Monday, 15 February 2010

New Buildings in Old Settings

"A living art does not restore the works of the past, but continues them." August Rodin, 1910

"Merely to call a stop to the new and hold together the old can never be regarded as an attractive strategy for the future...We still need a new architecture, but one with a 'memory' just like its inhabitants have their power of recollection." Charles Moore, 1975

"Tradition does not mean preserving ashes, but keeping a flame alight." Jean Jaures, 1910

Alte Pinakothek
Munich 1946-1957, Hans

The Alte Pinakothekis a museum of 19th Century Art in Munich, it was built by the King of Bavaria in 1826 and designed by the architect Leo von Klenze. At the time it was very modern and became a model for new art galleries in Rome, St Petersburg, Brussels and Kassel. It was badly damaged during second world war and rebuilt by Hans Dollgast between 1946 and 1957. Dollgast used simple materials such as rubble bricks, tubular steel and concrete to rebuild the galleries. The bare leaves the 'wounds' of war on the facade.

Top: Elevation for the new facade. Middle: Rebuilt facade in 1977 shows the exposed brickwork and simple style of construction. Bottom: Original facade in 1927

Original grand staircase removed from long southern side and new modern staircase built to increase space in the galleries. This staircase shows a strong resemblance in style and idea to the Chipperfield intervention at the Neues Museum.

David Chipperfield's staircase in the newly refurbished Neues Museum.

The exposed brickwork on the facade acts as a reminder of the buildings war damaged past.

The facade of the Neues Museum showing a similar use of exposed brickwork.

Hans Dollgast intended the history of the building to be visible through the use of materials and the treatment of the facade. The interior spaces were given a contemporary make-over but referenced the traditional style. This approach to the alteration of a historic site was clearly an inspiration to David Chipperfield when working on the Neues Museum. Apart from the obvious similarities in the past and situation of both buildings they are also linked through the use of materials and contemporary interventions applied by both architects. I think Chipperfield's Neues Museum probably takes the approach further and is more successful in the interior.

Museum Castelvecchio
Verona 1958 - 1961, Carlo

Carlo Scarpa's addition of a museum to the historical complex of the Castle of Verona shows a different approach to the alteration of historic space. The external elevations remain almost exactly the same, only the interior is really changed. There is a marked contrast between old and new and as with the Alte Pinakothek the use of materials is crucial to this contrast. Scarpa's new additions are in steel and reinforced concrete whereas the original building is brick and masonry. The new additions form a 'second skin' which creates a tension between new and old.

External Images and Plan

Internal Details - Scarpa designed the doors and windows, he was influenced by oriental art and this can be seen in the beautiful lattice work.

The equestrian statue of Cangrande (orginally part of a family tomb) forms the centre piece of the sculpture gallery and Scarpa's work. It is one of the most interesting pieces of 14th Century sculpture in Europe and its prominence in the museum reflects this.

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