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: Joe Valerio (Fall 2004)


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North Point Competition model, Cambridge, Massachusetts (2003)

 

COMPETITIONS: As has been case with many architects, your career got a very big boost by virtue of winning a competition — Colton Palms Senior Apartments. Was that the very first competition you participated in?

 

VALERIO: No. It wasn’t the first, and it wasn’t the last. It was interesting in that we won, and also won a PA Design Award for it and an AIA Honor Award for the project when it was finished. It covered the gamut of awards that one could win with a project. And it got built almost exactly the way it was designed for the competition.

 

COMPETITIONS: Was the competition open or invited?

 

VALERIO: It was open, and there were about 140 entries from around the world. There were five finalists in the 2-stage competition, and we were selected at the end of the second stage.

 




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COMPETITIONS: Do you recall who ran that competition?

VALERIO: Michael Pittas, who did a very commendable job. The two key jurors were Rob Quigley and Don Lyndon. In hindsight, it was one of those things where all the stars were alligned and there was a very dynamic city manager (Frank Benest). This was his first job as city manager. He went on to become city manager in Brea, California, a wealthier suburb. Now he is city manager of Palo Alto. He recently said to me that one thing he was always trying to get communities to do was to invest in their downtowns. ‘Here in Palo Alto, nobody wants any more investment in downtown.’ Frank was very innovative, in that he used the competition process to get something to happen that probably could not have happened any other way. California in the early 90s had a law which said that, ‘if you set up a redevelopment district, you could capture the increase in real estate tax revenue in that district and use it to help finance the development.
   So it was a kind of bootstrap sort of approach called tiff financing, which is very popular all over the U.S., including in Chicago. You have to set aside 20% from that funding mechanism for
affordable housing. So everybody set up these greenbelt districts and this set-aside fund. But nobody wanted affordable housing, because affordable housing equated with subsidized housing. It didn’t matter that the people that really wanted to use the affordable housing were seniors from the community who didn’t want to leave, or policemen or firemen who couldn’t afford to live in communities they were serving. People were just against affordable housing.

 

Colton Palms Apartments (Competition winner 1988) Colton Palms, California
Photo: courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train
Colton Palms Apartments (Competition winner 1988) Colton Palms, California


So Frank came up with the idea, if he could create enough buzz about the project and really make it into this event, he could get the city to build affordable housing projects. It turned out that they had an abandoned grocery store in their old downtown area, which covered most of a city block. The city had taken control of the property. So he had the money and the set-aside. He had this piece of property which had to be redeveloped; but he couldn’t get the city to just do it. So he came up with this idea of doing a competition, hired Michael Pittas to organize it, and it worked. There was all this publicity and notoriety; this competition was like a city festival. It was a very public event where people showed up for the presentations. So not only was it an architectural event; but it had a real social underpinning that was really admirable. Without that mechanism, I doubt if Frank would have been successful.

 

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3Com office and production facility, Rolling Meadows, Illinois  Photos: courtesy Valerio Dewalt Train Associates


COMPETITIONS: In retrospect, would you have any clues as to why you won?

 

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