London,18th January 2011
Chipperfield and the glory of Germany Histories essay Sara Prat Soto MA AHTI
There is not a more romantic country than Germany, still today. “Wanderer above the Sea of Fogi”, from the beginning of the 19th, would describe well enough the always seeking for identity which characterizes this country, always building from scratch, always struggling to make up for a shameful past, always growing faster because of its straight right personality. The slogan “Berlin is in the process of becoming” from the nineties is more present right now than ever. It is striking the title of an article in The Spiegel (2007) which is “Berlin Takes on Paris”1. In this influential magazine, the meaning of the reconstruction of the Museum Island is based on the idea of Berlin taking advantage of Paris, Museum Island over Louvre, which is either funny or scary because it reminds of goby times. Luckily not in the same way, but still it demonstrates how this looking for identity is important for German people. Is this that far away from Hegel’s theories? Of Schinkel romantic classical designs for the Prussian Crown? The article displays “… a complex of world renomined museums that are slowly being restored to their former glory” and uses this kind of words, like glory, which are unbearable for the same sort of people who want to see Hegel or Friederich in the promotion of Nazism. It is well acknowledged that Germany has an uneasy relationship with its past. The IIWW rendered destruction everywhere and the country was to be rebuilt. But there was something more than the mere need to have a roof for the people who were to bury the Nazism deeply enough to be hidden, radically erased. A country was build under LeCorb’s rules with a more than a suspicious outcome. But their aim was to build fast and far away from anything like the columns which were considered fascist symbols, both in the West and the East and straightforward.”Not enough time has gone by to reconcile the past, and the various scars of destruction and repair are still purple and shivering” says Karsten Schubert, a Berliner gallery curator and artists’ representative. Silence and remoteness are the two words which tell us what the walking through the Chipperfield’s Neues Mueseum is like –to my view in considering the abundant published pictures-. Architecture is whispering behind the rooms and you can choose either to see it or not. Architecture is silent but at the same time is present for those who want to see –in the same way the wanderer in Castle by the Riverii walks the path thorough the colonnade to the Gothic building, in the same way Schinkel’s landscapes are framed by Gothic or Classic architectural framesiii-. Remoteness or nostalgia for a former time like also the “Wanderer” in Friederich’s painting. A romantic garden-alike space with the aim to express romantic beauty, country’s history and national feeling –even though back general public’s threatening backs-. These are the concepts that will be explored in this essay. Duality of concepts, in the way like mirror architecture could be traced, will be developed to illustrate this explanation.
Online edition (06/28/2007)
Context Germany’s history The Wall2. More than 20 years after its demolition there are still controversies about its value as a sign, is it worth to keep it to remind us of the past –as some people who lobby for it becoming UNESCO World Heritage claim- or it is only a foreigner-touristic thing German people would rather get rid off? The classical discrepancy Ruskin – Le Duc in the value and the meaning of the ruins, the ever-lasting concept of history in the buildings, is in Germany in the limelight. Merkel said in the museum opening ceremony “… it is a special day…seventy years after it was closed, this building can be handed over to the public again”. So finally, the museum, the Museum Island is pretty much the final stop of the postwar era, in a similar way as Parzinguer, the head of Prusian Cultural Heritage Foundation, said. In 1989 there was one of the first signs of this new rebuild Romanticism face in the country. Some people claimed the rebuilding of a Flemish Gothic House which had absolutely disappeared because of the War, and they succeeded. Some critics argued against these kinds of actions as the results were considered “facsimiles” but still, a vivid sector of historians stranded for that. It renders to a kind of need for renovation which will play an important role, to communicate. But to communicate what? There is one first position, the ones who want “one-to-one” reconstruction and the second, the ones who reprehend any kind of rebuilding. The issue of “ignoring the war” against “wiping out the traces of the past”, the Nazi rule;3 the silence versus the harmful thorn is where the problem has to be set. Even in the island, a similar matter occurred with the Hohenzollen Berlin Palace which lasted with a clear quarrel between