James Simon Galerie

The James Simon Galerie is currently under construction between the Kupfergraben canal and the west façade of the Neues Museum and will serve as a new entrance building to the Museum Island ensemble in Berlin. The building exploits the potential of the exposed site, while at the same time supporting the urban relationships between the existing buildings. Beyond this, the design creates a physical connection to the main exhibition floor of the Pergamon Museum as well as to the Archaeological Promenade, which connects the four archaeological museums along the Kupfergraben canal.

James Simon Galerie

The James Simon Galerie is currently under construction between the Kupfergraben canal and the west façade of the Neues Museum and will serve as a new entrance building to the Museum Island ensemble in Berlin. The building exploits the potential of the exposed site, while at the same time supporting the urban relationships between the existing buildings. Beyond this, the design creates a physical connection to the main exhibition floor of the Pergamon Museum as well as to the Archaeological Promenade, which connects the four archaeological museums along the Kupfergraben canal.

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. A new colonnade continues Stüler’s colonnade, which currently ends at the Neues Museum, and forms a small colonnaded courtyard. An elevated plinth, corresponding in height with the substructure of the neighbouring Pergamon Museum, occupies the bank of the Kupfergraben canal. A tall colonnade rises up from the plinth, extending the exterior spaces of the Museum Island and accessible to the public also outside of opening hours.

The actual building volume is situated between the upper colonnade and the colonnaded courtyard. A wide, outdoor staircase at the front south side of the building is oriented to the Lustgarten and as an entrance motif provides the main access. The visitor is led via the open staircase to the uppermost level, which corresponds to the Pergamon Museum’s main exhibition floor, and is received there in a generously dimensioned hall. The café and link to the Pergamon Museum are situated on the same floor. A mezzanine floor between the foyer and the upper reception hall accommodates services such as the cloakroom and shop. The temporary exhibition spaces and the auditorium are situated in the basement floor, which connects with the Archaeological Promenade.

The architectural language of the James Simon Galerie adopts existing elements of the Museum Island, primarily from external architecture, such as built topography, colonnades and outdoor staircases. A contemporary building is developed from this context, whose architectural language reflects classical architecture without mimicry in the development of the details. 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. The eponym of the building is the important patron of the arts James Simon, who bequeathed his art collections and archaeological finds to the Berlin State Museums at the beginning of the 20th century.

Date:
2007-2018
Gross floor area:
10,900 m²
Client:
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz represented by Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung
Architect:
David Chipperfield Architects Berlin
Partners:
David Chipperfield, Martin Reichert, Alexander Schwarz (Design lead)
Project architect:
Urs Vogt
Quantity surveyor:
Christine Kappei
Site supervision:
Wenzel + Wenzel
Structural engineer:
IGB Ingenieurgruppe Bauen
Services engineer:
INNIUS DÖ GmbH, Inros Lackner AG
Building physics:
Müller-BBM GmbH
Renderings:
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Imaging Atelier