Berlin Art Museum reopens after six years of renovation led by British architect


Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, a modern art museum designed by Bauhaus pioneer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, has reopened to the public after six years of renovating the glazed building.

German Culture Minister Monika Gruetters said in a celebratory ceremony on Saturday that the occasion marked the “brilliant return of the museum as a place of pilgrimage for modern art lovers and as a stage for contemporary artists ”.

British architect David Chipperfield oversaw the complete renovation of the steel and glass structure, a project that cost 140 million euros (£ 120 million).

British architect David Chipperfield oversaw the massive £ 120million renovation of Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie (Matt Crossick / PA)

Mies van der Rohe was the last of three directors of the Bauhaus art and design school, which began working in 1919 and was forced to close shortly after the Nazis came to power in 1933. He then emigrated to the United States.

The Neue Nationalgalerie was Mies van der Rohe’s only building after WWII in Germany. It was built in then-West Berlin, not far from the Berlin Wall that divided the city for much of the Cold War. The museum opened in 1968, the year before the architect’s death.

The mayor of Berlin, Michael Mueller, said that shortly after the construction of the wall, the building, with its transparent facade, was synonymous with “progress, avant-garde and modernity, openness and internationality, “the dpa news agency reported.

The museum reopens its doors with three exhibitions: a selection of key works from its collection, an exhibition of works by sculptor Alexander Calder and another dedicated to film and media artist Rosa Barbra.

Berlin is creating more space to show off its contemporary art collection by building a new 20th century museum next to the Neue Nationalgalerie.

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