A competition design is not a blueprint. Before a building can be built, the architects and the planning team design it in minute detail during the planning stage – this ensures that things will run smoothly inside the building. 

If the building is a museum, the planning phase presents unique challenges. Some works of art are unusually large or heavy – transport paths must be planned to accommodate them. Technical facilities to create a stable climate in the exhibition rooms must also be planned. And everyone, with or without special needs, should be able to access the museum and find their way around easily.

Stable climate for art

The climatic requirements of a new museum building are complex. The temperature and humidity must be kept constant to protect the artworks inside. Well-conceived climate control and interior spaces designed for a high quality of stay make it possible for the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts (Museum of the 20th Century) to satisfy internationally valid climatic standards and present art in large, open exhibition rooms.

Against decay: restoration workshops

Art is perishable – especially 20th century art, since they were often created with organic materials like oils or gelatin, or materials with shorter lifespans. In order to examine works using art technology and conserve them, special restoration rooms for paintings, sculptures/installations, paper, book and media art are planned for the new museum building. To prevent pest infestation (IPM monitoring) a special quarantine zone has also been included.

Focus on accessibility

Berlin’s museum for 20th-century art will be a place for all people. That is why special care has been taken to ensure that all rooms from the basement to the roof are accessible to wheelchairs, walking aids, baby carriages, and buggies. Since the surrounding terrain is uneven, some steps have to be included along the façade – but there will always be ramps next to them and some of the steps are designed to be used as seating. Accessibility also means the installation of gender-neutral restrooms in the museum building: after all, discrimination is a barrier, too.

Art logistics: how to get Warhol’s Mao through the door

20th-century art is sometimes not easy on exhibition curators – some works are quite bulky and large. Take Andy Warhol’s Mao (1973), which covers a whole wall, for example. Such works with unusual dimensions require the planning of sophisticated logistics: Are the hallways wide enough for their transport? Does the artwork fit through the doors? After all, any work should theoretically fit into any room.

Orientation in the museum

A museum is there for people – and they should be able to find their way around in the new building. This is a special challenge in a house with three entrances. That is why the museum is designed so that as many people as possible can find their way to the art as quickly and conveniently as possible – with the help of clear signage, orientation aids, and lots of service.

The large foyer, which is the building’s centerpiece, will be illuminated through its glass roof. A place to linger, it is also the starting point for guided tours and exhibition talks. The ticket sales counter located there is also the information point. The cloakrooms and restrooms are nearby. The first works of art can also be admired in the foyer.


Design planning – developing the design and calculating the costs

Buildings are designed in several stages, and this also applies to the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts. The design development is based on Herzog & de Meuron’s competition entry.

During the design planning stage, the architects team up with specialists to specify the design’s details. Then the building’s floor plan is determined: the exact location of all the rooms a museum needs to function well is defined. This applies to all the rooms accessible to visitors, including the exhibition areas, lecture hall, areas for the education and mediation program, foyer with the ticket counter, cloakrooms and toilets, and the restaurant and shop. 

The same applies to all non-public rooms such as storerooms, restoration workshops, the rooms for the building technology, and employee offices. While these remain closed to visitors for the most part, they are important to the “behind the scenes” museum work. In addition, the architects work together with the specialist planners on the design and details of the façade.

Based on the results of design planning, the costs of the design are calculated precisely. Since February 2018, the planning team has been working on the revision of the design under the direction of the architects. The design planning phase will be completed in the summer of 2019.

Approval planning – obtaining building permits and securing financing

In the approval planning phase, the architects prepare the building permit application based on the detailed draft. To do this, they must create special approval plans. They must also describe the construction project in detail and complete extensive application forms. Next, the building permit application is submitted to the building authority. 

When the building authority issues the building permit, the approval planning phase is completed.

At the same time, the responsible federal ministries review the construction project from a construction perspective. On the basis of the cost calculation prepared at the end of the design planning phase, they also earmark the necessary financial resources from the federal budget.


Execution planning – preparing construction drawings and awarding contracts to construction companies

During the implementation planning phase, the architects and planning experts finally draw up precise implementation and detail plans.

These plans are used for preparing and producing bidding documents and searching for construction companies.