Altes Museum
 Great Buildings  Search  Advanced  Buildings  Architects  Types  Places  3D Models  Pix  Archiplanet   ArchitectureWeek  
Architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel
Subscribers - login to skip ads
Location Berlin, Germany   map
Date 1823 to 1830   timeline
Building Type museum
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Neoclassical
Notes Classical colonnaded facade. A major landmark in the develoment of museum typologies.


Photo, exterior, main facade, angled view

Photo, exterior, main facade

Photo, exterior, main facade




Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing




Section Drawing

Perspective Drawing

Discussion Altes Museum Commentary

"The facade unity achieved in the Schinkel museum derives from the expression of the vertical elements as a freestanding colonnade set into a tight frame provided by end walls, base, and roof. Termination of the facade by walls instead of columns and the use of the classical device of narrowing the end spacing allow the colonnade to be perceived as an entity, like seeing the forest before the trees. Moreover, a row of columns set in front of a wall always constitutes a figure-ground relationship. While the columns play the more readily apparent part of figures, the spaces between them can be equally effective figures."

— from Klaus Herdeg. The Decorated Diagram: Harvard Architecture and the Failure of the Bauhaus Legacy. p37.

The Creator's Words

"Our mind is not free if it is not the master of its imagination; the freedom of the mind is manifest in every victory over self, every resistance to external enticements, every elimination of an obstacle to this goal. Every moment of freedom is blessed."

"...the site required a very monumental building. Therefore I preferred one giant order rather than two individual expressions for the two main stories....The building surrounded on all sides by the Ionic entablature or the Ionic columnar hall, with Ionic pilasters at the four corners, forms a simple yet grand main structure into which the two floors are inserted in a subordinate manner."

— Karl Friedrich Schinkel. from Michael Snodin, ed. Karl Friedrich Schinkel: A Universal Man. p1, 34.


Located to the east of the main station.

Sources on Altes Museum

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. facade and plan drawings, p31. — A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. repetitive to unique diagram, p168. "1.6" proportion diagram, p190. — Updated edition available at

James Stevens Curl. Classical Architecture: an introduction to its vocabulary and essentials, with a select glossary of terms. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992. ISBN 0-442-30896-5. NA260.C87. Facade with its great in antis arrangement of Greek Ionic columns, f2.25, p30.

Klaus Herdeg. The Decorated Diagram: Harvard Architecture and the Failure of the Bauhaus Legacy. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1983. ISBN 0-262-08127-X. LC 82-24983. NA712.H47 1983. discussion p37.

Claude Mignot. Architecture of the 19th Century in Europe. New York: Rizzoli International, 1984. NA 957.M5313. ISBN 0-8478-0530-1. interior of dome, plate 22, p24.

Demetri Porphyrios. Classical Architecture the Living tradition. New York: McGraw Hill, 1992. ISBN 0-07-050478-4. LC 92-15369. NA260.P67 1992. interior color photo of vestibule, p32.

Helen Searing. New American Art Museums. New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1982. ISBN 0-520-04896-2. plan drawing, p18. section and perspective drawings, p19. interior perpective, p20.

Michael Snodin, ed. Karl Friedrich Schinkel: A Universal Man. London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1991. ISBN 0-300-05165-4. LC 91-50586. NA1088.S3A4 1991. discussion p1, 34.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Altes Museum


Web Resources
Links on Altes Museum

Altes Museum at ArchiplanetFind, add, and edit info at the all-buildings collaboration

We appreciate your  suggestions  for links about Altes Museum.

 Great Buildings  Search   Model Viewing Tips   DW   Discussion   Blogs   Books   Archiplanet   ArchitectureWeek  
Subscribe free to weekly design and building newsletters by ArchitectureWeek

Quick Search by name of Building, Architect, or Place:   
Examples:  "Fallingwater",  "Wright",  "Paris"       Advanced Search
Send this to a friend | Contribute | Subscribe | Link | Credits | Media Kit | Photo Licensing | Suggestions

Special thanks to our sustaining subscribers including, and Saniflo Upflush.

© 1994-2013 Artifice, Inc. All Rights Reserved.