those who wanted a new building and the ones who wanted to rebuild that totally disappeared building to recover Germany’s “lost imperial grandeur”. The same happened, for instance, with Goethe’s house, which was totally destroyed. Some relevant figures like Herman Herse, a Nobel Prize, who said: “Should it [Goethe’s house] be rebuilt? I must answer that with a whole yes!” meanwhile the art historian Richard Harman claimed that “facsimiles of precious relics can never replace an original” in order to exemplify at what extend the polemics are. Harrap4’s opinion about the issue are clear: “…after the IIWW the natural political and emotional reaction to war, was to rise the building [the Neues] from the ashes, and to overcome the past by expunging the pain of conflict as stated by Beaux Arts tradition of restoration”, but in the current time, they decided on undertaking the principles of the Venice charter as it will be explained below. Svetlana Boynn, a Harvad’s professor which is an expert of Berlin’s urbanism, explained in an interview ten months ago what it had to be called “Topography of Terror”5 or open archaeologies which have a material relationship to history. All this hubbub around the need of the history to get over it was taken again in the matter of the reconstruction of the Neues Museum.6 Not trying to trace German’s national history, I want to lightly sketch how this situation was tackled in the past. Historically, Prussia and Bavaria countries were trying to find their identity as a “unity” in the more Romantic-alike possible form. Schinkel, according to Hübsch theories, Hegel’s… were behind the Prussian crown to struggle to look into their roots (Medievalism, Gothic in the Schegel’s way) and other “high” civilizations (Greek and classical ideals)7. A century later, standardization was the directive of the Deutsche Werkbund according to Julius Posener8 in order to be able to export to other countries, to create such monumentally architecture like Polzig’s or Van de Velde’s, to influence before the outbreak of the war and before the “utopia” which would finish into Expressionism and the Bauhaus, the first achieved modern language in architecture after a century of eclecticism.9 It is quite illustrative how Jonathan Keates, a writer, in the essay titled “The Art of Survival” considers the museum as a drama, as an “architectural equivalent of a ghost story” and claims that this is the reason why it fits so much in the context it is spotted. The success of the museum is expressed in a way by its monumentality and inextinguishability, a “metaphor of survival” which is exactly what German people longed for. Keates also says that this desire “… as the mingled energies of its street life [Berlin]”.
2 “The Wall is supposed to be kept for the rest of the World but Germans don’t want. They want to go back to the world it was before” by Leo Schidt, professor in Cottbus. 3 This is a Wolfang Pehnt, a critic, view of Berlin in the article “Out of Ashes: A new look at Germany’s Postwar Reconstruction” by Roiman Leick. 4 Harrap is the architect in charge of the restoration part of the Neues, together with Chipperfield. 5 “Ruins are at the core of Berlin’s identity” Interview (09/03/2010) 6 In “Contra-amnesia: David Chipperfield’s Neues Museum, Berlin” by Karsten Schubert, she says: “ In Berlin the ground is sodden with history, but unlike, say, in Rome, here it does not come with the comfort of distance or leisurely, mythologizing retelling” in order to explain the bothering past which is the key motif to understand all the problem related to the museum. 7 “Architects have imitated other periods, taken over their shapes and techiniques, in the hope of escaping from transitory work and achieving a timeless rightness” said Gideon in order to explain the “timeless” purpose of the original use of the past. 8 “From Schinkel to Bauhaus”, lecture by Julius Posener (1967) 9 “Aspects of the pre-history of the Bauhaus”, lecture by Julius Posener (1968)
Chipperfield’s client [identity] The competition for the rebuilding was strongly discussed. In 1994 there was such disagreement that they had to postpone the choice until Chipperfield’s second project, a simplified version of the first, was published. The two stararchitects who presented projects in the second phase were Chipperfield and Gehry10 but the jury claimed that the second one was less concerned about finding the essence of the building and its history – and possibly more concerned, as we are used to, about finding how to show off his authorship-. Chipperfield won the competition applying for a serious study of the past and a meticulous study of the present German societyiv. His aim was “the restoration at the heart of the building, the staircase11” and carried out this project for eleven years with a result which seems to satisfy both public and critics. “We had a rule at the outset: no false walls, no ducts, no ceilings”. The