david chipperfield's refurbished neue nationalgalerie re-opens for visitors this weekend

Aug 19, 2021

david chipperfield architects has released new images of its completed refurbishment of mies van der rohe‘s neue nationalgalerie in berlin. after five years of extensive work, which included upgrading the museum to current technical standards and repairing its concrete shell, the icon of twentieth-century architecture has now been restored to its former glory. keys to the building will be handed over to the client in a digital ceremony on 29 april 2021, and it’ll re-open to the public in august 2021.

UPDATE: david chipperfield architects completes its refurbishment of berlin’s neue nationalgalerie, which reopens to visitors this sunday, august 22nd 2021.

balancing monument preservation and functional revitalization, david chipperfield architects completes its refurbishment of . designed by ludwig mies van der rohe, the original building has marked an icon of twentieth-century architecture since its completion 1968. the steel and glass structure stands as mies’ only building in europe designed after his emigration from germany to the united states in 1937, following the closing of the bauhaus.

‘taking apart a building of such unquestionable authority has been a strange experience but a privilege,’  says david chipperfield. ‘the neue nationalgalerie is a touchstone for myself and many other architects. seeing behind its exterior has revealed both its genius and its flaws, but overall it has only deepened my admiration for mies’ vision.’

chipperfield continues, ‘our work was therefore surgical in nature, addressing technical issues to protect this vision. certainly carrying out such a task in a building that leaves no place to hide is daunting, but we hope to have returned this beloved patient seemingly untouched except for it running more smoothly.’

first erected in 1968, the neue nationalgalerie marks the only building in europe designed by pioneering german-born architect, ludwig mies van der rohe, after he emigrated to the US. in 2012, david chipperfield’s berlin office was appointed to refurbish the museum. dealing with such a well known and loved building, the design team approached the project as a ‘respectful repair’. the works included bringing technical functions such as air-conditioning, artificial lighting, security, and visitors’ facilities up to date. additionally, disabled access has been improved to make the museum more inclusive.

the restoration also included a meticulous repair of the reinforced concrete shell, which first had to be exposed by removing around 35,000 of the original building components. but after making the necessary repairs, every piece was carefully reinstalled to where it was, all in the effort to preserve mies’ masterpiece. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here and here, and see more projects by david chipperfield architects on our dedicated page.

david chipperfield’s neue nationalgalerie refurbishment celebrates the iconic floating roof plane and dramatic coffering.

project info:

project title: neue nationalgalerie refurbishment

architecture: david chipperfield architects berlin

location: berlin, germany

gross floor area: 13,900 sqm / 149,618 sqft

client: stiftung preußischer kulturbesitz represented by the bundesamt für bauwesen und raumordnung

user: staatliche museen zu berlin

project start: 2012

opening: august 18th, 2021

photography: simon menges