves design, by Hamburg-based Jastrzembski Kotulla Architekten. Funded by the city of Hanover and the Volkswagen Foundation, the structure is now a conference center and museum, with contemporary spaces secreted behind the pediments and pilasters of the façade. With the reintroduction of this architectural centerpiece, the balance of the filigreed greenspace has been restored. —Katie Gerfen