Herzog & de Meuron’s project was announced two weeks ago as the winner project for the extension of Berlin’s new National Gallery in Culture Forum.
Descriptions are by the architects themselves:
OMA’s description under the title ‘Who is afraid of Mies or Scharoun?’.
“The museum is the result of the reassembly of the four sections: it combines classical rooms in the South, more flowing expressionistic accommodations in the West, auditoriums inside and outside to face Scharoun in the North and panoramic urban vistas on the East.”
“Berlin’s new museum is planned on a seemingly intimidating site surrounded on all sides by exceptionally strong and articulate architectures, sandwiched between a never fully accepted urban motorway and an anemic pedestrian Promenade: the two typologies that (unfortunately) define our cities today.”
“As in judo, we have embraced the site’s dilemmas and turned them into the very leitidee of the project. We don’t interpret this competition as a loyalty test, we divide our loyalties between the surrounding masterpieces.”
“Two diagonals divide the site in four sectors. Each sector relates precisely to its context and responds directly to its own unique counterpart: the South sector to Mies, the West sector to the Church and the Gemäldegalerie’s piazzetta, opposite the Museum’s entrance, the North to the concert hall of Scharoun, the East to Motorway and Library.”
“The design for the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts picks up the idea of Hans Scharoun s Stadtlandschaft, or urban landscape that creates “a lively order from the low, high, narrow and the wide.” In favor of a largely roofed ground floor area that interlocks with the surrounding open spaces, the building volume is compressed into three high points that are visible from afar. The staggered volumes of the temporary exhibition, the collection Marzona and of the administration are oriented according to important lines of sight from the Potsdamer Straße and the Potsdamer Platz.”
“The intersection of the museum and the public is maximized: all of the museum ́s public functions are visible through transparent facades; courtyards and double-height exhibition spaces extend into the public space with display windows and generate sights of the lower exhibition level. An in-between space, an exterior space for anyone is created in the context of the museum. It invites people to linger with partly shady and partly sunny areas. We developed a complex-orderly spatial arrangement, consisting of five different room types, that can be intuitively grasped from the visitors perspective and offers a wide array of options and configuration possibilities to the curators.”
“The organizational system of the exhibition spaces establishes the structural and formal framework of the museum, which defines the permeable ground floor and the building volumes that position themselves in the urban context.”
Aires Mateus e Associados
It is in the link between the past and the future that the proposal comes to being: constructing a building and the urbanity of time to come, fixing our eyes from the buildings of the past that surround and summon it. A confident construction that presents the weight and density of its task which, in parallel, show the attraction of a void yet to inhabit. It is a building that in its isolation, opens itself to the world.
The first underground level is totally public and welcomes all the major exhibition areas in a large hall. In this level a connection to the Neue National Gallery is established. An enclosed square, a pivotal moment of the project, is placed at the architectural vortex of the building as the culmination mark of the outside path. The constructed limit of the urban space released by the building’s suspension defines itself as the new center.
The city, History, the buildings that observe it, the ancestral tree that awaited its conformity, are all invited to inhabit this expectant void.
Description via REX.
Next to the world’s most exquisite frame for art—Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie—we propose its counterpoint: a functional (not aesthetic) objet trouvé for the art of framing collections. The Neue Nationalgalerie is a blank slate on which any exhibition format can be constructed. In practice, as artistic media grow more diverse and museums’ operational budgets become more limited, a blank slate is constrictive: the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin finds the climate, light, and universality of this iconic space challenging to stage exhibitions, and endlessly transforming this empty canvass is an expensive proposition.