Built from 1841 to 1859, the Neues Museum was designed by Friedrich August Stüler as the second museum on the island in the River Spree.
The museum was badly damaged after suffering a series of hits in the aerial bombardment of the Second World War and underwent reconstruction from 2003, overseen by the British architect David Chipperfield.
The aim was to restore the building (listed as a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site since 1999) to its original glory while at the same time taking strict conservation requirements into account.
The architect met these challenges by brilliantly anchoring the main body of the museum in the architectural idiom of the present day.
By adhering to the concept of restoration laid down by the Venice Charter, he carefully incorporated into his designs each of the building’s individual parts, some still largely in tact, others substantially damaged. Missing sections were repaired and at times supplemented with new parts.
The inherent qualities of preserved sections are thus accentuated, while the newly constructed parts reflect the losses incurred in the original, without necessarily imitating them. The result is that the resplendent richness of Stüler’s late classicism and historicism is now brought into a charming dialogue with Chipperfield’s own strict language of forms.