Opening of the James Simon Gallery: the architect Chipperfield would have had a sketch drawn on a napkin – Berlin

Originally, David Chipperfield had planned a series of glass cubes for the Museum Island entrance building, something radically modern compared to the island's historic buildings. .

The project was strongly criticized in 2007, and more particularly the national museum officials themselves claimed "more pathos". As a result, Chipperfield sketched the sequence of the staircase and colonnade, built today in a barely modified form, according to legend, at a dinner on a paper napkin.


Alexander Schwarz, head of the Chipperfield Architects Project, who talks about a "temple of accessibility", took part in the new design as the building, now called James Simon Gallery, gives access to different levels to the building. Neues Museum and the Pergamon Museum.

Graphic: Daily Mirror

This is, according to Schwarz, "a network of temples where it is good to walk, between houses and open spaces, between the outside and the inside".

Graphic: Daily Mirror

In fact, the "original sketch" of Chipperfield all the elements of the current structure are in the middle of each other, in the middle of the wide staircase, to the right of the colonnade, which continues from the New Museum, to the left on a high pedestal, the colonnade, under which is now the coffee.

The open staircase and colonnade of the James Simon Gallery would have designed architect Chipperfield first on a paper napkin.Photo: dpa

Incidentally, the term "colonnade" is not quite correct, because it is square pillars, no round columns. In any case, with the 2007 sketch, the basic structure of the building was defined and what followed was the development of concrete spatial relationships, interiors and their inputs and outputs. Incidentally, drawing the first motifs on a napkin is a recurring narrative of modern architecture.