Munich Concert Hall Competition


1st Prize project by Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten (image ©  Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten)

 

Until the early 1970s, architecture in Bavaria, and in Munich in particular, was not only viewed as traditional, but even leaving the impression to some as being ‘quaint.’ Then came the 1972 Olympic Games, which marked a watershed moment in design for that community. Not only was a contemporary solution for the site of the games implemented—the roof tensile structures designed by the German architect, Frei Otto was revolutionary—but a new cylindrical BMW Headquarters building arose nearby. Designed by the Austrian architect, Karl Schwarzer, as the result of an invited competition, the building became one of the city’s major landmarks—a prominent tower as arrival feature in a low-rise city.

 

Since then, numerous modern structures have appeared, both in the city itself and in the surrounding suburbs—the most prominent being Coop Himmelb(l)au’s BMW World in the city, Herzog de Meuron’s Allianz Arena in a nearby suburb, and Helmut Jahn’s new Munich Airport Terminal near Freising. Based on Munich’s long tradition as a center of music, especially opera, the city is finally moving forward with a new Concert Hall project, starting with a recently completed competition.

 

The Process

Supported by the State of Bavaria and coordinated by phase1 of Berlin, the competition was launched on 12 August 2016 and concluded with the selection of the winner and other premiated designs in late October 2017. It was an invited competition, with 35 participants in all—29 shortlisted from the RfQ and six preselected for participation in the design stage. The latter were:

 

• Gehry Partners, LLP, Los Angeles
• gmp Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner, Hamburg
• Henning Larsen Architects, Copenhagen/Munich
• Herzog & de Meuron, Munich
• Schultes Frank Architekten, Berlin
• Snøhetta, Oslo

 

When the final submissions were received, 31 of the 35 invitees responded with entries. For those designs which were premiated by the jury, the following compensation was available:

1st prize: EUR 125,000 (w/o VAT)
2nd prize: EUR 100,000 (w/o VAT)
3rd prize: EUR 75,000 (w/o VAT)
4th prize: EUR 60,000 (w/o VAT)
5th prize: EUR 40,000 (w/o VAT)
Recognitions (total) EUR 100,000 (w/o VAT)

 


1st Prize model (photo © Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten)

 

 

The professional architects on the jury panel were:

Prof. Markus Allmann, Munich
Ldt. BD Kurt Bachmann, Chief Building Director, Head State Building Office Munich 1
Kai-Uwe Bergmann, New York/Copenhagen
Prof. Hannelore Deubzer, Munich
MDirig Friedrich Geiger, Head Section State Buidling, Supreme Building Office, Munich
Prof. Finn Geipel, Paris/Berlin
Prof. Harry Gugger, Basel
Prof. Hubert Hermann, Vienna/Leipzig
Prof. Hermann Kaufmann, Munich
Prof. Ulrike Lauber, Munich /Berlin
Prof. Arno Lederer, Stuttgart
Josef Peter Meier-Scupin, Munich
Prof. Dr.(I) Elisabeth Merk, Planning Director, State Capital Munich

 

Alternate Architectural jurors

Lutz Heese, Munich
Ltd BD Harald Löhnert, Head Section State Building, Government of Upper Bavaria, Munich
Susanne Ritter, City Director, Leader Urban Design, State Capital Munich
Prof. Kirsten Schemel, Berlin/Munster
Elena Schütz, Berlin/Zurich
BDin Christine Mantel, Project Leader Concert Hall, State Building Office Munich 1
MR Andreas Muschialik, Head Section IIA3, Supreme Building Office, Munich

At the end of the adjudication process, the jury settled on the following ranking:

1st Prize – Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten ZT GmbH, Bregenz, Austria
2ndPrize – PFP Planungs GmbH,
Hamburg, Germany
3rd Prize – David Chipperfield Architects Gesellschaft von Architekten mbH, Berlin
4th Prize – 3XN A/S, Copenhagen, Denmark
5th Prize – Staab Architekten GmbH,
Berlin
Honorable Mentions:
• Henning Larsen Architects,
Copenhagen/Munich
• Zaha Hadid Architects,
London
• Mecanoo,
Delft, The Netherlands
• Christ & Gantenbein
, Basel, Switzerland

 

The choice of Cukrowicz Nachbaur Architekten as the winner only found one dissenting vote. Aside from fulfilling all of the technical requirements, the cruise-ship-like (or shed) configuration of the structure was greeted as a good fit for the neighborhood, not overbearing, but certainly presenting a recognizable icon in a less than upscale environment. This, although the main concert venue was located in the upper levels of the building—evidently hardly seen as an issue after the recent opening of the new Hamburg opera.


