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Angela Merkel to open James Simon Galerie in Berlin

The entrance building to Museum Island is the German capital’s answer to the Louvre Pyramid

James Simon Galerie © David Chipperfield Architect

The German chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to attend the inauguration of the James Simon Galerie, designed by the British architect David Chipperfield as an entrance building for Berlin’s Museum Island, on 12 July.

Comprised of columns and glass, with a sweeping outdoor staircase to take visitors to the ticketing area on the top floor, the gallery is Berlin’s answer to the Louvre Pyramid. It will house cloakrooms, a shop, a café, an auditorium and a space for temporary exhibitions as well as serving as an entrance to the “archaeological promenade” connecting four of the five museums on the island. It is named after one of Berlin’s most important art patrons, a Jewish textiles merchant who died in 1932.

On 13 July, the day after the official inauguration, the James Simon Galerie will stage a series of events for the public. The first exhibition to be shown in the newly completed building will be mounted by the city’s Gipsformerei museum, which has produced high-quality replicas of works from the museums of Berlin and other European cities for 200 years and presides over a collection of 7,000 plaster casts. To mark its second centenary, it will open an exhibition called Lifecasts on 30 August.