new images revealed of david chipperfield's neue nationalgalerie refurbishment

Apr 29, 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.

images by simon menges

‘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.

project info:

name: neue nationalgalerie refurbishment  location: berlin, germany  project start: 2012 completion: 2020 opening: 2021 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 architect: david chipperfield architects berlin

photography: simon menges