James-Simon-Galerie on Museuminsel

An Urban Piece

Rafael Moneo 

David Chipperfield, James-Simon-Galerie

Buildings need not be isolated, independent, autonomous objects. Nevertheless, we tend to see them as such when they are canonical works, like Greek temples, Gothic cathedrals, or Renaissance palaces, or when we think of the notion of type. Architectural criticism has perhaps of late overly tended to lean on the concept of object when aligning the nature of buildings to that of paintings and other forms of art. Still, it often happens that buildings ask to be regarded and projected in a wider framework, within that structure that contains everything built: the city. In truth, this relationship with the city must never be neglected: designing a building forces the architect to consider how it relates with the broader reality that the city is, and also to what extent the object being designed affects the surrounding urban fabric. For these reasons, buildings should not be taken as autonomous objects, and the recently completed James-Simon-Galerie is a case in point...

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