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Gallery Building in Berlin

Location: Berlin, Germany
Architect: David Chipperfield Architects
Structural Engineers: Ingenieurgruppe Bauen

The Gallery Building in Berlin, which overlooks Museum Island, was designed with the past in mind while maintaining its own unique character. The facade is comprised of the masonry from demolished buildings, with large window openings whose folding shutters allow for the regulation of daylight entering the gallery. Inside, the floor plan is simple and well-organized around the building cores.

The building is built with a precast concrete structural systems finished on the interior with insulated ipe boarding for the wall structures and recycled masonry on the exterior. The roof and any outdoor platforms are finished with precast concrete slabs embedded with concealed rain drainage systems leading to gravel tributaries.


The interior of the walls are made up of wrought ipe wood with sheet steel and insulation. Beyond these structures are the folding shutters that regulate the lighting of the entire structure; the mechanisms of the shutters are concealed by concrete slabs located just behind the exterior finish. The masonry of demolished buildings was used to cover the exterior of the building, interspersed by horizontal concrete strips with stone additives. Also present on the facade are small, hidden rainwater receptacles which prevent water from flowing down the face of the building.

The outer skin of the structure was required to be at least 250 mm thick so as to ensure that reactive forces due to changes temperatures would not cause cracks in the structure, as no vertical expansion joints were used for the brickwork.

All photos and information in this post acquired from Detail Magazine: “Gallery Building in Berlin”, 2008 6th issue, pages 596-601.

Written by Sean Franks

January 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Posted in Uncategorized