The James Simon Gallery will be a new, centrally located visitor centre between the reconstructed Neues Museum and the Kupfergraben arm of the Spree river on Museum Island in Berlin. Designed by architect David Chipperfield, the gallery is named after the maecenas Henri James Simon (1851-1932) who brought worldwide fame to the Berlin State Museums with his lavish donations.
As the ensemble's sixth building, the gallery will have a prominent position at the site of the former Packhof designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, which was demolished in 1938, and will set a concluding accent in the construction history of Museum Island. Chipperfield's first designs featured plain cubes with a hull of satin glass and steel, causing various protests which led to an extensive revision in 2007. The current drafts of the reception building consist of a stone basement, framed by a modern continuation of Friedrich August Stüler's colonnades at the Alte Nationalgalerie.
In the course of the reorganization of Museum Island according to the master plan originally designed by Giorgio Grassi, the James Simon Gallery is mainly created for the growing numbers of visitors, which, when all the museums have been opened, are expected to reach four million visitors annually. Similar to the Louvre Pyramid, it will receive the visitors for the island, offer them orientation and direct them to the exhibits featured on the main circuit. In addition, the James Simon Gallery will provide the infrastructure of an auditorium, a media centre, rooms for temporary exhibitions, a bookstore, shops, cafés and restaurants for all of Museum Island.