In future, the James-Simon-Galerie will serve as the entrance building and visitor centre for the Museumsinsel. Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, the sixth building on the Museumsinsel fits perfectly into the existing architectural ensemble. The topping out ceremony took place in April 2016.
The Sixth Building: A Central Reception Building for the Museumsinsel
As a visitors’ center, the James-Simon-Galerie will provide central service functions. It will offer information and guide the museum visitors across the Archäologische Promenade (Archaeological Promenade) to the separate buildings. In addition to a large area for ticket sales and checkrooms, the James-Simon-Galerie will also have a café, a museum shop, and spaces for lectures and special exhibitions. Its terrace will be accessible outside of the hours of operation.
The new building is situated between the Kupfergraben and the Neues Museum. It will connect to the south side of the Pergamonmuseum. It will offer direct access to the latter’s main exhibition floor.
David Chipperfield Creates Contemporary Architecture from a Historical Formal Idiom
The design for the new building is by David Chipperfield Architects. Chipperfield was already in charge of the restoration and reconstruction of the Neues Museum. For the James-Simon-Galerie, he is employing architecture elements also found elsewhere on the Museumsinsel.
A large, open stairwell on the south side of the James-Simon-Galerie welcomes guests to the Museumsinsel. The distinguishing architecture element is above all the motif of colonnades: Chipperfield continues the historical columned walkway in contemporary form at the James-Simon-Galerie. This creates a courtyard lined with columns between the James-Simon-Galerie and the Neues Museum as an additional outdoor space on the Museumsinsel. The side of the building that faces the Kupfergraben is also marked by colonnades. The building’s tall base also takes up the architecture of the neighboring Pergamonmuseum.
Delays in Construction
The preparatory measures for the construction of the new entrance building began in 2009. The excavation and foundation works were marked by delays and additional costs. This was primarily due to the extremely difficult soil conditions, which posed a significant technical challenge, and to the replacement of the specialist contractor concerned, due to poor performance. The shell and core works have since been largely completed. The topping out ceremony was held in April 2016.
James Simon: Museum Patron at the Turn of the Twentieth Century
The building is named after one of the most important patrons of today's Staatliche Museen zu Berlin (National Museums in Berlin). In the early twentieth century, the Berlin entrepreneur James Simon donated, among other works, the excavation finds from Amarna, including the bust of Nefertiti, and his collection of Renaissance art and applied arts.