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James-Simon-Galerie / David Chipperfield Architects

James-Simon-Galerie / David Chipperfield Architects

View towards the main entrance. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects Connection with Pergamon museum. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects View from terrace towards Neues Museum. Image © Simon Menges Main internal staircase. Image © Simon Menges + 39

Extension  · 
Berlin, Germany
  • Graphics, Visualisation

    Dalia Liksaite, Jonas Marx, Antonia Schlegel, Ute Zscharnt
  • Quantity surveyor

    Christine Kappei, Stuttgart
  • Executive architect

    Wenzel + Wenzel Freie Architekten, Berlin (Procurement, Construction supervision)
  • Project mangagement

    Christoph-Phillip Krinn
  • Structural engineer

    IGB Ingenieurgruppe Bauen, Berlin
  • Services engineer

    INNIUS DÖ GmbH, Berlin Inros Lackner AG, Rostock
  • Building physics

    Müller-BBM GmbH, Berlin
  • Fire consultant

    Arge Brandschutz NEG, Berlin
  • Lighting consultant

    matí AG, Adliswil
  • Lighting design

    Conceptlicht GmbH, Traunreut (Outdoor lighting)
  • Exhibition planning

    Duncan McCauley GmbH und Co. KG, Berlin (Permanent exhibition)
  • Signage

    Polyform – Götzelmann Middel GbR, Berlin
  • Landscape architect

    Levin Monsigny Landschaftsarchitekten, Berlin
  • Client

    Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz represented by the Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung Project mangagement: Miriam Plünnecke
  • User

    Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Partners

    David Chipperfield, Martin Reichert, Alexander Schwarz (Design lead)
  • Project Architect

    Urs Vogt (Preparation and brief to Technical design, Site design supervision)
  • Project Team

    Mathias Adler, Alexander Bellmann, Thomas Benk, Martin Benner, Alexander Corvinus, Maryla Duleba, Matthias Fiegl, Anke Fritzsch, Dirk Gschwind, Anne Hengst, Paul Hillerkus, Isabel Karig, Linda von Karstedt, Ludwig Kauffmann, Mikhail Kornev, Astrid Kühn, Thomas Kupke, Sebastian von Oppen, Torsten Richter, Elke Saleina, Thomas Schöpf, Eberhard Veit, Anja Wiedemann;
  • Project controlling

    Ernst & Young Real Estate GmbH, Berlin Kemmermann Projektmanagement im Bauwesen GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin
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View towards the main entrance. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
View towards the main entrance. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

Text description provided by the architects. As a continuation of Friedrich August Stüler’s forum architecture, the James-Simon-Galerie serves as the new entrance building for Museum Island, completing the ensemble between the Kupfergraben canal and Neues Museum. 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.

View from Schlossbrücke. Image © Simon Menges
View from Schlossbrücke. Image © Simon Menges

As the new gateway to the Museum Island, the 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-goer. 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.

Plinth and tall colonnade. Image © Simon Menges
Plinth and tall colonnade. Image © Simon Menges
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Connection with Pergamon museum. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Connection with Pergamon museum. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

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. 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. Slender columns 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.

View towards the main entrance. Image © Simon Menges
View towards the main entrance. Image © Simon Menges
Grand staircase, view towards ‘Lustgarten’. Image © Simon Menges
Grand staircase, view towards ‘Lustgarten’. Image © Simon Menges

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. 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.

Street level colonnade. Image © Simon Menges
Street level colonnade. Image © Simon Menges
Upper foyer. Image © Simon Menges
Upper foyer. Image © Simon Menges
Main internal staircase. Image © Simon Menges
Main internal staircase. Image © Simon Menges

The architectural language of the James-Simon-Galerie adopts existing elements of the Museum Island, primarily from the external architecture, such as built topography, colonnades and outdoor staircases, making reference to Schinkel, Stüler and the other architects involved in the creation of 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.

Temporary exhibition space. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Temporary exhibition space. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Auditorium. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
Auditorium. Image © Ute 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.

View from terrace towards Neues Museum. Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
View from terrace towards Neues Museum. Image © Luna Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
View towards ‘Lustgarten‘. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
View towards ‘Lustgarten‘. Image © Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects

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Project location

Address: Berlin, Germany

Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
About this office
Cite: "James-Simon-Galerie / David Chipperfield Architects" 09 Oct 2019. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/926033/james-simon-galerie-david-chipperfield-architects/> ISSN 0719-8884
View towards the main entrance. Image © Simon Menges

柏林博物馆岛美术馆 James-Simon / David Chipperfield Architects

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