Neue Nationalgalerie Refurbishment

Berlin, Germany
David Chipperfield Architects

The icon of 20th-century modern architecture, a work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, has been refurbished by David Chipperfield Architects.

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Photos: ©Simon Menges

The Neue Nationalgalerie was designed and built by Mies van der Rohe between 1963 and 1968, in his final years. It is the only building carried out back in Europe by the German-born master who had emigrated to the United States in the 1930s and headed the architecture school of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, among other things. The historic museum needed a renovation and updating for our times. The intervention of the british architect has restored the more deteriorated areas and brought the institution in line with today’s technical standards.

The question posed by David Chipperfield’s project was how to strike a suitable balance between preserving the building as an architectural monument with fitting it out as an up-to-date museum of modern art. The additions deemed necessary and eventually executed, always subordinated to the building’s original essence, are perfectly legible as contemporary elements. Overall, then, the refurbishment is not so much a new interpretation, but a respectful repair and an adaptation to the contemporary life of an emblem.

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