area 100 | changing cities

architect: David Chipperfield

location: Berlin, Germany

year: 20072013

In 1997 David Chipperfield Architects won an international competition for the restoration of Friedrich August Stüler’s Neues Museum, originally built between 1841/43 – 1859. Located on Museum Island in the heart of former East Berlin, the building was initially constructed to extend the space of the Altes Museum, built immediately to the south by Stüler’s teacher Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The original design had formed part of an overall architectural concept for Museum Island – prompted by Friedrich Wilhelm IV – of a series of art and archaeological museums styled so as to promote a greater appreciation of classical antiquity. Seen today alongside the four other reconstructed museum buildings on the island, Stüler’s Neues Museum was the only structure that remained ruined from the war for almost five decades – a contrast that demonstrated ideas of history and decay in a compelling and powerful way, although throughout the building the degree of destruction varied greatly. Certain interiors survived almost completely, with elaborate finishes and ceiling frescos still intact, while other building elements existed only as the enclosures of a gaping void. The power of the ruin not least stemmed from this exposed brickwork shell investing the building, 150 years after it was first imagined, with the indelible presence of a picturesque classical ruin. Given this evocative yet inaccessible space, the restoration of the Neues Museum follows a principle of conservation rather than reconstruction – the design gives back only enough context so that the significance of the whole structure and the sequence of spaces contained within it are legible. Accordingly, the missing northwest wing and southeast bay are rebuilt, the enfilade of rooms is restored, and the stair and courtyard spaces are designed to maintain elements of the building’s own decay. In this way, the new Neues Museum and its collection of Egyptian antiquities should navigate carefully between de-historicised reconstruction and monumentalised preservation. Nearby the Neues Museum the New Entrance building to James Simon Gallery will complete the Museum Island ensemble the originally occupied by Shinkel’s Packhof building. The project involves rearranging the relationships and open spaces between the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, and giving architectural form to thelarge-scale urban qualities of the site. Above all, the project aims to create a new address on the Museum Island – a new entrance and reception area which exploits the possibilities of the most effective side of the site while at the same time supporting the urban relationships of the existing historic buildings.

project: Neues Museum
location: Museum Island, Berlin, Germany
competition date: 1997
completion due: 2009
client: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz represented by Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung
gross floor area: 20,500 sqm
project: David Chipperfield Architects
restoration architect: Julian Harrap Architects
Restoration Supervision: Pro Denkmal: Uwe Bennke, Janna Bunje, Wolfgang Frey, Joachim Schröder, Tom Bremen
landscape architect: Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten
structural engineer: Ingenieurgruppe Bauen
services engineer: Jaeger, Mornhinweg+Partner lighting consultant: Kardorff Ingenieure Lichtplanung
exhibition design: Michele De Lucchi
quantity surveyor: Nanna Fütterer
site supervision: Lubic & Woehrlin Architekten
drawings and text: David Chipperfield
photos: Johannes Bennke, Philipp Meuser, Rik Nys