Two Buildings – One Museum

The Nationalgalerie (National Gallery) collection of 20th century art could only be exhibited in part until now. The new building will make it possible to present the collection permanently and contiguously. For this purpose, the new museum building will be connected structurally with the Neue Nationalgalerie. The new building will have a relationship with the existing spatial structure of the Kulturforum.

Why a New Museum Building?

The history of the Nationalgalerie collection is full of upheavals: It was divided up and distributed among many venues. For decades it has only been displayed in parts due to lack of space and many of the works it contains are consigned to the vaults. Since the 1960s, the collection has at least tripled in size because of the unification of the East and West collections, in addition to acquisitions and donations.

What will be shown in the Mies van der Rohe building?

The Neue Nationalgalerie by Mies van der Rohe was mainly intended to exhibit works from the Classical Modern period. The expansive masterpieces of the second half of the 20th century need larger and

more flexible areas for suitable presentation; for this reason, they are exhibited in the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin (Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum for Contemporary Art – Berlin).

20th Century Art in One Museum

The goal of the new building at the Kulturforum is to end this fragmentation by uniting the 20th century inventory that is currently spread over several buildings. With the aid of the planned connection between the Neue Nationalgalerie and the new building, it will be possible to tour art from 1900 to the developments of the late 20th century within a single museum complex.

Will the Two Buildings Be Connected?

The space in the Neue Nationalgalerie basement is too small to exhibit Modernist art properly.

A connecting structure between the Neue Nationalgalerie and the new building will make it possible to exhibit the collection cohesively. The two buildings will be connected underground, which will make it possible to continue viewing the exhibitions in both directions. For this reason, the main area of the passage will be used as exhibition space.

One of Berlin’s main energy arteries – a 380 kV high-voltage power line – is located below Sigismundstraße. It cannot be tunneled under. Plans to move this cable, which have nothing to do with the construction of the new museum building, are currently being drawn up. The connection between the Neue Nationalgalerie and the new museum building cannot be completed until after the cable is moved; probably in 2027. Preparations for the connecting passage construction will be made at both ends so that the tunnel can be completed with as little intervention as possible after the cable has been moved.

View of the Kulturforum from Kollhoff-Tower on Potsdamer Platz (2004)
View of the Kulturforum from Kollhoff-Tower on Potsdamer Platz (2004) © State of Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment

Urban Integration into the Kulturforum

The new building on Potsdamer Straße is responsible for ordering and clarifying the Kulturforum’s entire urban planning situation. It will place the Neue Nationalgalerie, the Berlin Philharmonie and St. Matthäus-Kirche (St. Matthew Church) in a new, coherent relationship with each other that also includes the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin (Berlin State Library) and the museums lining the Piazzetta. The new building will further develop architect Hans Scharoun’s cityscape concept.

The new building will respect the visual and spatial impact of the currently existing structures. With its height and mass development, it will also keep the effects of the ensemble and the urban fabric of freely grouped buildings intact and in balance.