Costs soar for Berlins planned Museum of the 20th Century

Herzog & de Meuron's revised plans for Museum of the 20th century in Berlin © Herzog & de Meuron

The estimated costs for Berlins planned Museum of the 20th Century have more than doubled since 2016, according to the latest projections by the German government.

In a statement, the German culture minister Monika Grütters said the government is setting aside €450 million for the new museum, designed by the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, more than double the initial budget of €200 million. The new figure encompasses a €364 million construction expenditure, alongside €52 million to cover potential cost increases and an extra €34 million cushion for unforeseen additional costs.

The unassuming long, low red-brick structure will be situated by the Kulturforum near Potsdamer Platz, between Ludwig Mies van der Rohes metal-and-glass Neue Nationalgalerie, which is currently closed for renovation, and Hans Scharouns spiky gold Philharmonie—both architectural landmarks of the 1960s. Flanked on one side by Friedrich August Stülers red-brick 19th-century St. Matthäus church, it initially invited comparisons to a railway station, a barn and an indoor market.

“It is true that this architecture polarises,” Udo Kittelmann, the director of the Nationalgalerie, said today at a press conference in Berlin. “But the best architecture and the best art always polarises.”

In the three years since Herzog & de Meuron were announced as the architects, the firms design has undergone considerable changes, even before building has begun. Construction is expected to begin this year, with completion scheduled for 2026.

One reason for the escalation in costs is that the surface area of the museum has had to be decreased in order to leave more space around the St. Matthäus church. “We had to compensate for the smaller surface area with volume,” which means digging deeper in Berlins notoriously swampy soil, Jacques Herzog said. The museum will comprise 9,000 sq.m of exhibition space.

At present, the Neue Nationalgalerie can only display about a quarter of Berlins vast stores of 20th-century art at any given time, Grütters said, adding that “the Museum of the 20th Century is urgently needed to give the Neue Nationalgaleries world-class collections adequate space”. The museum will also display works from large private collections donated tRead More – Source