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Chippo's Berlin museum proposals to become reality thanks to cash handout

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David Chipperfield Architects' gateway proposals for Berlin's Museum Island finally look set to become reality after being handed an unexpected cash injection.

The German government has announced it wants to pump 73 million euros (£49 million) into the new James Simon Gallery entrance building project, which has been stagnating for nearly five years.

The move comes less than a month after the head of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, Klaus-Dieter Lehmann warned that the development would continue to gather dust for at least another decade unless the German government shook up its proposed redevelopment programme ( German heritage boss calls for Chippo's 'forgotten' Berlin scheme to get under way).

Now, it is understood, the practice has been given the go-ahead to revise the original designs for an 'ethereal' entrance building - which would complete the historic museum complex - and that work could start on site by 2009.

Due to open its doors to the public in 2012, the James Simon Gallery will be the first new building on the island since the completion of the Pergamon Museum more than 75 years ago.

Chipperfield was originally commissioned to draw up plans for the building on the UNESCO World Heritage site back in 1999. However, design work was put on hold two years later when Germany's Ministry of Finance decided to prioritise the restoration of the historic buildings ahead of any new structures.

by Richard Waite

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