Well that’s about the fastest turnaround from shortlist to winner set of announcements we’ve ever seen. Just a few days back, we told you that the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture, or the Mies van der Rohe Award, had just released its set of six finalists for the biennial award. Now here we are with the winner: David Chipperfield for his Neues Museum Berlin. Back in those far off days when we were discussing the shortlist, we were pulling for Bernard Tschumi’s Acropolis Museum, despite the inclusion of a handful of regularly-winning starchitects But don’t get us wrong: we love Chipperfield’s museum all the same. Here’s some from the official announcement:
Androulla Vassiliou, European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, said: “My congratulations to our winners who have created two exceptional buildings. The Neues Museum brings the past and present together in a stunning mix of contemporary architecture, restoration and art. The Collage House in Girona is another remarkable renovation which fuses old and new materials in a harmonious whole.”
The original Neues Museum, designed by Friedrich August Stuler, was built in the mid-19th century. The building was severely damaged in the Second World War and reconstruction began in 2003, with the aim of restoring the site to its former glory. David Chipperfield, who worked on the project with fellow British architect Julian Harrap, adopted a dynamic approach in his restoration. Rather than attempting to conceal the difference between the old and new elements, the past and present are beautifully combined to create an unforgettable building with multiple layers.