David Chipperfield aims to retain the spirit of the ruin as he merges new and in his Neues Museum restoration.
The Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island was designed by Friedrich August Stüler and built between 1841 and 1859. Extensive bombing during the Second World War left the building in ruins, with entire sections missing completely and others severely damaged. Few attempts at repair were made after the war, and the structure was left exposed to nature. In 1997, David Chipperfield Architects won the international competition for the rebuilding of the Neues Museum in collaboration with Julian Harrap.
The key aim of the project was to recomplete the original volume, and encompassed the repair and restoration of the parts that remained after the destruction of the Second World War. The new exhibition rooms are built of large format pre-fabricated concrete elements consisting of white cement mixed with Saxonian marble chips. Formed from the same concrete elements, the new main staircase repeats the original without replicating it, and sits within a majestic hall that is preserved only as a brick volume, devoid of its original ornamentation.
In 2009, after more than sixty years as a ruin, the Neues Museum reopened to the public as the third restored building on Museum Island, exhibiting the collections of the Egyptian Museum and the Museum of Pre- and Early History.