result with the design of the staircase is broadly claimed by critics such as Peter-Klaus Schuster: “… and yet Chipperfield’s emotively minimalist staircase, following Stüler’s proportions of the new in the very heart of the ruins of downfall”. They depict the project as “elegant” or “efficient” which are two Germanic words in their entirely meaning. v The begging of the issue was in 1992 when the competition was published and eighteen national and international architects took part in it. In 1995 the project that won the competition was one by Giorgio Grassi that had a strong classical language, a mere Schinkel imitation. The second shortlisted was Chipperfield, the third Francesco Venezia from Napoles, Ghery and Axel Schultes in the fifth position, the Berliner proposal. During three years there existed a lot of discussion about the project in all the social levels and the client, the museum itself, disapproved the winner. In 1997 there was another proposal by the five architects who won the first one and after further discussion, three of them were ruled out except for Chipperfield’s and Gehry’s with the outcome we already know. No clashing between hi-tech materials but an enormous respect for the ancient form. Finesse in describing all the traces from the past, the fires, the bullets… everything can be read on the walls, the ceilings… all the layers of history, including the last one, the restoration, can be understood as a sum, as a serial in an impossible more Hegel’s way alike. It must be said that this restoration was thought to satisfy the two-band discordances, to fulfill German society and that is why it is such a success. Chipperfield read the scene and took the form of the original for the restoration and rebuilding lovers and also brought the new materials, the new view of the layers, the originality for the more sceptics. The director of the Berlin state Museum mentioned a “relief” when this proposal was achieved and praised the colonnade (James Simon Gallery to be built in 2013) which was a copy from the Stuller’s original but with new materials in the same way as in his world famous Modern Literature Museum. In this building Chipperfield even constructs a plinth in an extremely classical language that would be, without hesitation, the German’s dream of the formerly said “recovering of the glory”.vi History and the Museum [identity] Hegel’s theory of history as a dialectics would breed that Germanic way of building the future on the past. I would not dare to state that Chipperfield follows himself this urge for gathering all the contradictions of former times to render to the present in the museum, but the client, the German society, does. Hegel understood the history as the clue to apprehend the present with the sense of justice which is required. Chipperfield understood that this monumental place called Museum Island was the quintessence of this feeling, the need to preserve clearly the past, to build this new yearn for the future, of surmounting even over France –weird enough to compare with Hegel’s love for the French Revolution and later confrontation -. Totalitarism, Nazism and justificacion of human suffering have been attached to Hegel in this kind of spot which still sullies German history. I do think these platitudes should be overcome to understand how this particular culture need to define itself and should be able to do that without having to apologize forever for its dramatic past. The Glory that we encountered before in a current magazine article is the same one which Hegel says is to be gained by the Individual, the reason and the state, the one who decides on how this Island must be rebuilt. Frampton, in his essay “Museum as Palimpsest” states that Frederick William IV’s Romantic sketch of the Museum Island was that of a “sanctuary of art and science”. The Island was conceived by the Hegelian division of world history into the mystical, classical and romantic ages according to the quoted Bernhard Maaz in this particular essay: “… was designed to reflect a theoretical idealized image of history as an instructive historical narrative. Art and history were meant to elucidate each other” and this remarkable moralizing experience is one of the key points developed in the Chipperfield’s Island project on the one hand, and in the museum itself on the other. Peter-Klaus
While Chipperfield’s design is focused on the stair, Ghery’s one was changed into a modern spiral stair. “Stüler’s vision of the staircase was as garden architecture, achieving a sense of transition where one is neither outside nor inside the museum proper” Harrap’s view of the importance of the stair by the original architect. 10 11
