Chipperfield Building Wins DAM Preis 2020

John Hill
31. January 2020
Photo © Koy + Winkel Fotografie

The Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) has named the James-Simon-Galerie by David Chipperfield Architects as the winner of the DAM Preis 2020.

The DAM Preis has been given annually since 2007 to what are considered the most outstanding buildings in Germany. Projects eligible for the 2020 prize had to be completed between the end of 2017 and the spring of 2019. A longlist of "100 remarkable buildings or ensembles" was first created, from which a shortlist of 23 projects was determined by the jury chaired by Stephan Schütz of gmp Architekten von Gerkan Marg and Partners, winner of DAM Preis 2019 for Kulturpalast Dresden. Five finalists* were picked from the shortlist and then visited by the jury in September 2019 before the winner was selected.

Photo © Koy + Winkel Fotografie

In a statement from DAM, the James-Simon-Galerie was selected as winner "not unanimously but unequivocally." The building serves as the new entrance to Museum Island, which consists of the Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Neues Museum and Pergamon Museum. Chipperfield's firm was also responsible for the renovation of the Neues Museum, a project that garnered them the DAM Preis ten years ago. DAM described the winning project as "a new, successful city element that everyone yearns to see" and "a city element that was carefully inserted into an ensemble of gems by classical masters," including Friedrich August Stüler, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, and Alfred Messel. 

Photo © Koy + Winkel Fotografie

Stephan Schütz, chair of the eight-member jury, said in a statement: "The architects have managed this highly complex project with great respect for the historic place and confidence in every detail. They have created a topos that will be inscribed in the collective memory of the city." Other jury comments worth pointing out: "‘The James-Simon-Galerie is perfectly in tune with its surrounding urban space. It has the power to transform its environment into a new place, which is what gives the building its enduring vitality." (Peter Cachola Schmal); "The architects navigated the planning process, spanning a period of two decades, with great perseverance. The outcome is an opulent city element, perfectly filling the final gap in the Museum Island." (Friederike Meyer); "Pathos and grandeur, modesty and respect – all of these blend in perfectly in this exquisite and unique place." (Christina Budde)

Photo © Koy + Winkel Fotografie
*The five finalists:

  • David Chipperfield Architects: James-Simon-Galerie, Berlin
  • E2A: taz Neubau, Redaktions- und Verlagsgebäude, Berlin
  • Florian Nagler Architekten: Eingangsgebäude Freilichtmuseum Glentleiten
  • NKBAK: Stylepark Neubau am Peterskirchhof, Frankfurt am Main
  • orange architekten, "einfach gebaut," Berlin

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