Museum Island, Berlin, Germany
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects in
collaboration with Julian Harrap
Client: Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation
The Neues Museum was designed by Friedrich Stüler to show off the archaeological and scientific prowess of one of Europe’s leading powers. It was Prussia’s answer to Britain’s Great Exhibition of 1851. The museum houses Egyptian and Pre / Early History archaeological collections and is a centre for active scientific research and public education. This duality lay at the heart of the project organization and was matched by a close collaboration between Chipperfield’s and conservation architect Julian Harrap, resulting in a coherent and holistic piece of architecture.
The key architectural aim was to reinstate the original volumes and to repair the parts remaining after the war. The original sequence of rooms was restored by the new spaces thereby creating continuity with the existing structure. The Museum Directorate has not over-faced the visitor with exhibits. Less is indeed more in both the architecture and the display – lessons for other museums and galleries here.