Neues Museum (1)

We went to the Neues Museum, Friedrich Stüler’s great classical building on the banks of the river Spree, bombed in the war and left semi-derelict until its reconstruction was announced in September 1989, just before the Wall came down.   An international competition was then held in 1994.   A second competition in 1997 was won jointly by David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, working in combination and following the brief to retain as much as possible of the original building.   We started looking at the exterior – the way that the new and the old are knitted together where the original building was bombed:-

Inside, one finds the Chipperfield palette of materials –  smooth concrete, precast concrete mixed with marble aggregate chips for the floor, a great deal of original brickwork, dark wood and bronze:-

The approach to design was based on close study of the Alte Pinakothek and Glyptothek in Munich, where there was deliberate patchwork, retaining the character of the original unrestored, and the work of Carlo Scarpa in Verona and Venice which the project team visited several times.   What is especially impressive is the extreme sense of intelligent integration between the component parts of the design – architects, conservation, history, interpretation, display – allowing for an impressive austerity in the way the collection is interpreted.   Even the lifts are bronze.

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