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Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, David Chipperfield Architects, Photo: BBR / Photographer: Thomas Bruns

Freshly Renovated: Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin

After a building period lasting around five years, the extensive renovation of the Neue Nationalgalerie by Berlin’s David Chipperfield Architects is complete. Fifty years of use necessitated a total overhaul and technical modernization, for the two-storey structure had suffered damage to its concrete and base façade. The roof leaked and there were fissures in the decking on the terrace. The defects in the glass façade were particularly glaring: on the one hand, condensation on the panes was affecting clarity. Furthermore, over time the glass had suffered more and more breakage.

In a two-phase VOF selection process, the Federal Office of Building and Regional Planning commissioned David Chipperfield Architects of Berlin with the renovation work in 2012. In their planning, the architects worked according to the guiding principle of preserving as much of the original building as possible and making as few visible changes as possible. Around 35,000 original building components and objects such as interior wall cladding, luminaires, façade panels and terrace tiles were restored in specialized workshops and then reinstalled after the restoration work to the building shell and roof. Spatially, there are only two small changes: in order to improve accessibility, the architects have added an exterior ramp and an additional elevator for visitors. Moreover, they have transformed two old art storage spaces in the basement into a museum shop and a cloakroom. A new storage area with ancillary spaces is now located in the basement beneath the entrance terrace. The technical installations were also rebuilt and updated, so lighting, climate control and fire protection meet the requirements of a contemporary museum. The Neue Nationalgalerie will again open to visitors in August 2021.

A comprehensive article on the restoration of the glass façade of the Neue Nationalgalerie appears in DETAIL 10/2020.


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