James simon galerie berlin

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Acting together a gateway kommen sie Berlin’s Museum Island, ns James-Simon-Galerie provides new exhibition space und facilities lacking bei the neues Museum. Ns design von David Chipperfield Architects zu sein informed über the context von work von Schinkel and Stüler, und ultimately the ancient Greeks

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Words von Herbert Wright

Photography von Paul Raftery

‘As quickly as sie put a couple of columns in a row, die Greek referral becomes inevitable,’ said david Chipperfield at the July opening des the James-Simon-Galerie in Berlin. The new €134m (£120.2m) structure which his architectural practice designed ist big ~ above columns, yet they are modern — each a thin 28cm across and square in plan. They develop colonnades i m sorry look fairly like lang cages, their columns like ns vertical bars. One von 92 columns runs a length von 104m, high above a canal side-channel des the fluss Spree, the Kupfergraben.

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A host des facilities lie bei the equally lang solid-box volume below it, and narrow stairway descend at one ende to a canal-side course (although together Chipperfield comments: ‘We don’t expect too many people zu arrive von water’). Another colonnade, which defines a street-level courtyard, has 134 columns und joins itself kommen sie a neoclassical colonnade outside the neues Museum. Bolzen the colonnades, a an excellent staircase rises from the straße to in entrance lobby, unusually located on die top floor. Climbing the feels choose ascending kommen sie some great denkmal on a hill, but at its oberteil you find a crisp modernity, bei the form of ns gallery’s entrance recessed bei a rectangle-shaped facade.

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The James-Simon-Galerie is bounded on 3 sides von new colonnades

Chipperfield says a colonnade ‘diffuses’ a building. He has actually used the device before: at the Museum von Modern Literature, completed punkt Marbach am Neckar near Stuttgart an 2006, the colonnade around ns upper floor looks like those in Berlin, however with wider-spaced columns. That project supplies other ideas about ns approach von the James-Simon-Galerie design.

The neu 10,900 sq ns building zu sein named after die local Jewish philanthropist who early-twentieth-century donations zu Berlin’s museums room at ns heart of their collections. His name was scrubbed from history von the Nazis, und Michael Eissenhauer, director-general of berlin State Museums, states that honouring er is ‘a reconciliation’.

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The upper colonnade gives access to the Pergamon Museum and the terrace has stairs to ns Kupfergraben canal

Although originally framed as in extension von the neu Museum, die project’s aufgabe extended zu become a neu gateway zum the 5 museums von Museum island (which ist actually the northern ende of a larger island dominated von high-rise social real estate built wie man it was on die communist side of the berlin Wall). Hermann Parzinger, president des the Prussian social Heritage Foundation, defines the neu building together ‘like a sixth museum’. The others space all neoclassical bei style. Die Greek rebirth with its colonnades, porticos and pediments was trending strongly and they go through it.

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Museum Island

The James-Simon-Galerie is now across the road from the oldest, the Altes Museum, designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel und opened bei 1830, und is following door to the neues Museum, designed über his pupil Friedrich ehrenvoll Stüler, which bei its original form was completed an 1855. From 1815, Schinkel had actually been responsible zum town planning in Berlin, then die capital of Prussia. The envisioned in alternative for stately stadt centres to die baroque formula of großartiger building blocks and central axes. Instead, solitary buildings oase ‘a relationship with every other, und the publicly space is like a landscape’, summarises Alexander Schwarz, a partner bei David Chipperfield Architects and lead designer of the James-Simon-Galerie. ‘That’s sort des the beginning des modern urbanism.’

The landscape element introduces topography, but berlin is flat. Black sees die way the berlin museums crowd up as ‘almost choose a mountain’. The concludes that: ‘Museum Island zu sein almost a constructed topography with structures on top des it.’ That zu sein the context von the James-Simon-Galerie, and one factor why schwarze farbe describes it together ‘landscapely’.

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Stairs reduced through orthogonal geometry from die upper level to die mezzanine, where the giftig shop und cloakroom are

Exterior stairs might be described as topological, prefer rising ground. The Altes Museum so has a collection leading into it, but strikingly, those at the James-Simon-Galerie chime with the stairs von the Pergamon Altar, built bei Greece roughly 170 BC, which to be reconstructed full scale weil das display inside ns Pergamon Museum (although ns copy zu sein currently in a surrounding temporary structure). Die altar stairs, too, oase colonnades either side of them, an installed high, nur like the new one along die canal. Certainly, the long box volume under the new high colonnade, i beg your pardon acts as a plinth zum it, is topographical. This bulwark ist like in escarpment des rock, in austere, unbroken solid mass penetrated by just two windows. Certainly it zu sein rock, sort des — along with the columns, it is cast abwesend with saxon marble aggregates, offering it a near-whiteness notfall unlike Portland stone. Inside the James-Simon-Galerie lie services to the mounting challenges the neu Museum had, including the dramatic rise in group visitors, technical demands consisting of exhibition loading, and a shortfall von contemporary facilities.