Schuster, in his essay: “A temple of memory” also explained that the Hegelian progression in history was the original composition in Stüler’s design. Symbolic, Idealistic and Romantic periods were the three floors in the museum.vii Keates also says: “[Eclepticism, Baroque, Etruscan, Reinassence] [Chipperfield] has enlarged their combined perspective on the past to embrace another kind of inheritance altogether, Berlin’s own momentous experience of the 20th century, in which the world’s share has been universal”. Romantic Chipperfield Schinkel [Romanticism and beauty] “… with the complex history of the building ant its architectonic expression recovered, the Neues Museum stands as a crucial reference for the construction of Berlin” Alvaro Siza The experience in the museum must have this Hegelian pragmatic sense of “reanimating”12 or rather “examinating” bygone times. I do not think Chipperfield undertakes a fierce criticism of the historical narratives in the museum as I will explain later, but this will to show is to be claimed reflective for the visitors’ experience, this Hegel’s sum we already know. Talking about the ruins, Chipperfield said: “Our vision was not to make a memorial of destruction, nor to create a historical reproduction, but to protect and make sense of the extraordinary ruin and remains that survived not only the destruction of the war but also the physical erosion of the last 60 years”. Chipperfield says that there must not be surprise in architecture which could develop to an artificial relation with the man and the equilibrium in the museum, so fragmented space, should be this protection and calmness required in the reconstruction. The Unique Vision13, as he said, was his own ambition. On the other hand, maybe it is difficult to think of another contemporary architect who takes more resemblance to the principles of the Romantic Classical Masters like Schinkel. If we take as an example the Barcelona’s city of Justice we can consider this building of a rebuilt classicism. Symmetry, clarity in forms, weight in the façades, we could even consider a reinterpretation of the classical orders in the endless repetition of the holes on the façades. In his former works in Germany, as Suzanne Stephens in an article in Architectural Record - where she praises the museum over the top- claims, Chipperfield has demonstrated this new classical view in the most explicit way. The Museum of Modern Literature in Marbachviii is the clearest case, with a colonnade evolving the building and constituting a framework to see the landscape. It is exactly the same scene that Schinkel draw in a very famous picture of the colonnade in his Altes Museum14, just beside the Neues one. It was conceived to be monumental –not as the Stutler Neues’ one- and there was no barrier between the interior and the exterior. It has a lot of Durand’s doctrine, using eclecticism (the rest of the building is made of brick) as a part of the idea of the “eternally architectural”.15 “I had to fight myself to get away from the classicism of Schinkel” Mies said. Chipperfield is totally against the new tendencies of mobile architecture, he makes strong points in the way to find a static architecture, to order, to long, to create spaces. Chipperfield thinks that architecture should turn to the ancient and romantic ideal of permanence in our society which relies on change and replacement. The relationship between the human and the space is the aim of this building as it was the goal of the classical architecture.16 Schinkel, so influenced by Hegel, understood well enough the man’s place in history. Gothic and Classic, which is to say, Romantic. “Gothic has everything in common, except for style, with Greek” claimed Schinkel and painted so romantic-alike pictures, so Friederich-alike, like “Medieval Cathedral by the Sea”, a mix of nostalgia and new neoClassical forms. As David Watkin claimed in his essay “Schinkel”, Gothic embodies the National Spirit, “the outward and visible sign of that which united Man to God ant the transcendental World” in the other religious aspect of German’s nationalism. He understood the architecture in terms of expression of high ideals, either in a Romantic way or a Gothic, and found certain relieve when visiting England in the free eclecticism. Shinkel’s master draw a plan, Gilly, which was to be a monument to Friederich the Great and consisted of a picture of a huge Grecian Temple has many points in common with Chipperfield’s one, which for sure he had studied. This picture impressed Shinckel and we cannot forget that this neo-classicism of 1816 was based on the principles of Severity, Dignity and Strength, which were the
12 We should not consider the Neues as a matter of reancting but exposition of layers, to make it alive but not to revive them. Is a matter of mere “respect” but interest in “making it alive”. 13 See “Neues” for further study 14 See fig 5 15“ Friederich Werder Church” was planned in Hellenic, Byzantine and Gothic styles, as a proof of his free-style. 16 “Architecture is a mediation in between the small and the big, the human being and his relation with a bigger structure –building or city-“ stated Chipperfield.
