Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany – Caruso e Torricella Architetti

Altes Museum, Berlin, Germany

Program: Architectural design of the Altes Museum main floor (exhibition rooms and facilities) and exhibition design for the Antikensammlung collection
Size: 2,000 sqm
Client: Staatliche Museen zu Berlin-Preussicher Kulturbesitz
Status: completed in 1998

Working in a space that is the “archetype” of the idea of museum, designed by a beloved “Ancient Master” like Schinkel, was a great emotion. The architectural competition and our consequent mission had two goals: an architectural restoration of the floor and en exhibit design of the Antikensammlung. The two themes mergered into a global design aimed to get the people fully enjoy both the beauty of the collection and Schinkel’s prophetic vision about museum design.

To make this, we had to take sides against the DDR 1966 reconstruction that broke up the huge space of the Nordgalerie with a staircase, modified doors proportions and positions, eliminated the double row of columns. We consequently proposed to demolish the staircase and re-open the doors in original positions and proportions. Obvioulsy a re-construction of the double row of classical columns wouldn’t have been possible and we decided to go for abstract mid height pillars located in the same places of the ancient columns. This double row of pillars resulted to be the backbone of the exibition sytem as it builds up a kind of central mall along which the “highlights” works are put, while on the side aisles reference and context works are shown.