exterior lighting
Photo © Christian Gahl
main stairs
Photo © Christian Gahl
main entrance
Photo © Christian Gahl
Photo © Christian Gahl
upper colonnades
Photo © Christian Gahl
colonnades along the courtyard
Photo © Christian Gahl
Photo © Christian Gahl
Lighting Designers
Museumsinsel Berlin | Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin
Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, vertreten durch Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung (BBR)
David Chipperfield Architects
Helmut Angerer, Jan Nielsen, Eva Lechermann-Wollscheid, Tanja Erk, Annette Roller, Martin Möller

The Museum Island in the middle of the historic centre of Berlin is one of the most visited sights of Germany’s capital. It consists of five museum buildings which were extended in July 2019 with the sixth building, the James-Simon-Gallery. Thereby the visitor is led through the archaeological promenade to the several buildings.
The conceptual heart of the Museum Island is the luminous halo, which slightly underlines the stone facade of the historic buildings in a neutral white luminous colour of 4.200K. Hereby it is distinguishing that the light radiation begins with the upper edge of the pedestal and ends at the balustrade of the attic storey.
Due to the spatial closeness to the Pergamom Museum and New Museum the luminous halo at the new building would diminish the plastic appearance of the historic buildings. Therefore, at the James-Simon-Gallery there is no facade illumination intended.
This is also advantageous for the courtyard between the New Museum and the James-Simon-Gallery. Nevertheless, the reflexion of the illuminated facades of the nearby museum ensure that the courtyard remains perceptible and does not appear dark and threatening. The facade illumination of the New Museum is realized by luminaires which are integrated in the facade of the new gallery building. The greatest challenge turned out to be the spotlighting of the tympanum. Again, the luminaire is integrated in the facade of the gallery, but both facades are not parallel to each other, they are slightly twisted. This slight distortion had to be compensated with the help of the light engineering, whereas the demand not to beam beyond the tympanum did not make it easier.
The exterior lighting of the James-Simon-Gallery basically intends to illuminate explicit the horizontal traffic area. To enhance the clearness of this effect, no pillars or facade elements must be lightened and they must not be cut by light cones. This intention is especially visible when the interior lighting (external service) is switched off.
The colonnades along the courtyard are illuminated by short linear luminaires which are not aligned in the centre line but are arranged laterally on purpose. This avoids the direct transit underneath the luminaires and decreases the glare affection. Furthermore, an essential feature of the existing illumination in the colonnades is followed - the kept-free middle axis.
The illumination in the upper colonnades is again defined between the facade and the pillars, whereas the luminaire positions are also not in centre line but lateral nearby the pillars. The defined light distribution avoids disturbing light cones. Nevertheless, the pillars are not completely dark, they are slightly enlightened by the ground reflection. The limited light radiation is explicitly important close to the water, because therefore reflection on the water surface is prevented.
The great 13m wide main stairs are exclusively illuminated by round wall mounted recessed luminaires integrated in the sides of the stairway. Only the last two luminaires in front of the entrance are constructed as bollards because there is no wall for integration. The height of the luminous spot is at 55cm which would not allow the use of standard lights. The special light engineering enables an illumination up to the middle centre line of the stairs. The light distribution is defined in such a way that there is no glare while going up, nor by viewing from the distance.
The conception of light at the James-Simon-Gallery underlines the clearness of the new built architecture and does not compete with the nearby historic buildings. The design principle still is followed concerning the luminaire positions and the avoidance of any glare and light cones. Therefore, a coherent appearance is successfully realised.

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