recommendations for the military buildings17. This military, later related to Nazism, is the mere architectural response to this seeking for identity we have been talking before, which is the same thing which can be read in the Neues restoration. The Altes Museum18, for example, was to be used to awake the identity of the public and the historical culture they belonged to, in a way to provide uplift to middle classes.ix “We must not be nostalgic about the qualities of architecture which no longer exists. We have to compensate for change by taking advantage of new possibilities and the industry does give us technical and conceptual possibilities which didn’t exist 20 or 50 years ago. And I think that does to be part of our conceptual process” are Chipperfield’s words which could have been expressed by Schinkel himself –industry, eclecticism, meaning…-. In Shcinkel’s trip to Britain, he was astonished at the techniques and scale of the new factories, bridges, warehouses rather that Nash or Soane’s works –which he was intended to study- and brought back to Berlin the English traditional brick, iron, glass and, the most important thing as stated before, the “freedom” of using any style in order to achieve nationalist high quality architecture.19 Neues Culmination of concepts: identity, romanticism, beauty The Neues Museum was the only one in Museum Island which did not reopened after 1945 due to the efforts of museum colleges in the former GDR. It was to offer the treasures of antiquity, homeless since the downfall of Pompei in 79AD. The Museum was dedicated to Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, Muses’ mother and as Schuster argues, without Muses there would be no museum.20 So, on Shuster’s words, the museum is to be considered Mnemosyne’s house –which add even more emphasize to the argumentation about the weight of the time on every tiny aspect in it-.x “ A new building that was made of fragments or parts of the old, but once again conspiring to be a completeness” is this idea of the Unique Vision I have already suggested before. The aim of the building is to find “equilibrium”, trying to achieve integrity by using historical copy on a first stage, and using “Opposite composition” in the way Scarpa showed.21 Harrap explained this concept: “the old parts of the building needed to be, in a sense, cleaned of their corrupting consolidation, to provide a new value to the surviving fabric from the mid 19th century, while the new additions were to provide a re-establishment of the 19th.” Boymn, in the same article before quoted, says that one of the goal’s of the restoration is “the untouched historic decay” and the endeavor to explain the war (in the reused bricks from everywhere in Europe) even though it was such an expensive whim. A kind of PEDRES!!!! Chipperfield argues that the matter of looking into the “form” is the most difficult achievement in the museum. Architectural Composition is the outcome of the formal imposition of the respected historical form and is the consequence of the study of the building’s potential. The form, according to his view, should not be that rational22 and separated from the intellectual process. Chipperfield argues that “we are fabricating buildings” so that the “fabrication” of the Neues has to do a lot with the seeking of the past form using the present and hi-tech materials. Basically the aim of this essay is to demonstrate how all this concept of form formulated by Chipperfield fits in this new kind of Architectural mirrorxi. Chipperfield argues when discussing about the meaning of form that it has not to surprise us –in order, as stated, to avoid an unnatural relationship between human and space- but frame a pleasant experience. He also says that people must be free to choose either if they want to stare at a new form or not –and draws a comparison with a tree in a landscape which you can either see or avoid- but the form/building must not constrain our views (when talking about new star system’s “theatrically” architecture). We could argue this shyness in style owes much to the view of the Romantic Garden, where you can see whatever you desire and avoid what you are not interested in. Shinkel’s first Romantic paintings, his drawings, have this subtle curacy of “not imposing” as if you could be able to wander through the landscape, among Gothic or Classic buildings –it does not matter- but free to choose where to go and what to see, breathing old-fashioned air from a nostalgic past, identity retrieved feelings. Emotion is the word which defines Romanticism. Emotionally is the way the “flanêur” makes through _________ (painting) and passionate must be the experience of walking through the historically-distinct and cicatriced rooms in 17Explained
also by David Watkin in “Schinkel” 18 “… belief that architecture should educate and improve thr public by awakening its members to their own identity and to that of the historical culture to which they belonged” Watkin explains. The conception of the “museum” itself owes much to the nationalist objective. 19 See Part I: Context 20 Refering to Kaulbach’s monumental fresco (1843) in the staircase; dialectic old-new. 21 These are Chipperfield public words about the Neues. 22 “We are allways looking for a rational explanation of the form. Why? Should be: “I don’t know, I like it like this!(…) The result has to be withous a story, the result is just the physical result” Chipperfield.
