Studio International

Published 01/06/2006

The English architect, David Chipperfield, has completed a new museum of German literature in Marburg. This is a part of the Schiller Archive there. The building is reduced to a poetic transformation of glass and concrete; yet, curiously but appropriately, it seems to carry more than a passing reference to the famous 'Danteum' (1938) project by the Italian pre-war architect, Giuseppe Terragni. Indeed, it raises hopes, perhaps, that the Danteum project can actually be revived and built. This was also a building commemorating Italy's most famous Italian poet: Chipperfield is right to engage with classicism for a repository for literature, and has said, 'What more appropriate form is there for a building that is dedicated to the book?' In Chipperfield's hands (as in Terragni's), classical references are handled with discretion and great delicacy. Now wait for the backlash of theorists.