The Altes Museum, built between 1823 and 1830 and designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, is one of the most important works of Neoclassical architecture. With its clearly ordered exterior and an interior structure designed with exacting precision in the ancient Greek style, Schinkel pursued Humboldt's idea of opening the museum as an educational institution for the public.
The monumental order of the 18 fluted Ionic columns, the wide stretch of the atrium, the rotunda - an explicit reference to the Pantheon in Rome - and finally the grand staircase are all architectural elements which, up to this point, were reserved for stately buildings.
Originally built to house all of Berlin's art collections, the Altes Museum has been home to the Collection of Classical Antiquities since 1904. The building was severely damaged by fire in the last two years of the war. Reconstruction work lasted until 1966.