the Neuesxii. New language, new style are behind, are there for those who want to see. But quietness, softened walks through the fell silent space –even though you can make it talk loudly- is also possible, again the timidity of German public to express their need to hail their indistinguishability. Silence and remoteness, as it essay was started, explains what Chipperfield had in mind when undertaking the restoration of the Neus, what Shinkel or other romantics such as Wagner were to express. Harrap, the other big figure in the issue and the restorer of Soane’s museum, claims that what the museum means is that of “the need to invent a special architectural language to suit the particular circumstances”. What is interesting in the process of reconstruction in keeping with both architect’s opinions is that any essential or superfluous decision was fully discussed so finally, their role was much of a moderator23 than the drawing hand. Harrap explains, for instance, how Stüle’rs Erectionxiii rebuilt arose an agitated debate which generated months of raging disputation or the minimal issue of the line of damage defining the edge of the surviving surface and the way it powerfully corrupts the interior feeling of a space. Trying not to explain the building itself –which is a matter I do not consider in this essay- I would like to underline a couple of aspects of its architectural language so that retrieved in this essay. In the Roman Room, for example, all the fissures on the wall are enhanced and painted to make the ruin more valuable with a subtle and pleasant result which really fulfill their goal. Other works of recovering a lost tiled floor, like in the north Dome, intensify this respect for the ruin. The restoration was made by using the rules of the Venice Chart, the Ruskinian rules, which mean retraining the deprivations of time and the foregoing of any attempt to facsimile24 in order to achieve the Hegelian perspective mentioned before. 25 Chipperfield in Germany “… an enigmatic poem in itself, one that, given the unique combination of resources and skill, could perhaps have only been achieved in Germany, at this particular moment in history, to the designs of two discretely sensitive and resilient British architects.” Keneth Framptonxiv We can see this tendency in Chipperfield’s work during the last years. In 2002 a restoration of the Gesellschaftshaus they said “the harmony between classic modernism and historicism is recaptured” by the same use of the historical layers Chipperfield had achieved in the Neues. By 2007 his Am Kupfegrabenxv in Berlin runs far from this new strong classical vocabulary in a freer building, with bigger holes and a random display of the windows. The language of the materials is already visible in the same way, could be said, Chipperfield is well acknowledged by the work in his interiors, so Japanese-alike especially in older times, so introspective, like a hallmark as Frampton states in an essay in first Chipperfield’s works. Also in 2007 the design for Folwang museum in Essen, the miesian view of the courtyard pictures again the ordered strict geometry. All the offices he built in Germany during these years have this role of mere classical ratio and beige hues of stone. On the other hand, Chipperfield seems to avoid these strong classical laces outside Germany. Not as a rule, but in cases like in Turner Contemporary in Margate, the Gormley Studio in London or also in China, the rules are less strict because of the setting. Building in the UK is different than in Germany and it demonstrates that Chipperfield knows if not perfectly well the spot of the project, his client. Can we blame Chipperfield for choosing his style because of the client, so-called the Reader in the famous Barthes’ essay? Is this kind of study of the place/client reprehensible? He gives an answer in an interview in the El Croquis magazine where he says that in Germany he is expected to become a lieder while in England, no theoretical concepts are expected for an architect who is not an art historian. Other projects Relationships Furthermore, if we have a look at other projects in Germany we can see how the claim for classicism is up to date. Max Dudler library’s central patio is an overwhelming piece of “neo-classicism”xvi which takes much resemblance to Chipperfield’s in Barcelona. Another example could be the first prize for the competition for the Reconstruction of the
Schubert says: “[Chipperfield’s ability] is to synthetise contrary views and have eveybody arrive, seemingly of their own volition, exactly when he needed them to be”. 24 According to Frampton. 25 The value of this kind of restoration will not be disccused in this essay. By the way, I feel it is interesting to mention that the essay “The treachery of the Fake” by Rik Nys, which talks about the Neues, offers some interesting point which should be considered and exemplifies the incapability of finding the “adequate” technique for restoration with Magritte’s painting “The Treachery of Images” whit the famous slogan “This is not a pipe” trying to explain that we are not able to capture the item itself: “all in all, it is clear that the times we look “from” are as essential as those we look “to” and this gives rise to a completely different awareness of our position in history…” as stated by Nys. 23
