British Architect David Chipperfield who recently won the Pritzker Prize has now received the most prestigious European accolade, the Mies van der Rohe Award. This is the European Union’s prime architecture prize for contemporary architecture. It is presented every two years by the European Commission together with the Mies van der Rohe foundation (Barcelona). This prize acknowledges and promotes creative expression and development in European architecture. Sir David Chipperfield received this award for his design of Berlin’s 19th-century Neues Museum. The original museum was built in the mid-19th century and was severely damaged in the Second World War. The EU-Mies van der Rohes Contemporary Architecture Prize awarding ceremony took place yesterday.
The Chipperfield reconstruction began in 2003. The Neues Museum on Berlin’s Museum Island was designed by Friedrich August Stüler and built between 1841 and 1859. Extensive bombing during the Second World War left the building in ruins, with entire sections missing completely and others severely damaged. Few attempts at repair were made after the war, and the structure was left exposed to nature. In 1997, David Chipperfield Architects ‐ in collaboration with Julian Harrap ‐ won the international competition for the rebuilding of the Neues Museum. The key aim of the project was to recomplete the original volume, and encompassed the repair and restoration of the parts that remained after the destruction of the Second World War. The original sequence of rooms was restored with new building sections that create continuity with the existing structure. The archaeological restoration followed the guidelines of the Charter of Venice, respecting the historical structure in its different states of preservation. All the gaps in the existing structure were filled in without competing with the existing structure in terms of brightness and surface. The restoration and repair of the
existing is driven by the idea that the original structure should be emphasized in its spatial context and original materiality. The new area reflects the lost without imitating it.
Chipperfield, Principal of David Chipperfield Architects, said: “The reconstruction of the Neues Museum is a testament to the collaborative process undertaken in a demanding climate of public opinion. The result is evidence not only of the efforts of the professional team but of the commitment of the client and the city authorities to engage in this rigorous and articulated process.”