David Chipperfield in Berlín

In Praise of the Column


Trained with Norman Foster and Richard Rogers, David Chipperfield soon realized that his language was not that of technological expression, but that of the pure forms of a minimalism which reinterprets the legacy of classicism in a highly personal way. Maybe this explains Chipperfield’s being a rara avis in the context of British architecture, as well as the fact that he has found in the simultaneously austere and effervescent Berlin of the last decade a very favorable setting for his works, which very frequently have consisted in complex interventions involving restoration and renovation, as in the very acclaimed Neues Museum. The list of buildings raised by him in the city of Berlin now expands with the major commission to restore none other than the Neue Nationalgalerie that Mies van der Rohe worked on from 1965 to 1968, another fine example of the timeless classicism that Chipperfield admires so much. The restoration works are supposed to begin at some point this year, but with the Neues Museum as precedent, we can expect the respectful parsimony with which the British architect tends to take on commissions of this kind to get tangled up in a protracted process of uncertain, but probably exemplary end. Meanwhile, Mies’s old Galerie now bids a temporary farewell with an installation designed by Chipperfield himself. Titled Sticks and Stones, it is a forest of 144 tree trunks evoking an essential element of architecture which was as feted in the past as it is held in contempt today: the column.

Included Tags: