Berlin: The Museum Island and Beyond

Berlin: The Museum Island and BeyondAn architectural vision for the extension of the Museum IslandA new gallery for the Old MastersBerlin\’s Museum Island is the topic of this design studio. It is an architectural collage; an urban ensemble consisting of a complex of solitary structures standing on an island in the Spree River. The Museum Island is the German Acropolis for art, where each building offers a new interpretation of its history. The island\’s fascinating development from an industrial area into one of the most important architectural monuments is an utopian dream come true. Each of the five existing museum structures incorporates an architectural vision, the knowledge of history, and the role of art in society at the time it was built.Today the institutions of Museum Island need to be expanded. A triangular site just across the river from the island, which once housed the castle guard, has been chosen for the extension. The new construction will house a gallery, restoration workshops, and administration facilities.The design of the new buildings hinges on the relationship between past and future. The existing utopias need to be complemented by a new architectural vision, which will be judged against the quality and complexity of the historical context.The design studio will travel to Berlin, visiting the city and its collections, with special emphasis on the Museum Island and the proposed site for expansion. We will conduct a workshop on Museum Island with behind-the-scenes visits to the Altes Museum, National Gallerie, Neue Sammlung, Pergamon Museum, and Bode Museum, guided by representatives of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the architects responsible for renovating these buildings. The results of the studio will be published in a catalogue and will be shown in an exhibition in the Pergamon Museum in Spring, 2005.