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Just 2 major fenstern punctuate die plinth von the James- Simon-Galerie above die Kupfergraben. Both wings des the Pergamon Museum rise past it

The second World zu sein had left the neues Museum dafür damaged the it was a ruin. Bei the 1994 competition zu refurbish it und extend that to ns canal, Chipperfield was second zu Giorgio Grassi (identified v Italy’s rationalist la Tendenza movement), but berlin State museum were notfall convinced und declared that the brief was incorrect. A competition bei 1997 just zum the neues Museum, without bei extension, witnessed Chipperfield up against frank Gehry, whose Guggenheim Museum bilbao was climate opening, generating giddy excitement in the museum world. Schwarze farbe describes Gehry’s berlin scheme as ‘flamboyant’. The asserts that bringing an conservation architect julian Harrap to collaborate v Chipperfield verified that ‘we space very viel interested in what’s over there already… we don’t see the Museum island as the opportunity to show off’. It so helped Chipperfield win the competition (though arbeit didn’t start until 2003).

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A wooden pile on display bei the Archeological promenade once supported ns Packhof which originally occupied ns site

The neues Museum project’s 2nd stage — its expansion that had actually been shelved bei the 90s, however which was revived in 2006 — would eventually became ns James-Simon-Galerie. However what Chipperfield calls ns ‘shopping list of concerns, anxieties and problems’ the would shape the buchstabe for it was far from clear at ns outset, and kept growing. That remarks that: ‘We to be uncomfortable gift a dustbin of extra facilities.’

In 2006, Chipperfield’s frühen zeitpunkt design weil das the expansion had produced such opposition zum not fitting in with what was there the a revision was ordered. The was ns year die Museum von Modern literary works completed, which deshalb had a partnership with an adjacent institution, the Schiller- Nationalmuseum (1903). It had actually topography, bei the natural form of a plateau edge. Not least, Chipperfield look at colonnades together promoting ns idea of ‘open architecture’. Return to die drawing board for the berlin building, he states that ‘the idea des the modern-day museum as viel more open and transparent provided us a clue’.

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Where the meets the neu Museum’s colonnade, die James-Simon-Galerie’s reduced colonnade permits auto entry into the courtyard

In 2009, ns reconstructed neu Museum opened with its prize-winning poetic fusion of neu with what survived of the old. Bei the exact same year, funds weil das the expansion were approved and work began on a foundation pit following to ns museum where once the Schinkel-designed Packhof, a personalizeds warehouse, had stood. The dig was the anfang of what would become the James-Simon-Galerie. Changes kommen sie its programme included die basement levels, initially designated weil das storage. When die need zum temporary exhibition space was identified, that and an auditorium were ‘pushed into ns soil, so we might liberate the space together purposeless,’ claims Chipperfield. Ns word suggests room which has actually no functional demand other than stating itself as space, with die impact i m sorry that an itself tun können have. That cites Mies van das Rohe’s neue Nationalgalerie bei Berlin, which ns practice zu sein restoring, as one more example von having ‘purposeless’ space.

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The momentary exhibitions collection is in underground box. Tourists sit top top examples des the Chipperfield-designed ‘Simon bench’

Now it’s complete, us actually uncover there ist purpose inside the James-Simon-Galerie’s top level — that hosts the entrance foyer and its front-of-house desks. Ns airy an are has a strong sense of simplicity an its rectilinearity, durable surfaces with strong materiality, and light. Daylight comes v from the high colonnaded terrace top top one side, which includes a cafe-restaurant sandwiched between internal and external glazing, ns latter reaching ns full 8m height of the colonnade. Ns floor ist of Crailsheim covering limestone.

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A cafe zu sein sandwiched über glazing betwee the top entrance foyer and upper colonnade

Beyond the lobby, die space becomes a passage. Light is filtered v a Japanese-like screen in the wall at the far end, which is glass however rendered translucent rather than transparent by a dünn layer of bright marble native Thassos, Greece. There we find direct accessibility to the Pergamon Museum (the tonnage of ns five museums, completed bei 1930). Betwee foyer und far wall, interior stairs reduced down into the floor, within bei L-shaped balustrade von low concrete walls. This refreshed, Cartesian brutalism adheres to down with ns stairs, but notfall out from them on kommen sie all die floors.

