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David Chipperfield’s spectacular reconstruction of the Neues Museum marks a further stage in the conservation and modernisation of the Museum Island in Berlin. The original museum, erected from 1841 to 1859 to designs by Friedrich August Stüler, was itself a notable attraction, celebrated for its use of the latest construction technology and for its conception as a total work of art in which architecture, pictorial imagery and the exhibits worked together to acquaint visitors with ‘exotic’ cultures ranging from the ancient world to the more recent past. All parts of the building that survived the Second World War and a half-century of neglect as a ruin have been carefully conserved. They are joined by outstanding modern additions made in sympathy with the original. The Neues Museum can now take its place as a building worthy of the UNESCO World Heritage site. This book traces the genesis of the building, describes its former and current splendour and explains its significance. The author also outlines the heated debate over the right way to reconstruct the museum.
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