“Stadstscholb” by Franco Stella over other “Re-invention” projects which did not play the German role and stern nationalistic severity. Taking again Stephen’s word, she gives a relevant part of the success to Harrap, the architect who has carried out the restoration in the museum hand-by-hand with Chipperfield. He traces a parallelism with this restoration and Soane’s museum one, done by Harrap himself, and praises all the subtle achievements in the old restoration of the building. She also undertakes a comparison with Scarpa’s work in Castevecchio which I have to say I disagree. Scapa, as well as Chipperfield, studied the history of the building and took a strong position to preserve it. Some works like the will of showing the layers are alike. Presumably the sensation of walking along its fragmented spaces is quite the same. But while Scarpa undertook the restoration from a critical view of the past, enhancing the French wall as a symbol of liberty or communal space and blowing up parts of the fascist restoration in the 20’s, I cannot see this spirit in Chipperfield, who seems more concerned only in pleasing the two parts of the divided German society. Still, with a good job. Yet there is a kind of tackling the ruins which is different as well. Scarpa, like Foster in Reichstag, looks for the opposite and breaks with the ruin while Chipperfield endeavors to do just the contrary. The “united composition26” we have been commenting through the essay is also described by Harrap: “… within which the pre-existing ruin could be read and studied closely without deception or loss of confidence in the reality of what survives”. The existing material have been always tackled with priority and the new one, like the stones on the façade and according also to Harrap, have been left to develop a patina as aging in order to emphasize even more the “sum of time” character of the whole ideal building (even the new parts are ruled by the time rules). It is clear, so, that the building will not be finished until some decades time even though Berliners are so impatient to see the finished building owing to the fact it will mean the start point of their New Germany, yet belated. It will be then, when time will have punish the new part when the restoration will be fully understood on the word of Harrap. Joseph Rykwert in the essay: “The museum rejuvenated” gives the view of the Berliners, and says that the response of the general public has been of arduous enthusiasm and “… [they] allowed Chipperfield to pay tribute to the harsh contradictions of the museum’s history while reasserting its unity. That seems to me a great achievement” Chipperfield turns to Siza, Moneo and Snozzi when thinking of history, claiming that they think not only about modernity but also about history in the context of the 70’s. Chipperfield’s claim for the role of the architect-historian, if classic, seems to me interesting as he is able to proof with real work, which is to say, the Neues Meseum. Conclusionxvii Continuity but not imitation is what Gideon demands as a role for the modern historian. This is what possibly Chipperfield understood when he tried to give some response to both sides in Germany, as Gideon said “the historian must be intimately a part of his own period to know what questions concerning the past are significant to it”. Even being his style a matter of controversies for the ones who claim that are to much up to mimicry of this “fascist” past, not modern enough or too static, not too expressive… I think he can be praised to be a good reader and give a bit of this comfortable identity - this disregard for their ordinary life we could find in the 19th when seeking for the past glory- this country is looking for. German Nationalism, German visitors, find in this museum the scenario of the Shinkel’s Romantic Garden, with successive spaces, introspective and nostalgic, historic and contemporary… aiming to rise in the future, to achieve their longed Identity without disturbing and pretending to have erased their painful past. Museum, Romantic final stop and beginning of a new era for a “renew” country, just like the “Wanderer” again. Chipperfield could be claimed as a“new good art historian architect”. And what is the future of the museum? What is its role? “… the agents of decay have been managed in such a way as to freeze the ruin for future generations to enjoy. It should now be allowed to rest in peace while it regains a patination of age” on the word of Harrap. It is Schuster, who has been quoted several time owing to his role of director of the Nationalgallerie in Berlin or forme director of Altes Nationalgallerie, who claims that this work should be considered as a masterpiece and claims that it has recovered the grand trandition of the Berlin museums: “As a temple of memory (…) the encyclopedic gaze on world out in the Neues Museum, no longer serves on ideal of progress, but rather the memory of the limitlessly rich potentially of all humans to survive history, not least its cathastrophes”
26 This united composition brings us back to the concept of “Unity of effect” we discussed in the last seminar when tackling with Butterfield’s All Saints. Did Chipperfield achieved it? As I see it, he did.