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Interview: William Pedersen FAIA (Winter 1996/97)

 


333 Wacker Drive - view with Chicago River in foreground (photo: ©Barbara Karant)

 

COMPETITIONS: When you are called on to design a ‘foreground’ building for a corporate client—although it’s usually an office building, it could be any number of building types—how do you balance the private and public interest beyond the usual zoning regulations?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

left and below
Gargoyle Club Prize
Best Architectural Thesis, University of Minnesota School of Architecture (1961)
Theme: Hospital Project


Images: courtesy William Pedersen

 

Pedersen: The interest of the client as it relates to the quantity of the construction they wish to place on a site is perhaps the most difficult issue, particularly during the 80s, when a tremendous amount of construction was taking place in the United States, and one more office building was not hailed by anybody as a contribution to society. The situation has changed rather dramatically in the 90s, when almost none of them are being built; so the issue is not as pressing. But there always is the question, ‘Is a building, given the bulk proposed, appropriate for its specific condition?’ One’s ability to deal with that issue is somewhat limited because zoning establishes what is of right, and not of right. Therefore, the battle has largely been fought prior to our entrance on the scene.

 

Past that point, the relationship of our buildings to a specific context has been a fundamental issue of our architecture. This is particularly how we take tall buildings, which are in themselves somewhat insular, autonomous and discrete, and bring them into a more social state of existence. That’s been the subject of our study for the last twenty years. We’ve developed strategies for doing that, of which I’ve spoken at length. The preoccupation of making the tall buildings—part of a more continuous, overriding fabric—that’s been central to our architecture.

 

COMPETITIONS: The most obvious argument against contextualism—as many people understand it—would be the Pompidou Centre in Paris, which has turned out to be the most visitied and popular building in that city. Wouldn’t that seem to give architects a good argument for doing something different? Was that even a lesson?

 

WP: Juxtaposition is a fundamental contextual strategy; but it has to be used sparingly and has to be introduced at exactly the right moment for it to have a powerful effect. For example, the Seagrams Building on Park Avenue—before any of the other buildings followed suit—was exceedingly powerful and very successful as a result of the juxtaposition at that particular place. I would argue that our building in Chicago (333 Wacker Drive) is an equally successful contextual building. It’s on the only triangular site of the Chicago grid at a bend in the Chicago River, and it sits within a context of totally masonry buildings, largely of the classical derivation. Somehow the relationship between those very distinct parts works. We were asked to build a building right next to 333 Wacker Drive, which did not occupy a unique geometric piece of property, but in fact became more of a continuation of the street wall leading up to 333 Wacker. We elected there to utilize a more Classical language in total juxtaposition to our own 333 Wacker in an effort to try to achieve the continuity of the wall that we thought was necessary, but also to maintain that poignancy of a juxtaposition to 333 Wacker Drive to the rest of the context. It would weaken it tremendously if it had been reproduced next door.

 

The same is true of the Pompidou Centre. If one were to tear down that section of Paris around it and build a number of Pompidou Centers there, it would lose its impact, because ifs impact is an object set within a very careful framing in that traditional neighborhood. Without the dialogue between the two, the game is over.

 


AAL Hqs. building addition (1971), Appleton, Wisconsin


AAL Hqs. original building


AAL rendering

 

COMPETITIONS: Most people seem to believe that 333 Wacker is the best building you have done. Maybe it was the time and unique site. It was one of those projects where one announces, ‘Well, here I am.’ Sometimes it’s difficult to top a wonderful building like that, though you may believe your next building is the one you like best.

 

WP: I think that 333 was a product of my sensibility at that point in time. It was a building that tended tobe an intuitive response to the site. In terms of it language, it came out of a couple of other buildings I had done immediately prior to that—one being the Aid Association for Lutherans in Appleton, Wisconsin, the other being the Brooklyn Criminal Courts Building, which had very similar geometric ideas in terms of its relationship to context. The very conscious attitude of trying to make the tall building part of a larger urban contet preoccupied us for the next five years. As a result, we used a more classical language to try to develop connecting strategies, because a Classical language is largely built on ideas of connection of pieces and parts, one to another…buildings connect well because they have parts that are combined and are part of a central language.

 

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