The Museum of the 20th Century in Berlin, currently under construction, has raised environmental impact concerns over its design.
The Museum of the 20th Century is an ambitious project by the German government to serve as a major attraction for the city. It was supposed to serve as a modern landmark, a rarity in the city filled with classic architecture. The project, designed by famed Swiss architects de Meuron and Herzog, was launched in 2019 and was supposed to be finished by 2021. However, COVID-19 forced the project to be delayed, which exposed many concerns regarding its design.
The concerns from environmental conservatives and activists encompass various aspects of the museum’s construction. These include the use of concrete, a material with a high carbon footprint, for the main construction. They also pointed out the ventilation system required to cool the transparent structure, which would require a lot of energy. Overall, the concern revolves around the design and construction of the museum not being sustainable in the long run. Stefan Simon, a conservation scientist, proclaimed that the design would fail the carbon neutrality goals set by the European Union.
The criticism against the museum has intensified since last month when climate and environment came to the forefront across the world amidst the COP27, where various actions against climate change were discussed. Across Europe and the Americas, many environmental groups protested in museums to draw attention to the issue.
The Museum of the 21st Century has already become a pain point for the German government. Not only is the museum construction severely delayed, but its budget has also ballooned from the initial $155 million to $500 million. However, the government has also taken notice of the various environmental concerns that were being raised. The German government allocated an additional $10.3 million to address the energy issues in the museum, while Claudia Roth (Culture Minister, Germany) backed the calls to revise the museum design.