David Chipperfield Wins Mies van der Rohe Award

British Architect David Chipperfield who recently won the Pritzker Prize has now received the most prestigious European accolade, the Mies van der Rohe Award. This is the European Union’s prime architecture prize for contemporary architecture. It is presented every two years by the European Commission together with the Mies van der Rohe foundation (Barcelona). This prize acknowledges and promotes creative expression and development in European architecture. Sir David Chipperfield received this award for his design of Berlin’s 19th-century Neues Museum. The original museum was built in the mid-19th century and was severely damaged in the Second World War. The EU-Mies van der Rohes Contemporary Architecture Prize awarding ceremony took place yesterday.

The Chipperfield reconstruction began in 2003. The  Neues  Museum  on  Berlin’s  Museum  Island  was  designed  by  Friedrich  August  Stüler  and  built  between 1841  and  1859.  Extensive  bombing  during  the  Second  World  War  left  the  building  in  ruins,  with  entire  sections missing completely and others severely damaged.  Few attempts at repair  were made after the war,  and  the  structure  was  left  exposed  to  nature.  In  1997,  David  Chipperfield  Architects  ‐  in  collaboration  with  Julian Harrap ‐ won the international competition for the rebuilding of the Neues Museum. The  key  aim  of  the  project  was  to  recomplete  the  original  volume,  and  encompassed  the  repair  and  restoration of the parts that remained after the destruction of the Second World War. The original sequence  of  rooms  was  restored  with  new  building  sections  that  create  continuity  with  the  existing  structure.  The  archaeological  restoration  followed  the  guidelines  of  the  Charter  of  Venice,  respecting  the  historical  structure  in  its  different  states  of  preservation.  All  the  gaps  in  the  existing  structure  were  filled  in  without  competing  with  the  existing  structure  in  terms  of  brightness  and  surface.  The  restoration  and  repair  of  the 
existing  is  driven  by  the  idea  that  the  original  structure  should  be  emphasized  in  its  spatial  context  and  original materiality. The new area reflects the lost without imitating it. 
Chipperfield, Principal of David Chipperfield Architects, said: “The reconstruction of the Neues Museum is a testament to the collaborative process undertaken in a demanding climate of public opinion. The result is evidence not only of the efforts of the professional team but of the commitment of the client and the city authorities to engage in this rigorous and articulated process.”


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