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David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Germany Architecture News - Jul 5, 2019 - 02:45   4362 views

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

David Chipperfield Architects has completed the James -Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island - the new gallery serves as a continuation of Friedrich August Stüler’s forum architecture and the new entrance building for Museum Island, completing the ensemble between the Kupfergraben canal and Neues Museum. The new building provides spaces for museum facilities, temporary exhibition spaces and 300-seat auditorium. 

Officially opened at the heart of Berlin, the building was realized together with the "archaeological promenade", it forms the backbone of the master plan that was developed in 1999 and adopted as the basis for all further planning on Museum Island. The building is sited on a narrow strip of land where Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s ‘Neuer Packhof’ administration building stood until 1938.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Chipperfield's James-Simon-Galerie plays a significant role and is suitable for welcoming large numbers of visitors, housing all the facilities required by the contemporary museum-goers. 

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

The James-Simon-Galerie addresses itself to the Lustgarten, the Schlossbrücke (Palace Bridge), and the Kupfergraben canal. It forms a physical connection above ground with the Pergamon Museum and links the museum via the Archaeological Promenade at basement level with the Neues Museum, the Altes Museum and the Bode Museum.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

"A staggering of the building dimensions ensures that the view from the Schlossbrücke into the depths of the Museum Island and of the west façade of the Neues Museum is preserved," said David Chipperfield Architects. 

"The high stone plinth of the building reinforces the bank of the Kupfergraben canal, above which a tall colonnade rises up, expressing a classical piano nobile. Large parts of this principal level will be accessible to the public outside opening hours, further extending the public realm of the Museum Island." 

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

The architects used slender columns to become a leitmotif, reminiscent of the famous sketch by Friedrich Wilhelm IV for his ‘cultural acropolis’. They continue Stüler’s colonnade that originally ended at Neues Museum in a contemporary form, creating a new small colonnaded courtyard between the Neues Museum and the James-Simon-Galerie.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Three flights of wide steps, set between the elongated plinth and the lower colonnade, invite visitors into the building. Arriving at the upper level, visitors enter a generous foyer, with info and ticket counters and direct level access to the main exhibition floor of the Pergamon Museum. 

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

The foyer also encloses the cafeteria and opens out onto a grand terrace that, along Kupfergraben canal, runs the full length of the building. A mezzanine floor beneath the main entrance foyer accommodates the museum shop, a large cloakroom, toilet facilities and lockers, while the temporary exhibition spaces and an auditorium are situated in the basement level.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Chipperfield uses a distinctive architectural language for the James-Simon-Galerie by adopting existing elements of the Museum Island, primarily from the external architecture, such as built topography, colonnades and outdoor staircases. The building takes inspiration from Schinkel, Stüler and the other architects involved in the creation of Museum Island. 

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

The materiality of the building in reconstituted stone with natural stone aggregate blends in with the rich material palette of the Museum Island with its limestone, sandstone and rendered façades, while smooth in-situ concrete dominates the interior spaces.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

The entrance building is named after one of the city’s most important patrons, James Simon, who bequeathed his art collections and excavation findings to the Berlin State Museums at the beginning of the twentieth century.

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Simon Menges

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

David Chipperfield Architects opens James-Simon Galerie on Berlin's Museum Island

Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

Project facts

Date: 1999–2018

Gross floor area: 10,900 m2

Client: Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz represented by Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung

Architects: David Chipperfield Architects Berlin

All images © Simon Menges unless otherwise stated

> via David Chipperfield Architects