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0185 Museum of the 20th Century

Berlin, 2015, Brandlhuber+ architecten de vylder vinck taillieu / Thomas Burlon, Matteo Corbellini, Marta Dyachenko, Markus Emde, Olaf Grawert, Maria Hudl, Max Kesteloot, Theresa Kraus, Alessandra Pelizzari, Pia Prantl, Wolfram Winter, Denis Dujardin, Dan Graham, Richard Venlet

In 2015, the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz announced a competition for a new museum at the Kulturforum to make the collection of 20th century art accessible to the public. The site of the competition is adjacent to the Berlin Philarmonic on one side, for which Scharoun drew on his thoughts on the “urban landscape,” and Neue Nationalgalerie on the other, which was initially designed by Mies van der Rohe for the Bacardi headquarters. The project responds to the two icons with pragmatism: the maximum permissible dimensions define the volume, the wedge-shaped incision for an existing tree allows the sloping piazzetta of the Gemäldegalerie to reach the building and creates an entrance for the new museum, and the requirement for northern illumination of the interior is met by a shed roof, which is slightly twisted to align with the north-south axis. On the inside, the grid-based floor plan follows the orientation of the plot and ensures diversity: rooms in any size are provided—they differ in length, width, and height—to which the widths of the overhead lights adapt. Any materialistic articulation is avoided on the outside and the concept of the white cube is applied to the facades: the surfaces are constantly being painted throughout the year. This performative act is also an allusion to the saying of the German artist Karl Valentin “Kunst ist schön, macht aber viel Arbeit” (“Art is beautiful, but requires a lot of work”).