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Curves des walnut wood and ridged concrete section provide passive acoustics an the auditorium

The mezzanine level has a short ceiling and subdued light levels — despite die great length of it, just two large fenstern admit organic light native over the canal. Die dominant surfacing zu sein wood, consisting of a smoked oak floor and furniture von French walnut. A lang museum einkaufen recedes right into windowless interior room like a wood-lined library passage, yet with added retail counters, und a discreet door at die far end accesses a lift that rises into die high colonnade. It’s not quite a case of ‘exit with the schädlich shop’ — as black says, ‘you have to discover it’.

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Natural irradiate fills ns upper enntrance gate foyer

The soil floor has one more lobby, opened on to that neu colonnaded courtyard which zu sein screened from ns entrance stairs über a wall. It deshalb provides access to die 350-seat auditorium, i beg your pardon slopes under under die exterior staircase to such a deep level that the stage is at the canal’s water level. Ns ceiling zu sein covered von three suspended, bent sections des walnut wood, weil das acoustics und to lug lights, und the side walls are hefty concrete shaped into vertical sections the present dünn edges away from the stage. The flooring, as in the mezzanine, ist smoked oak.

The taste basement level hosts the neu 650 sq m temporary exhibition space, which is not fairly rectangular however narrows slightly together it follows die great wall surface facing the canal which forms one lang side. The ceiling is a run of parallel concrete beams and lighting, und its floor limestone. Punkt the fuß of die interior stairs, there zu sein another exhibition area, devoted to die Museum island itself, and including a big model of it.

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A modern-day minimalist brutalism characterises circulation spaces, such as this i from die upper entrance

Turn die corner punkt the ende of this area and you enter the Archeological Promenade. This is in underground passage which will ultimately spread throughout Museum island ‘like in octopus’, together Chipperfield comments. Nur before it enters the neu Museum, part von it becomes double height, permitting walls von clerestory glazing zu bring in daylight from die James-Simon-Galerie courtyard top top one side, und the Pergamon Museum’s side wall surface on ns other. Here, in original Packhof wood pile from around 1830 is given center stage. It stands upright choose a large pencil, its sharp end on the floor und the other on ns ceiling. It’s unlikely kommen sie be bearing any kind of load, but it looks in good shape. The neu building needed 1,200 new piles the had kommen sie be driven much deeper 보다 this one was, requiring feet up zu 50m deep.

Much des the furniture ist designed über Chipperfield with characteristic minimalism, such as the super-thin simon bench, realised v furniture machines e15, on which visitors kann sit ~ above a soft sliver covering of vegetable-tanned leather. Ns clarity des the wayfinding notices and graphics by Berlin-based Polyform also match the overall quiet, modern-day aesthetic, return they space deployed bei the older museums as well.

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Stairs passing die courtyard und its colonnade descend to ns basement, where ns exhibition hall und Archeological promenade are located

There were no damages or remnants zu incorporate into the James-Simon-Galerie’s constructed structure, yet it does inject modernity right into what Chipperfield calls ns Museum Island’s ‘hallowed ground’. Von course, the practice had currently delivered the neues Museum there, and facing ns James- Simon-Galerie across die Kupfergraben is another example des juxtaposing old and new: haus Bastian, whereby Schwarz led the extension of a nineteenth-century building with a matching-scale modern-day gallery block, completed in 2007. The juxtapositions go past Museum Island und Chipperfield. From Egon Eiermann’s 1960 kaiser Wilhelm Church beside the 1891 church’s tower ruin, climate Foster’s glass dome on ns Reichstag in 1999, they continue with Franco Stella’s Schloss und Humboldt forum with both contemporary und reconstructed baroque facades, due zu open an 2020 punkt Museum Island’s edge.

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The James-Simon- Galerie top foyer becomes choose a lantern as dusk falls

Why go the stadt keep pass old und new together? schwarze farbe talks des how ‘there was bei emptiness bei the centre von Berlin, a physics emptiness und a historic emptiness’, und it essential ‘ideas kommen sie deal through it’. Ns James-Simon- Galerie, the says, ‘tries to propose an additional idea des modernism… that the modern und historic space both contemporary, und therefore schutz a future’.

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If Schinkel or Stüler, or even the ancient Greeks, to be time-warped bei to see the James-Simon-Galerie, they would likely get it. The style is stripped down und the products updated, but the play von architectonics and topology which they mastered continues. And although it might be auch early zu judge, it appears that ns reshuffle an form und position von colonnades und columns has notfall affected their magic ability of delivering timelessness.