Precedent | Neues Museum by David Chipperfield Architects with Julian Harrap

Extract from my project-related cultural context report (David Chipperfield Architects images seen on their website using this link):

The Neues Museum in Berlin illustrates how a variety of conservation processes may be employed harmoniously to complement each other where a variety of different conditions exist on the same site. It has been ‘conserved, rehabilitated, reconstructed and remodelled by Chipperfield, with Harrap as restoration architect’ (Stephens 20120, p. 58). They followed a general approach, like that proposed in the 1964 Venice Charter, of exposing changes occurring through time rather than disguising them or creating a facsimile of them. They chose not to place a hard-line between new and old elements instead opting for degrees of separation based on the state of the original fabric of the bombed-out structure. The richly decorated interiors of the restored original features are however read as a sharp contrast to the austerity of new additions, and serve as a reminder of the cruel disregard war shows for our built heritage. The conservation strategy, whilst healing the building, also serves its memories whether good or bad. However austere new additions may appear by direct comparison to the delight of the original/ restored features, they also bring with them new delights, bathed as they are in a natural, to some maybe heavenly, light of the day. The romanticism of the old is like theatre, intended to grab and surprise you, whilst new additions assume the character of a sombre but hopeful building, meditating on its past whilst looking to the future.

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