Christopher Kelly hadn’t visited Schinkel’s Altes Museum before as it is in the East Berlin part of the city - showing his age a bit! - but the building lived up to its big neoclassical reputation, offering plenty of architectural lessons about simplicity and scale. Chris' take is that Karl Friedrich was in love with the Pantheon, not a bad building itself! Finished in 1830, the Museum's entry incorporates a famously civic portico providing all the vertical circulation to the museum as well as being fully open to the outside. Somehow, it scoops urban life into the building- an exemplar of public realm overlapping with the interior, that we all strive for.
It ‘s been tentatively and crudely enclosed with glass but we hope a proposed renovation will reinstate Schinkle’s original civic generosity (and do justice to its Unesco World Heritage site status). Chipperfield did a great job on the Neue Museum retrofit and we hear, he also has Mies ‘I don’t invent a new architecture every Monday’ Van de Rohe’s art gallery to refurbish now, too.Back to news