Herzog & de Meuron Design the Museum of the 20th Century at the Kulturforum

On October 26, 2016, the winners of the design competition were announced: Herzog & de Meuron architects from Basel, in partnership with Vogt landscape architects from Zurich, submitted the winning design for the new building for the Neue Nationalgalerie - Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts at the Kulturforum in Berlin. Their entry was selected by a jury chaired by Arno Lederer. 

Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Photo of the Model
Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Photo of the model © Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd., Basel, with Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland / Photo: Winfried Mateyka

Architects' Commentary

"Is it a warehouse? Or a barn? Or maybe a railway station concourse? Isn't it more of a temple with exactly the same gable forms as those on the Alte Nationalgalerie designed by August Stüler? Indeed, it is a place of storage like a warehouse, a place of supplies and nutriment like a working farm, and a place of encounter and connection like a station concourse. "And - like a temple - it is also a place of silence and reflection, of the perception of art, of the perception of oneself."

Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Interior perspective
Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Interior perspective © Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd., Basel, with Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland

Architects' Commentary

"It currently lacks a connection between the different presences that would give its open spaces a sense of place and incorporate the lost-looking buildings of the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Philharmonie, the Kunstgewerbemuseum (Museum of Decorative Arts), the Kupferstichkabinett (Museum of Prints and Drawings), and the Gemäldegalerie (Old Master Paintings Gallery) in a diverse urban entity as important and equal players. We see connecting and networking as one of the main tasks for our project for a Museum of the 20th Century."

Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Site plan © Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd., Basel, Switzerland and Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich/Berlin
Design competition "The Museum of the 20th century". 1st prize. Site plan © Herzog & de Meuron Basel Ltd., Basel, with Vogt Landschaftsarchitekten AG, Zurich, Switzerland

Architects' Commentary

"The gable end facing the Philharmonie offers direct access to the media room. This allows events to be held there outside the regular opening hours. (…) The quadrants can be reached individually, directly from the boulevards. At the same time, the exhibition spaces are connected internally, so that alternatively they can all be visited on a single circuit."

The Architects: Herzog & de Meuron

Herzog & de Meuron is a partnership led by Founding Partners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron together with three Senior Partners Christine Binswanger, Ascan Mergenthaler and Stefan Marbach. Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron set up their architectural practice in Basel in 1978. The partnership has grown over the years – Christine Binswanger joined the practice as Partner in 1994, followed by Robert Hösl and Ascan Mergenthaler in 2004, Stefan Marbachin 2006, Esther Zumsteg in 2009, Andreas Fries in 2011, Jason Frantzen and Wim Walschap in 2014, and Michael Fischer in 2016. An international team of about 40 Associates and 380 collaborators is working on projects across Europe, the Americas and Asia. The firm‘s main office is in Basel with additional offices in Hamburg, London, New York City and Hong Kong.

The list of important buildings for cultural institutions that Herzog & de Meuron have designed and completed is itself a long one. In addition to the Tate Gallery of Modern Art in London (2000) and its fabulous expansion (2016), it boasts the Vitra Haus (2009) and the Vitra Schaudepot (2015) in Weil am Rhein, the extension and renovation of Musée Unterlinden in Colmar (2015), and the Museum der Kulturen in Basel (2010). In January 2017 the Elbe Philharmonic Hall in Hamburg opened. Projects currently under construction include, among others,  M+ in Hong Kong, a new museum for visual culture (planned completion 2019) and the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, Israel (planned completion 2020).