AWork is going on again on the construction site of the Museum der Moderne at the Berlin Kulturforum. Excavators dig up the earth, trucks transport the excavated material, steel struts secure the concrete tub in the basement. The noisy hustle and bustle is an unusual sight, because there has been little construction work to be seen here in recent months. A report by the Federal Court of Auditors in March 2021 criticized the high energy costs of the building. The requested improvements to the design by the Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron were still in progress when Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters handed over her office to her successor Claudia Roth. In May of this year, Roth announced further talks with the architects, and things went quiet on the building site between the Philharmonie and the New National Gallery. Nobody believes that the construction costs will remain within the announced range of 364 million euros; that the museum, as hoped, will be finished in 2026, neither.
Last Friday, the new Minister of State for Culture announced that she wanted to invest almost ten million euros from her next budget in energy-saving measures in the new building. The plans are to be presented in the spring, but the core of them probably boils down to solar cells on the gable roof of the building. This would also eliminate the last aesthetic appeal of the “barn” – its function as a light source in public space through transparent glass tiles on the roof surfaces. But the good purpose of the ecologically reliable here justifies the means of the architecturally ugly.