Critics call new Berlin art museum an “absolute disaster”

Critics call new Berlin art museum an “absolute disaster”

Construction on the Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin has been suspended due to worries that its barn-like design will unnecessarily waste copious amounts of energy. Critics have called it an “absolute disaster beyond all expectations” and a waste of taxpayer money.

Berlin art museum construction halted

Construction of a new modern art museum near Potsdamer Platz in Berlin has been stopped due to ongoing fears and criticism that the building’s barn-like structure will require huge amounts of energy to run. The Museum of the 20th Century, now nicknamed the “climate killer”, was designed to rival the MoMa in New York and Tate Modern in London, but has now brought Berlin’s art world into the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

Designed by heavyweights of the architectural world, Herzog and de Meuron, the museum was named by the firm from Switzerland as the “building of the future” - but that is before models of its design were revealed and questions began to be posed about its efficiency. What's more, the project’s budget has more than doubled since plans were unveiled, jumping from 179 million to 450 million euros.

According to The Guardian, the federal audit office has demanded that a new design be proposed and argued that the project is an “overpriced and unecological” use of people's taxes.

Museum will be less energy efficient than most 

The main criticism of the new museum’s design stems from the fact it is largely being constructed from concrete, which is one of the biggest contributors to carbon dioxide emissions. The large, flat, beer tent-like design also leaves little room for insulation and will require an expensive ventilation system to sustain the specific temperatures required to protect the exhibits.

From across the architectural world critics have offered their two cents on the museum’s construction. According to The Guardian, Stefan Simon, an expert in conservation science, has called the project a “structural nightmare” and a “step in the wrong direction” which will miserably fail to meet EU climate neutrality goals.

Simon estimates that the modern museum will be even less energy efficient than most older museums in Berlin. According to the avid supporter of ecological architecture, the “structural nightmare” will use four times as much energy as Berlin’s famous Altes Museum, which was built in the German city between 1823 and 1830.

In an opinion piece recently published by Die Zeit newspaper, art world expert Tobias Trimm made a personal appeal to Germany’s Culture Minister to pause the project amid the country's energy crisis. Trimm also urged climate activists across Europe who glued themselves to art gallery walls in recent months to turn their attention to the future of the “climate killer” museum.

Olivia Logan


Olivia Logan



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