The Museum Berggruen celebrates topping out ceremony for the extension and renovation of its building

Museum Berggruen

The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (SPK) is today holding a topping out ceremony to mark the expansion and renovation of the Museum Berggruen in Berlin-Charlottenburg. In summer 2012, the museum, which forms part of the National Gallery, will reopen its doors, this time with an additional 1000 square metres of exhibition space at its disposal. This will enable the display of additional loans from the Berggruen family, including exquisite works by Picasso, Matisse, Cézanne and Klee. A glassed walkway will connect the neighbouring building, a former officer's house, to the museum. The adjoining garden is to be converted into a sculpture courtyard.

The ceremony was attended by Jan Mücke, State Secretary at the Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development, André Schmitz, Secretary for Cultural Affairs in Berlin, Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, Department Head at the Ministry of Culture, as well as representatives from the museum's own society of friends. At the ceremony, Hermann Parzinger, President of the SPK said: 'The driving force behind the museum's expansion is the magnificent commitment that the Berggruen family displays in continuing Heinz Berggruen's legacy in Berlin. Since its opening in 1996, the gallery has welcomed some two million enthusiastic visitors. From summer next year, this veritable gem in Berlin's cultural landscape will be able to shine even more brightly, reinforcing the importance of our division of museums in Charlottenburg.'

In 2008 the SPK commissioned Berlin architects Kuehn Malvezzi to devise plans for the extension. The architects plan using a 22-metre long new structure to connect the museum's original building, designed by Friedrich August Stüler, with the neighbouring building (a former officer's lodge) on Spandauer Damm. The new wing will mean an additional three floors of exhibition space will be available for rotating exhibitions. The transparent, light, steel-and-glass construction will stand out from the two historical buildings on either side, while at the same time serving as a kind of glass pergola to incorporate the adjoining garden, which holds several old trees. The garden will later be turned into a sculpture courtyard, accessible to visitors directly from outside during museum opening times.

The architects Kuehn Malvezzi have come up with blueprints for the SPK before and were responsible for the extension of the Hamburger Bahnhof and the wing containing the Friedrich Christian Flick Collection. They are also responsible for the planning of the current redevelopment of the Museum of Decorative Arts at the Kulturforum. As with all construction projects implemented at the SPK, the building costs (some 6.5 million euros) have been covered in their entirety by the federal government. In a move aimed at raising the profile of the Charlottenburg cluster of museums, the state of Berlin has placed the former officer's lodge at the SPK's long-term disposal and at no extra cost.