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: Dattner Architects (Summer 2007)


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Goodwill Games Swimming and Diving Complex, New York, NY (Photo: Peter Mauss/ESTO)


COMPETITIONS: What led you to choose architecture as a profession?

 

RICHARD DATTNER: It’s a little like Dustin Hoffman in the movie The Graduate. I already wanted to be an architect in the seventh grade, when I was building architectural models. When I was in high school, somebody whispered to me “electronics.” “Since architects don’t make money, you should study something that has a real future.” So I actually went to MIT thinking I would become an electrical engineer. I realized you couldn’t see any of those little things zipping around—the electrons, etc. My next door dorm-mates, actually three architects from New York,--Andy Blackman, Peter Samton and Jordan Gruzen, were three years ahead of me and were having a lot of fun—building models, beautiful girls came in and out of their dormitory rooms. I thought, “I’ll have what they’re having.” Luckily, at MIT, the first year is the same for whatever your major will ultimately be; so I switched back to my original love. From there, I never looked back.

 

COMPETITIONS: MIT was different than Harvard when you were there. At Harvard, where they had very strong deans—Gropius and Sert—everything that the students turned out looked pretty much the same. At MIT it was different.

 

RD: MIT was a kind of ‘Let a Hundred Flowers Bloom.’ They had some wonderful people, some of whom were rejects from Harvard, .i.e. Joseph Hudnut, who had been the dean at Harvard. Other great professors included Lewis Mumford, Kenzo Tange, Leonardo Ricci, Georgy Kepes, Richard Filipowski, Lawrence Anderson, etc.

 

COMPETITIONS: What effect did your stay at the Architecture Association in London have on you?

 

RD: During my junior year at MIT, I had an opportunity to take the middle year of my 5-year stay at MIT at the AA. There I had a similarly interesting roster of people—James Stirling and many of the British “brutalists.” It was a good antidote to America. In those days in America, Edward Durrell Stone was the hero, producing a kind of “surface architecture,” which by the way is probably going on today. So what goes around, comes around. When I was in London in 1957/58, London was still recovering from the war—there were still bombed-out sites. So architects were much more brutal and honest—Corbusier was a hero. The London County Council was doing incredible social housing, some of it based on the Unité d’habitation of Corbu. There was a lot of fascinating school design going on. As an interesting time, it was a real kind of antidote to the postwar, feelgood (trend) then current in the United States.

 

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Courtlandt City Hall, Courtlandt, NY - Winning Competition entry, 1976 (unbuilt)

COMPETITIONS: When you started your own firm in New York, you were doing a lot of playgrounds. Is there some kind of logical progression from that genre to designing schools?

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