German rust belt city unveils redesigned Chipperfield museum

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The Independent Online

In time for its year as a European Capital of Culture, the German city of Essen this weekend welcomed the opening of a museum building redesigned by British architect David Chipperfield.

The city's newly renovated Folkwang Museum, founded in 1902, will exhibit collections by impressionist masters Van Gogh, Gauguin and Cezanne as well as contemporary sketches and photography in the new building.

From March 20, the museum will host a retrospective collection of works by, among others, Matisse and Edward Munch, which were confiscated by the Nazis, who considered them "degenerate."

The new building, with 2,800 square metres (30,000 square feet) of floor space, was designed by Chipperfield, who also presided over the renovation of the Neues Museum ("New Museum") in Berlin.

"I wanted people to be able to find their way about but also to be able to lose themselves," Chipperfield said at the museum's opening.

Essen, in the heart of the industrial Ruhr valley, is one of three European Capitals of Culture in 2010, along with Istanbul and Pecs in Hungary.