The name is misleading: the New Museum is the second-oldest building on the Museum Island. It was constructed between 1841 and 1859 to designs by Friedrich August Stüler - as an extension of the Old Museum with which it was linked by a walkway until 1966.
At the time of its opening, the building gained attention with its novel iron load-bearing construction, visible in the roof truss that signalled the new industrial era. The rooms of the three exhibition floors contained works by the major artists of the period. The stairwell in the middle tract that simultaneously functioned as a festival hall was decorated with Kaulbach murals. The façade was richly ornamented in period taste. Towerlike projections lined the east wing, which was adorned with caryatids.
The northwest wing was destroyed during the Second World War but the entire building was only secured in 1988. The competition for the new design of the museum at the beginning of the 1990s produced a controversial winner in Giorgio Grassi. His austere extension building with windows resembling embrasures was soon abandoned. Placed second and fourth in the competition, David Chipperfield and Frank O. Gehry were invited by the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation to revise their plans. The English David Chipperfield eventually gained the advantage over the creator of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.
Extensive refurbishment began in 1999 and ended in 2009. Chipperfield rebuild the northwest wing in close adherence to the original design but lowered the foundation level of the museum to gain a further exhibition floor. The "Archaeological Promenade" extends along the longitudinal axis. A new low building at the Kupfergraben contains a venue for special exhibitions, a media centre, and a gallery with a café and a bookshop.
The re-opened New Museum contains the Egyptian Museum and the parts of the Museum of Prehistory and Early History with objects from the Antikensammlung (Collection of Classical Antiquities).
Landesarchiv Berlin / Otto Hagemann
Landesarchiv Berlin / Klaus Lehnartz
Landesarchiv Berlin / Thomas Platow
Landesdenkmalamt Berlin / Wolfgang Reuss
Landesdenkmalamt Berlin / Wolfgang Bittner