New National Gallery, Berlin, 1962-8


New National Gallery, Berlin, 1962-8

architect: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

(Architecture in detail)

Phaidon, 1998

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Mies van der Rohe envisaged a glass and steel temple for the New National Gallery of Art, Berlin - a sort of shrine to German art. The commission was one which touched the architect deeply, coming as it did after a 60-year career; it was the last building completed in Mies's lifetime and the culmination of his life's work and aesthetic ideas. The gallery's compositional effect is classical, an impression that arises from the way in which the steel stanchions are carefully proportioned and spaced to recall classical columns; while the vast overhanging steel roof was intended to evoke a notional entablature. Sheltered by this roof is a great abstract "universal" space capable of subdivision by freestanding panels deigned for the hanging of artworks. Overall, the building is a monumental statement but one which bears witness to Mies's consummate sense of detail and craftsmanship in steel. This informative analysis of the building, with specialist photography and detailed drawings adds significantly to the body of work on this enormously important architect.


  • Introductory essay
  • photographs section
  • drawings section.

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