Herzog & de Meuron Win Bid to Build Berlin’s Museum of Modern Art

The city has been searching for the right design for years.

Herzog & de Meuron has been tapped to build the Nationalgalerie20 in Berlin, an extension to the existing Neue Nationalgalerie for 20th century art, that will connect the existing cultural sites of the Kulturforum, and occupy what is currently a green space.

The Swiss architects, who recently designed the new Tate Modern, won the competition with a sturdy design and gabled roof, that meshes well with the nearby St. Mattäus Church. They beat Lundgaard & Tranberg into second-place, who proposed an organic, amoeba-like structure.

“This design considers museum architecture with a completely new approach and will write history,” said Hermann Parzinger, President of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, in a statement.

The interior of Herzog & de Meuron's design for an expanded museum of Modern art in Berlin. Image courtesy Herzog & de Meuron / vogt landschaftsarchitekten AG

    The interior of Herzog & de Meuron’s design for an expanded museum of Modern art in Berlin. Photo courtesy Herzog & de Meuron / vogt landschaftsarchitekten AG

Plans for the museum and the expansion of the Kulturforum in the once deserted but now flourishing area of Potsdamer Platz in the center of Berlin, have been stalled for a while. In February 2015 Culture Minister Monika Grütters stated that she was: “sure that we will know by the end of 2015 who will build this museum.”

More than a year and 460 proposals later the city had rejected every single architectural bid.

The impossible competition called for a design that linked the Mies Van Der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie to the neighboring Philharmonic Hall, designed by Hans Scharoun, creating a cohesive whole. The concept is similar to that of the plan for the city’s Museum Island, a renovation plan currently underway that will link Berlin’s five major museums via an underground “Archeological Promenade.”

The  Kulturforum buildings are planned to be linked as well, although this section of the development must wait as an important power cable runs under the location and is not due to be moved until 2027.

The runner up design by lundgaard & tranberg. Image courtesy schønherr A/S.

The runner up design by lundgaard & tranberg. Photo courtesy schønherr A/S.

The renovation will allow for the Nationalgalerie’s collection of 20th-century art to be exhibited in full, with classical Modernism in the Van Der Rohe building, and art from the second half of the century in the Herzog & de Meuron building.

The new addition, currently referred to as “Nationalgalerie20” does not yet have an official name— Is Neue Neue Nationalgalerie too much of a mouthful?

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