Chipperfield and Wolff are highlights at the World Architecture Festival 2010 show

Robert Fiehn picks out two very different cultural institutions from the impressive exhibition in Barcelona
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David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum

1 / 6 David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum

David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum Treppenhalle

2 / 6 David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum Treppenhalle

David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum

3 / 6 David Chipperfield and Julian Harrap, Neues Museum

Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

4 / 6 Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

5 / 6 Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

6 / 6 Noero Wolff’s, Red Location Museum, Port Elizabeth, South Africa


The World Architecture Festival (WAF) attracts some of the most prominent names in the industry as well as providing a platform for the world's biggest architecture contest. Over 500 entries were received for the 15 categories for the 2010 awards, with selected projects from the shortlist chosen for exhibition during the Festival.  Robert Fiehn, Assistant Architecture and Design Editor at Phaidon, picked out two particular favourites from the show: the Neues Museum in Berlin and the Red Location Museum in Port Elizabeth.

One of six shortlisted projects for the coveted Stirling Prize this year, the Neues Museum demonstrates that David Chipperfield is a master of the art of transformation. In association with Julian Harrap – a restoration specialist – Chipperfield has converted this war-ravaged 19th-century landmark into a poetic statement on the concept of rebirth through architecture - something far more powerful than renovation alone. Many elements of the original design have been painstakingly followed, while delicate interventions from Chipperfield inhabit the old structure as a pure architectural comment on form and structure. 

At the other end of the spectrum in terms of style and location is Noero Wolff’s remote Red Location Museum, set within the shanty towns of Port Elizabeth, in South Africa. This Apartheid testimonial rejects the more traditional role of the museum as a repository of historical objects, instead encouraging visitors to encounter and interpret the individual histories of those who fought against the oppressive regime. Each history is contained within a ‘memory box’, itself a tall exhibition space clad in the same corrugated metal that forms the houses in the surrounding slums. Noero Wolff has expertly transformed a Boer War concentration camp into a place for contemplation, tied inextricably to the local community.


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