We are pleased to announce that 24 working drawings (office prints) for Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin have came to light in the AA Library book storage area, together with a collection of press-cuttings, postcards and photographs. It is thought that this material was brought together as reference material for students – the drawings had been neatly folded to fit an A4 box file which then sat on the bookshelf until they were rediscovered in late 2015.
The last building designed by Mies, the Neue Nationalgalerie is regarded by many as the culmination of his ideas on clear-span structures. It was completed in 1968 and it consists of a large exhibition hall with a roof supported by eight cruciform columns with permanent exhibition galleries and administrative offices below in the podium, and a sculpture courtyard to one side..
The drawings, which have been in AA ownership since at least 1983 and stamped Architectural Association Library, are working drawings and contain many annotations and revisions, mostly in German. The drawings date from 1964-67 and relate to the earlier part of the project (the title on most of the drawings is given as ‘Gallery of the Twentieth Century’, its earlier name). The prints, two of which are blueprints, show the various aspects of the building including plans, elevations, sections and details. The drawings are for all parts of the building including the glass wall, floor, ceiling (with details of lighting), exterior stairs , ramp, terrace, windows, doors, construction details, wardrobe, and roof. There are also designs for the public and employee’s toilets, as well as the lettering to be used throughout the building.
The presscuttings that accompany the drawings have all been cut out of journals from the time the building opened; there are also four official postcards and nine photographs, including one that shows Mies van der Rohe and Hans Scharoun at the laying of the foundation stone in 1966. Finally, there is a 6 page typescript that describes the building including its construction and function; this might be from a press release from when the building was officially opened.
The drawings and related material have been catalogued and can be be viewed either in person at the AA Archives, or a selection can be viewed online at http://collections.aaschool.ac.uk/archives