31.05.1999

Administration Building of Max Planck Society in Munich

Foto: Frank Kaltenbach

Situated in a prime position at the historical heart of the city between the palace, the former royal stables and coach house (by Leo von Klenze), the Bavarian State Chancellery and the Court Gardens, the building goes some way to repairing the wartime bomb damage suffered in this area. The urgency of the development resulted in a division of the competition, held in 1993, into two parts – one for the urban planning, the other for the actual building design. This inevitably led to a conflict of interests. Furthermore, in view of the location, many of the authorities involved expected a historicist approach. Only at the urging of the Max Planck Society was the prize-winning scheme implemented. It consists of two six-storey U-shaped volumes, the one enclosed at an angle within the other. The inner tract is aligned with the Klenze building, the outer tract with the palace and chancellery. Housed in the triangular glass-roofed hall spaces between the two volumes are the main circulation routes. This open hall concept necessitated external fire escape routes, which are visually screened by the outer skin of the two-layer façade. The reflecting surfaces and the regular horizontal divisions of the homogeneous planar façade help to overcome the leap in scale to the surrounding buildings. At the same time, the various layers of the façade lend it a sense of depth that extends as far as the maple-clad corridor walls. The outer skins also act as a climatic buffer and as a screen against traffic noise.
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