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The Berlin Decision, Part Two

For those of you who speak German and want more details about the decision to leave Berlin’s Old Master Paintings in the Gemaldegalerie (which I just posted), here are some links, courtesy of RCA reader Wolfgang Gülcker.

Vermeer-BerlinHere are links to:

Gülcker has summarized them in greater detail that I did on my Breaking News post, as follows — verbatim, except where noted:

The results of the feasibility study

The study was conducted by the architects and city planners of the BBR (Bundesamt für Bauwesen and Raumforschung). This federal department was responsible for all new federal buildings in Berlin after 1990 and for all buildings of the Foundation on the Museums Island and the Kulturforum after 1990.

…the 2 main alternatives:

(1) A new building for the old master near the museums island with an integrated presentation of sculptures and paintings and the rebuilding of the Gemäldegalerie for the 20th century.

(2) A new building for the art of the 20th century at the Kulturforum near the Potsdamer Straße, where the Gemäldegalerie is located. Here 3 different possible sites were considered, the 2 main sites are:
(a) between Mies van der Rohes Neue Nationalgalerie and Hans Scharouns Philharmonie at the Potsdamer Straße,
(b) hidden behind the Neue Nationalgalerie opposite of the western wing of the Gemäldegalerie at the Sigismundstraße.

(a) on Google maps:,+13.369036
(b) on Google maps:,+13.365886
(c) on Google maps:,+13.365946

The costs for variant 1 (Museums Island) are estimated to 375 Mio. Euros. If interim solutions for the Gemäldegalerie will be necessary, additional costs up to 40 Mio. Euros will arise. (paper 2, pages 7 and 8)

The costs for variant 2 (a new building for modern art at the Kulturforum) are estimated only to 180 Mio. Euro regardless of location (paper 2 page 8).
The authors emphasize that the Kulturforum is an very important urban site which has been object of city planning for decades. Therefore they demand that all relevant parties of the Foundation and the city take part in an workshop phase before a decision for one of the Kulturforum sites is made (paper 3 page 49).

They evaluate the “visability” of the different Kulturforum sites in the city. They speak of “address building”. The site at the Sigismundstraße (a) is only partially suitable for “address building” (paper 3 page 51), while the site on the Potsdamer Straße (b) is a very prominent address (paper 3 page 53).

And then:

The conclusions of the Foundation (Paper 2 page 10)

1. Their ideal is still alternative 1 [of course] {his comment, not mine}. But that can not be realized financially.

2. The Kulturforum site (a) at the Sigismundstraße is “ideally located” and it is 100 percent public property. (Site b on the Potsdamer Straße is 80 percent public property). The time until realization is estimated to 9 years (10.5 years for site b). (paper 2 page 8)

3. After completion of the study the Foundation has discovered that they only need 10.000 square meters (7.400 square meters exhibition area). The study had to plan with 14.000 square meters (9.200 square meters exhibition area). Therefore they estimate the costs for this variant to only 130 Mio. Euro instead of 180 Mio. (paper 2 page 11).

4. A greater part of the paintings of the Gemäldegalerie shall be presented in the Bodemuseum integrated with the sculptures there (paper 2 page 5). [Today 150 paintings are shown there yet].

Again, thanks to Gülcker, who added his comments, which I will post now in the Comments area.

Photo Credit: Berlin’s Vermeer The Glass of Wine


  1. These comments are from Wolfgang Gülcker:

    What do I think of it?

    The conclusions of the Foundation seem to be very strange.

    – Why don’t they prefer the very attractive place at the Potsdamer Strasse between Mies van der Rohes Neue Nationalgalerie and the Philharmonie opposite the Staatsbibliothek of Hans Scharoun? The costs will be the same, the realization time would only be minimal longer.

    – A new museum at the Potsdamer Strasse would connect the Potsdamer Platz with the western part of the city. A very attractive place could be created between the new museum, the Gemäldegalerie and the beautiful small Matthäikirche.

    – How can it be possible that the Foundation discovers after the completion of the study that they suddenly need only 70 percent of the planned exhibition area?

    – why don’t they speak with the city planners before deciding for the least attractive site.

    Could it be that they want to prevent the attractive solution at the Potsdamer Straße? Would that solution be in the media, everybody would be enthusiastic. City planners, architects, would start to make plans for the this last big wound in center of Berlin. This impetus could never be stopped.
    Do they prefer the unattractive Sigismundstraße because that can be be stopped easier, perhaps after the election in September, when new politicians are responsible for culture and money?

    Or is this a conspiracy theory?

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