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Herzog & de Meuron beats Chipperfield and ZHA to win Berlin art museum

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Herzog & de Meuron has defeated David Chipperfield Architects (DCA) and Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) in the contest for Berlin’s £180 million modern art museum

The Basel-based practice was announced winner of the prestigious Nationalgalerie20 contest last week (28 October) – seeing off rival bids by 42 finalists including DCA, ZHA and Sauerbruch Hutton.

Danish practice Lundgaard & Tranberg Arkitekter was named runner-up while German studio Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten took third prize. Commendations were also awarded to SANAA, OMA, Staab Architekten, and Lisbon’s Aires Mateus e Associados.

Organised by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the contest sought proposals for a new 14,700m² standalone structure within the German capital’s Kulturforum district.

Planned to complete in 2021, the proposed Museum of the 20th Century will occupy a prominent plot next Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Neue Nationalgalerie and Hans Scharoun’s Berliner Philharmonie.

It will feature a permanent exhibition of modern artworks and an underground tunnel to the Neue Nationalgalerie which is undergoing a £70 million revamp by DCA.

Herzog & de Meuron’s competition-winning brick-clad scheme features a long pitched roof enclosing an interior space divided into four ‘quadrants’ with a sycamore tree in one corner.

According to a statement from the practice: ‘[The Kulturforum]currently lacks the connections between its different presences that would give its open spaces a sense of place. We see connecting and networking as one of the main tasks for our project for a Museum of the 20th Century.

The gable end facing the Philharmonie offers direct access to the media room. This allows events to be held there outside the regular opening hours. The quadrants can be reached individually, directly from the boulevards. At the same time, the exhibition spaces are connected internally, so that alternatively they can all be visited on a single circuit.’

A total of 42 practices – including 13 invited teams, 19 qualifying firms and 10 winners of an earlier ideas contest – were announced as finalists of the contest earlier this year.

Participating firms included 3XN, Sou Fujimoto Architects, Dominique Perrault Architecture, REX Architecture, UNStudio and Snøhetta.

ZHA’s shortlisted scheme featured a light-weight geometric structural rib patterning and a glazed exterior intended to echo its 1968 neighbour.

According to a statement from the practice: ‘The proposal’s elevations are an evolution of the Neue Gallery’s lightweight structural appearance, which maintains similar exterior structural proportions – respecting and its presence on such an important site.

‘On the interior, a second row of perimeter columns demarcates carefully organized gallery and exhibition zones that describe a clear organization of exhibition spaces. The structural arrangement allows for full flexibility of the galleries within for the adaptability of the curation and display of art or changing programs and visitor conditions.’

The judging panel featured Roger Diener of Basel’s Diener & Diener – which expanded the north east wing of Berlin’s Museum of Natural History in 2010 – and Enrique Sobejano of Madrid-based Nieto Sobejano Arquitectos.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Unfortunately these images don't explain the relationship of the competition winner to the Neue Nationalgalerie, and the images of some of the other shortlisted contestants show how much this matters (even allowing for the hefty wall flanking Mies's pavilion) - compare OMA's fully stuffed plot to Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten's creation of a square flanked by the St Matthaus Kirche.

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