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German heritage boss call for Chippo's 'forgotten' Berlin scheme to get under way

One of the biggest names in German art has called on the country's government to kick-start David Chipperfield's forgotten 'gateway' proposals for Berlin's Museum Island.

The head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann, said he wanted the James Simon Gallery and entrance building - which would complete the historic museum complex - to be rushed through the planning system.

Chipperfield's project has now been on hold for almost five years and, if the German government sticks to the current redevelopment programme, it could be another decade before the 'ethereal' scheme is built.

The building would be the first new structure on the protected island, a UNESCO World Heritage site, since the completion of the Pergamon Museum more than 75 years ago.

Chipperfield was originally commissioned to draw up plans for the building, seen as the 'principal entrance lobby' to the island, back in 1999. However, design work was suspended two years later when Germany's Ministry of Finance decided to prioritise the restoration of the historic buildings ahead of any new structures.

A key element of the project will be the creation of a new 'Archaeological Promenade' - a sequence of spaces connecting the four archaeological museums on the island.

Lehmann made his demands at the opening of the newly refurbished Bode Museum on Tuesday (17 October).

by Richard Waite

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