Berlin State Museums Group Acquires Iconic Chipperfield Gallery House

The announcement surprised the city's art scene.

The owners of one of Berlin’s most recognizable art landmarks, the David Chipperfield gallery house, will sell the building to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the organization managing Berlin’s state museums said in a surprise announcement.

Gallerist Heiner Bastian built the magnificent house in 2006/2007 based on the design of star architect Chipperfield for his eponymous gallery which has since been taken over by his son. The building is characterized by its high ceilings and large windows which flood the rooms with natural light.

Financed by the Swabian billionaire and art collector Reinhold Würth, the German art magazine Monopol reported that the Bastian family agreed to sell the building for the cost of construction, forgoing a profit in order to facilitate the continued cultural use of the building.

According to the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the structure will house a center for cultural education and mediation, which will be renamed in honor of Würth. The center will host workshops, lectures, and talks for visitors of the adjacent museums.

The canal surrounding the Bode Museum, Berlin. Photo: Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons

The gallery house stand opposite Berlin’s museum island. Photo: Thomas Wolf via Wikimedia Commons

Galerie Bastian will remain in its current location on the top floor of the three story building, while the other tenant, Contemporary Fine Arts gallery, will move out of the two lower floors by the end of next year. In April, CFA inaugurated a second space in the leafy and fashionable west Berlin district of Charlottenburg, and it remains to be seen if they will utilize the new space as their primary location.

In a statement, Germany’s culture minister Monika Grütters and president of the Prussian Cultural heritage Foundation Hermann Parzinger thanked the hardware manufacturer Würth and the Bastian family for their generosity and commitment to culture.

It’s unclear when the new cultural center will be inaugurated, although it’s unlikely that the center will open its doors in the near future. Tagesspiegel reported that the acquisition won’t be finalized until next year.

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