50 Wonders | Jo Wright: Neues Museum, Berlin

Chipperfield_Neues Museum Berlin copy_UZ_N39_ready_Credit Ute Zscharnt

The Arup director was beguiled by the masterful rebuilding of Berlin’s war-ravaged museum when she returned to the city where her career began

Wonder: Neues Museum, Berlin

Architect: David Chippperfield, 2009

Nominator: Jo Wright, Arup

In 1986 as a student and, on reflection, with very little thought I boarded a coach for Berlin, carrying a ludicrously heavy A1 portfolio and a bag of belongings to survive six months. I was looking for an adventure and London lacked the gravitational pull it exerts on young architects today. Berlin was preparing for the 1987 IBA (International Building Exhibition) and an array of luminaries was delivering exemplar housing-led regeneration. After a week of door knocking and interviews conducted in faltering German, I secured a job and embarked on exploring the extraordinary city of West Berlin, where streets were unceremoniously truncated by the arbitrary imposition of the Wall, with its bronze-glazed watchtowers representing the ideological schism that then seemed unbreachable.

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