Illustrations and notes i
Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friederich (1) ii
Castle by the River (Schloß am Strom) by Schinkel (2) Painting iii
Charlottenhoff Villa by Schinkel (3) Landscape with Gothic arcades by Schinkel (3) iv
Classical Prussian language in the Neues (4) v
Schinkel’s view Altes Museum (5) Neues masterly staircase (5) Neues masterly staircase (6) vi
Stüler’s colonnade Alte Nationalgalerie (7) James Simon Gallery Project by Chipperfield (7) vii
“Stage set for Mozarts Magic Flute” by Schinkel (8) Restored vault in Neues by Chipperfield. (8) Charlottenhoff villa interior perspective by Schinkel (9) Restored room in Neues by Chipperfield (9) viii
Museum of modern literature (Marbach, Germany) by Chipperfield (10) ix
Colonnade Altes Museum by Schinkel (11) Colonnade Neues (interior)(11) x
Charlotenhoff interior patio (12) Neues patio (12) xi
Framing the views: Shinkel’s villa exterior view (13) Neues patio (13) Shinkel’s view of Rome from an attic (14) Mies Van der Rohe use’s of classical Prussian architecture tradition of framing (14) “The Gate on the Rocks” by Schinkel. (15) xii
Charlottenhof garden by Schinkel (16) Neues’ new volumen reconstructed by Chipperfield (16) xiii
Charlottenhof’s colonnade by Schinkel. [Practically the same colonnade in the forme Neues.](17) xiv
Shinkel’s façade first constructed Villa (18) Neues restored façade and detail contact old-new (18) xv
Am Kupfegraben in Berlin by Chipperfield xvi
Kolhof: Walter Benjamin Platz in Berlin (2003) (19) Max Dudler: Bibliothek der Humboldt-Universität 2010 (19) xvii
Charlottenhoff last view (20)
Bibliography: Frampton, Keneth: “Historia Critica de la arquitectura moderna”Ed. Gustavo Gili, Barcelona 1992. Watkin, David:German architecture and the Classical Ideal (1740-1840). Thames and Hudson, London, 1987. Posener, Julius: From Schinkel to the Bauhaus. Architectural Association, paper number 5. Lund Humphries. Schonermann, Heinz: Karl Friederich Schinkel. Charlottenhof, Postdam-Sansouci. Axel Menges, Stuggart London, 1997. Schinkel, Karl Friederich: “K.F. Schinkel Collected Architectural Designs” Academy editions, London, 1982. Martin, Steffans: “K.F. Schinkel 1781-1841: an architect in the service of beauty”. Taschen, 2003. Ibbeken, Hillert; Blauert, Elke ...: “KFS: the architectural work today” Ed. Axel Menges, London, 2002 Houlgate: An introduction to Hegel. Freedom, Truth and History. Blackwell Publishing, 2005. Frampton, Keneth: David Chipperfield. Gustavo Gili. Barcelona, 1992. Magazine El Croquis. David Chipperfield, 2006-2010 VVAA: “Neues Museu,m Berlin” Edited by Walther Konig. Cologne, 2010. Online bibliography Wikipedia www.davidchipperfield.co.uk The Telegraph. Architectural Record. Article by Suzanne Stephens. The Spiegel magazine
Published on Jul 7, 2013