Berlin Monument Authority  


World Heritage / Museumsinsel

Pergamon Museum

Pergamonmuseum; Photo: Wolfgang Bittner, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin (Berlin Monument Authority)
Photo: Wolfgang Bittner, LDA
Pergamonmuseum, Pergamonaltar; Photo: Wolfgang Reuss, Landesdenkmalamt Berlin (Berlin Monument Authority)
 Photo: Wolfgang Reuss, LDA

Am Kupfergraben, Mitte; Entwürfe, 1910-30 constructed by Ludwig Hoffmann according to designs by Alfred Messels from 1907-09

The three-winged structure of the Pergamonmuseum located south of the Bode Museum is divided by the metropolitan railway tracks. It constitutes the final link in the chain of museums constructed on Museumsinsel. With its austere, archaizing architecture, the Pergamon museum is the brilliant conclusion of the often diverging, but ultimately consistent architectural development of the island.

The new museum for ancient, Near Eastern and German art was a concept developed by the architect Alfred Messel in 1907. After his death in 1909, his friend, city building advisor Ludwig Hoffmann, continued with his plans. Messel's design took reference to the architectural style of Gilly and Langhans around 1800, including the cubic contours of the windowless middle wing and the integrated wing structures with colossal flat pilasters topped with angular abacuses and steep gables, along with details of archaic effect such as Doric semi-columns.

The monumental quality of the exterior structure corresponds with its content: The middle wings contain halls of the building's full height which house the Pergamon altar and Markttor ("market gate") by Milet, as well as sections of antique temple façades. With the exception of the Ishtar Gate and procession route, the wing structures were largely multi-storied, housing Roman and Gothic art, the gallery of sculpture and Islamic art. Hoffmann's exterior modifications had a rather conventional, disarming effect. Most striking is the elevation of the eaves, the flattening of the gables and the addition of a metope and triglyph frieze. The structure's taut, cube-like modernity, which distinguished Messel's last work, has been essentially preserved despite such smoothing.