Museum of the 20th Century
National Art Museum Proposal
The Museum of the 20th century will become the centerpiece of the Kulturforum. The unique site, surrounded by the most prominent examples of modern architecture in Berlin, is a place that deserves a respectful intervention. The latest masterplan indicates a central open space for the site. This space is composed out of the historic roundel of Matthäikirchplatz on the west side and the new museum site on the east.
Conceptually, the proposal preserves the continuous central open space by creating a plane that emerges from grade level near Matthäikirchplatz and rises gently towards the west side. The plane transforms itself from a ground level surface into the roof that shelters the grand entrance of the museum. The entrance faces Potsdamer street.
Preserved as a natural monument, the historic tree will remain intact between Matthäikirchplatz and the curved plane that transitions from ground to roof. The roof will be partially walkable and will allow the full enjoyment of the central open space, offering new vantage views of the Kultureforum and the urban context beyond. Most of the functions of the museum will be arranged in 3 levels underground, with the main foyer positioned under the roof.
The architectural identities of the Neue Nationalgalerie and the Philharmonie/Chamber Music Hall are largely represented by the shape of their own iconic roofs, suitable to the intrinsic functions of the spaces they each shelter. Located in between them, The Museum of the 20th Century establishes a formal linkage between two masterpieces of divergent aesthetics. More importantly, the inviting roof offers an urban continuum of openness appropriate to the character of Berlin since the fall of the wall.
The art after 1945 and the art before 1945 are separated by the sunken court and its perimeter corridor. Similar to the abrupt threshold between the two distinctive periods of German modern art, the magnitude and openess of the court is of great significance. The sunken court serves as a space for relief and meditation from the intensity of both art periods.