World Heritage (5) Berlin

A view of the Cathedral dome, included in the site's buffer zone

A view of the Cathedral dome, included in the site’s buffer zone

The Museuminsel (Island of the museums) is inscribed to the World Heritage list in 1999. The inscription is justified by the values of the set of museums, illustrating the evolution of the modern museums for more than a century, and by the role of the museum as a social phenomenon, coming from illustration and opened to the wider public after the French revolution; the Museuminsel is considered the most outstanding example of this concept given material form and a symbolic central urban setting.

The five museums which compose the protected site are conceived by the site Management Plan, directed by the British architect David Chipperfield, as a unit, but looking to maintain the architectural independence of each one. The forecast is for a increase in the number of visitors, from 1,5 million visitors to 3 million mid-term.

The Plan defines an archeological promenade linking the collections of the Bode, Pergamon, Neues and Altes Museums at 0 level. A sequence of halls and courtyards will turn the archeological promenade into an interdisciplinary axis around the monumental architecture of the ancient world. Preexisting colonnades are rebuilt, and there is a new building with a contemporary language, the James Simon- Galerie.

The work on an island (even with ramifications on the neighboring shores), without major use changes, reduces conflicts, but I imagine that the James Simon- Galerie has received its share of criticism. In 2011 I visited the area, and the works were on progress.

Berlin-delimitacion2

Site and buffer zone

Museuminseln-1

Aerial view from the west. On the upper right part you can see the project to rebuild the Royal Palace (out of the protected site)

Museuminseln-2

James Simon Galerie

South of the site was the Democratic Republic parliament, razed after reunification. There are now plans to rebuild the old Royal Palace, a relevant change in the name of a historic memory that few living people still have (the Palace was razed in 1950). The blue building is a temporary exhibition compound for the project

South of the site was the Democratic Republic parliament, razed after reunification. There are now plans to rebuild the old Royal Palace, a relevant change in the name of a historic memory that few living people still have (the Palace was razed in 1950). The blue building is a temporary exhibition compound for the project

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