In advance of the impending renovation of the famous Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, the new 'David Chipperfield: Sticks and Stones' exhibition opens today at the iconic venue - almost fifty years after its completion.
Originally designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (notably the celebrated architect's last major construction), the gallery has been a landmark of Modernism since its opening in 1968. Its steel roof, touching lightly upon a series of eight columns, seemingly suspended in mid-air, defines its pared down aesthetic - a key element of its creator's oeuvre. It also allows for an impressive column-free interior of 2,500 sq m.
The soon-to-start major renovation works, headed by David Chipperfield - also behind famous museum projects such as the Neues Museum, in Berlin's museum island, and the Saint Louis Art Museum - are due to start on site in early 2015.
Until then and for the next three months, Chipperfield will 'transform the universal space of the upper glass hall into a hall of columns consisting of 144 tree trunks'. The installation stems from a clever wordplay from the well-known English children's rhyme and refers to the 'sticks and stones' of architecture, and it unites in a single, minimal gesture, architecture and nature. '[It also] serves,' explain the architect's practice, 'as a metaphor for a temporary construction site.'
A 200 sq m meadow at the centre of this 'forest' completes the spatial experience. This floor element will act as the stage for several, both architectural and interdisciplinary shows taking place throughout the display's duration.