the 2017 design competition for munich’s newest concert hall has announced not only the winner, but also the honorable mentions to highlight the impressive schemes submitted by other competitors. four internationally known firms have received this title: zaha hadid architects, henning larsen architects, mecanoo, and christ & gantenbein. the competitors were asked to design a structure that could comfortably house two auditoriums, one larger and the other smaller, educational facilities, offices, and commercial spaces. the multi-functional building has been designed to sit within the specific context of one of munich’s more industrial neighborhoods. each project fulfills the function of the spaces while integrating a variety of creative elements.

munich concert hall
zaha hadid architects’ façade seems to dematerialize to expose a sweeping glass surface
image courtesy of zaha hadid architects (main image)

 

 

zaha hadid architects proposed a scheme composed of cylindrical elements that effortlessly curve and meld into one another. praised for its individual style and strong metallic features, the skin wraps around the entire façade — designating the structure as one monolithic body. surrounding the entrance off the open public square, the facade seems to dematerialize to expose a sweeping glass surface and the entrance foyer, within. the design for the main concert hall highlights the importance of quality interior acoustics, while establishing an overall, visually pleasing atmosphere. however, the jury did remark that the design may lack the necessary room to accommodate an optimal number of seats.

munich concert hall
ZHA’s main concert hall perches above the small concert that sits below
image © hans-joachim wuthenow

 

 

henning larsen architects took an different approach to the placement of the two auditoriums in its scheme — placing the auditoriums on opposite sides of the structure and consequently diminishing the priority of the interior foyer. the building’s shape utilizes areas of the open site as transitional spaces between the interior and exterior. the strong, geometric façade is made up of a culmination of materials such as corten steel, copper, and aluminum. the design was praised for its overall aesthetics and the structure’s ability to complement the surrounding architecture and the feel of the industrial area. 

munich concert hall
henning larsen architects’ proposal covered the façade in copper and aluminum
image courtesy of henning larsen architects

 

 

mecanoo designed a staggered level structure with brass elements on the façade. almost classical and romantic in its appearance, the structure sits isolated on the site like a sparkling jeweled box — the great hall at its center. the interior auditorium mimics features on the exterior with patterned similarity. the seating in the main auditorium encircles the central space in tiered balconies that stay tight to the walls, camouflaging into the body of the space. a sweeping ceiling acoustic element above the stage and floor seats becomes a major focal point in the space. 

munich concert hall
the geometric interior of the concert hall contains a series of protruding balconies
image courtesy of henning larsen architects

 

 

christ & gantenbein’s design embodies the idea of a german werkviertel, a ‘work temple’ for music. the unified, single layer façade is broken by the main entrance, further enhancing its position and allowing it to  function as the mouth of the building. the entrance foyer is home to a monumental staircase, which highlighs the importance of a strong circulation plan. the placement and sheer size of the main spaces leave little room for the long list of additional amenities including the restaurant, cloakrooms, and classrooms. many of these rooms are pushed to the building’s interior and potentially lack access to natural light sources. unlike the other designs, the main auditorium was designed as a shoebox-like rectangle, following the strong geometric nature of the exterior.

munich concert hall
the structure took up nearly the entire site plan, leaving less space for a public square
image © hans-joachim wuthenow

munich concert hall
the jewel box sites at the center of the site with the great hall at its center
image courtesy of mecanoo

munich concert hall
a sweeping ceiling acoustic element above becomes a major focal point for the space
image courtesy of mecanoo

munich concert hall
the interior auditorium mimics features on the exterior with a patterned similarity
image © hans-joachim wuthenow

munich concert hall
christ & gantenbein’s design embodied the idea of a german werkviertel, a ‘work temple’ for music
image courtesy of christ & gantenbein

munich concert hall
the main auditorium was designed as a shoebox-like rectangle, following the harsh geometries of the exterior
image courtesy of christ & gantenbein

munich concert hall
the entrance foyer is home to a monumental staircase, highlighting the importance of a strong circulation plan
image © hans-joachim wuthenow

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