Bring the Neues: The Walls That Talk

It must sound ridiculous to some, but, in all sincerity I was profoundly moved by the Neues Museum in Berlin.

The Neues Museum is part of a cluster of museums that dominate the so-called Museum Island, a Unesco Heritage site in the heart of Berlin. It has been part of an ambitious and major restoration project creatively driven by David Chippefield alongside conservation architect Julian Harrap (of Hackney).

Our interest was naturally piqued at the mention of Chipperfield as he is one of Hiro's favourite starchitects. We watched the Sterling Prize on telly and were captivated by the story and vision for the space.

"The idea that form follows function is complete crap."
David Chipperfield.

The Neues Museum was built on the orders of Fredrich IV of Prussia as an extension to the Altes Museum in 1841. It's purpose was to house the King's ever growing collection of ancient artifacts. By 1939 the museum was closed with most of it's contents taken away for safe keeping. During WWII The Nueues museum was bombed,nearly obliterated and left to ruin. It wasn't until 1985 that efforts were made to conserve the museum. In October 2009 The Neues museum opened it's doors and this Curator was very excited!

The museum is a stark and at times brutal contrast of new architecture grasping the old yet somehow remaining sympathetic.

Hiro believes that Chipperfield was not trying to recreate what once was, but instead reinterpret the vision, the experience, and the aspiration.

For me it felt like a place in which the sands of time were in a state of perpetual flux. We shifted from clean lines and modern textures to historic grandeur and back again within every few steps. and in between there are restored colonnades wrought with exposed unhealed bullet scarred columns. 

The funny thing is that we have very little recollection of the actual exhibitions. We strolled through the building in a state of awe at the accomplishment of this place. It is an achievement to create a place that not only houses items of historical interest that chart the course of humanity with virtue, but, it is more of an achievement for that very place to be a living breathing testament to the things it has witnessed. These wall DO have a way of talking.

Hiro has a way of experiencing any where that we may be in terms of light and shadow. The Neus museum, on a sunny day is a playground for light and so a little bit of magic for Hiro.

"Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light" Le Corbusier.

Hiro would like us to mention Kardorff Ingenieuer Licht Planung for their splendid job of lighting the museum.

Thank you very much for reading this post. I hope that you have enjoyed our little tour of this remarkable place.
This is the 1st ever post written and photographed by Hiro and I.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Super engaging Hiro & Sumi!!!
    I like the colonnades and your cute face :)

  3. I love the museum in berlin. great blog. great photos


  4. Somethings just cannot be summed up in one word ...well apart from the second picture ;) lol The pictures are also quite extraordinary..one day I'd like to decorate my bathroom like the 6th picture


  5. And a beautiful collaboration between the to of you it is. Thank you for showing it too us. I know Hiro understands light and his shots really show this. I was gob smacked when I looked at your link of what the room used to look like. Such loss. The new structure around the old though is inspired. Xxxx

  6. Wonderful! I am absolutely captivated by your writing and photography and am so glad I found your blog.

  7. your photos are wonderful. this museum seems indeed achitecturally gorgeous..

  8. I love this! Amazing photographs of a beautiful place. Thanks to both of you.

  9. These photos are simply amazing! Are you a professional photographer or is it just a big hobby of yours?

    I just got my very first DSLR just lately, and I'm super excited to take nice shots with it! :)

  10. this is a lovely post!! all the photos are amazing and the lights and shadows are captured beautifully!

  11. wow the lighting is excellent there! i also love your descriptions- if i ever were to have my work shown as museums, i would SO hire you to write the descriptions. they enchant me just as much as the photographs themselves.

  12. did my comment go through?? bah!

    i LOVE the lighting there. i also love, love, love your descriptions! they are just as amazing as the photos :) you should be in charge of writing museum placards! or a book! oh a book would be amazing, even just a short story :)

  13. what a lovely view of an ancient city. i think i could fit in to that kind of atmosphere.


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