As a general term restoration is the recognition of a work as a work of art, through any aesthetics, both in its physical composition and in its aesthetic and historical essence, with the perspective of its transfer to the future.
It stops at the point where assumptions begin to exist. Beyond this point, any operation that may be considered necessary for aesthetic or technical reasons, should be separated from the (original) architectural composition, and indicate a modern view.
A building does not stand still in time. It is evolving. Its elements evolve together, the parts of which it consists. Time affects the shape of a building like a beautiful maturation. We can say that a greater architectural interest lies in the visual recording of the eras on it than in the analysis of only one imprinted period.
Creating a legible and comprehensible building is part of the search for truth, which allows us to say, I can read it and believe it. Therefore, restoration must bea process of studying its quality, and its integration must aim at simplicity and clarity so that it stands out aesthetically.
Neues Museum (Berlin, Germany) is a living example of the controversy of different approaches regarding the future form of integration into a historic building and building complex. Its innovative (for the time) construction began in 1841 by Friedrich August Stüler for the development of facilities for the arts and sciences.
After the Second World War the northwestern side of the building and its south-eastern corner were extensively demolished. In 1993 a competition for its restoration and the construction of complementary and connective buildings on the Museum Island was announced, for exhibition and service purposes.
Giorgio Grassi with the simplicity of his architecture managed to highlight the old building. He won the competition and described important baselines for later implementation. But Grassis proposal did not meet the requirements of German citizens and so the second phase of the competition began in 1997, with the finalists being Frank Gehry and David Chipperfield.
In Chipperfield’s proposal all the gaps in the existing structure were filled without competing it, and a volume of the same size and proportion was created, contrary to the proposal of Gehry -suggesting a new exhibition space with curved stairs inside the museum- in which the notion of the protection of the historical original structure seemed to have been lost.
He said The analogy that I always use is that of a broken Greek vase. You restore it by bedding the fragments in white plaster so that you can discover the figure and the form and see what supports it and gives it substance - not to reinterpret it, or worse, attempt to replicate it.
Maintaining the layers of history with the simplicity but also the clarity of its architecture offers an important retrospective to the past, also using this specific aesthetic he successfully found the bridge between the old and the new while at the same time including the building in the modern city.