The refurbishment of Mies van der Rohe's Neue Nationalgalerie by David Chipperfield Architects, is now complete. Over 35,000 original building components were dismantled, restored and have now been reinstalled in their original positions.
Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Neue Nationalgalerie has been dedicated to the art of the twentieth century since its opening in 1968. After fifty years of ageing, intensive use and sporadic repairs, the building required complete refurbishment and modernisation. The existing fabric has been preserved and services upgraded with minimal visual compromise to the building’s original appearance.
The functional and technical upgrades include air-conditioning, artificial lighting, security, and visitors’ facilities, such as cloakroom, café and museum shop, as well as improving disabled access and art handling.
The necessity of an extensive repair of the reinforced concrete shell and the complete renewal of the technical building services required an in-depth intervention. In order to expose the shell construction, around 35,000 original building components, such as the stone cladding and all the interior fittings, were dismantled. After their restoration and modification where necessary, they were reinstalled in their precise original positions.
The key to the complex planning process for this project was finding a suitable balance between monument conservation and the building’s use as a modern museum. The unavoidable interventions to the original fabric within this process had to be reconciled with preserving as much of the original substance as possible. Though the essential additions remain subordinate to the existing design of the building, they are nevertheless discreetly legible as contemporary elements. The refurbishment project does not represent a new interpretation, but rather a respectful repair of this landmark building of the International Style.
In a digital ceremony on 29 April, the keys were handed over to the clients – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (Berlin State Museums) and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation).
The museum will reopen to the public in August 2021.