Munich goes ahead with new hall

Munich goes ahead with new hall


norman lebrecht

July 13, 2018

The morning after Mariss Jansons pledged the rest of his working life to the city, Munich today contracted the architects for its concert hall – a sure sign that the project will go ahead.

The winning team, Cukrowicz Nachbaur, are Austrians from Bregenz.

There will be two halls, seating 1,800 and 600 respectively.

Here’s how it will look.




  • Caravaggio says:

    Looks fine to me. At the end of the day it is not only the exterior that matters but the quality of the acoustics inside. I am sure they will be superb.

  • Petros Linardos says:

    The exterior reminds me a of an iceberg. But exuisitie interior has good acoustics may trump bad looks. After all, do we want good looking musicians or good musicians? That’s how it went for me in Lucerne. Jean Nouvel’s KKL may be highly regarded, but I strongly disliked it… until I listened to the Lucerne Festival Orchestra under Abbado and forgot about it.

  • Nik says:

    But architects have also been appointed for the new hall in London, and yet it’s far from “a sure sign that the project will go ahead” as there is still no funding.
    Oh, and Nachbaur is a great name for an architect! It could be translated as someone who imitates other people’s buildings…

  • John Borstlap says:

    The thing looks like a shoe box upside-down. It is not a design, but a box avoiding any design. A concert hall is not just a functional space in terms of acoustics and performers and audiences, but has also a strongly psychological element. Modernism however, reduces everything to functionality and the utopian imagery of a mars settlement – as inhumane as possible. But the music that will be played inside this box will for the most part be music from BEFORE the aesthetic onslaught of the last century, so there will be a cultural conflict between the bottle and the wine. And it has an unintentional meaning: such halls isolate the music and creates the context of a museum culture, the opposite of what is needed to keep the art form alive. They don’t bring classical music into the 21st century, but push it back into an ‘inaccessible’ past, as if it is something from another planet – indeed, planet earth and not mars:

  • anon says:

    Germany better contribute its fair share to NATO for its own defense rather than building these superfluous concert halls. And if Putin turns off his oil pipeline, how are Munich and Hamburg going to heat up their spanking new hall? By burning the seats?

    • Saxon Broken says:

      Err…it is a gas pipeline between Germany and Russia.

      And the EU countries spends far more on the military than the Russians. Russia isn’t going to invade anytime soon and would quickly be defeated it they did.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Russia needs the European money so they won’t turn off the gass. If Russia wants to conquer Europe, they would first have to destabilize all the countries so that they cannot act as a whole but waste time with quarrelling among each other. But all of that is only possible if there are rightwing anti-government parties who mobilize folky protests againt the political elite. Then they would have to secretly finance these parties so that they can carry-out effective campaigns with fake news and rallies with banners in the streets. Also, they would have to wage war in the Middle East so that a fugitive stream would head towards Germany, which would then get into trouble – that country being the most important currently in Europe – and feed the populist parties, creating mayhem across the board, and set-up the different ‘Länder’ against each other. Oh, my PA seems to want to tell me something….

  • Von Schneider says:

    Why oh why does modernism shun aesthetic beauty at all costs? Why are almost all arts buildings constructed in the West in the past 30+ years characterised by sharp jutting edges, cold glass or steel panels, and a lack of warmth? I understand that we cannot keep recycling our past in terms of architecture, but I cannot grasp why ornamentation and warmer materials like stone has fallen by the wayside. These buildings are meant to exude civic pride above all and reflect the power and ability of the arts to transport humanity away from the minutia of daily life, inspire us to think great thoughts, and equip us with the skillset necessary to improve mankind. An opera house or a concert hall is not merely a ‘functional’ space, but has a higher purpose that should be manifested in aesthetic beauty above all. An abomination!

    • Nik says:

      That is unduly harsh. Have you visited the Oslo opera house? It has both beauty and warmth in spades, and the dominant materials are stone (outside) and timber (inside). It is magnificent.

      • Don Fatale says:

        I have visited the Oslo opera house, and frankly I found it to be among the least attractive of the many opera houses I’ve been to. Although I did enjoy lingering for a the view and a chat on the roof afterwards, a position where I didn’t have to look at the opera house. Seriously, it leaves me wondering if the average modern person has enough sensibility to know what an ugly building is. Seems to be the case that as long as it’s big, people go “Wow!” Looks like the case with the Munich hall too.

      • Von Schneider says:

        Yes, I am very familiar with the Oslo Opera House. Although I do like the choice of materials in theory, I do not think any non-Norwegian who has visited the house has been blown away by its exterior design. I understand it is supposed to resemble an iceberg, but this vista is only really visible if you are in a boat or on the extreme side of the nearby jetty (which was a derelict post-industrial wasteland last time I was there), whilst the side facing most of Oslo is a rather unattractive blob. Besides, the marble cladding had partially fallen off along the waterline at my last visit and had not fared well with the tough Nordic climate (again, the architects chose Italian marble rather than a more sensible local stone).

    • Just sayin' says:

      Try also the Szczecin Philharmonic Hall. No idea how it sounds, but the exterior (modern, glass) is splendid, especially on dark and rainy days, at dusk, or after sunset.

      • Von Schneider says:

        Can you honestly say you find this building beautiful from an aesthetic point of view? Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder but Jesus Christ….

    • John Borstlap says:


      But also true: architectural languages can be ‘recycled’ infinitely if they are useful for any purpose and the grammar is flexible enough to offer enough space for personal interpretation. The architectural language of classicism, for instance, was invented ca. 400 BC, and ‘recycled’ – i.e. applied for many different purposes and with many variations and extensions – until ca. 500 CE, when, during the implosion of the Roman world, it went underground and resurfaced again in the 15th century in Italy, later-on spreading all over the western world until ca. the twenties and thirties of the last century, until the Bauhaus white squares seemed much better than the Parthenon, and after Adolf Loos had condemned ornamentation as a ‘crime’. And nowadays this grammar is appearing again in the anglosaxon world as a ‘new classicism’. In the USA there are institutions dedicated to classical new architecture, which is increasingly successful. An example of a cultural language symbolizing humanism and the dignity of man, and the greatness of human invention and creativity.

      A plastic shoe box showing all the invention it could master, is deeply embarrassing in comparison. ‘Recycling the past’ at least gives us something of quality.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Such hybrid monstruosities are never successful, they merely demonstrate the profound abyss between traditional building and the new varieties. This is not merely a difference in style, but something much more fundamental: a difference of genre.

      The architect Steven Semes has written about this difference in connection with restoration projects: ‘The Future of the Past’. In preservation and extensions of historic buildings the modernist prejudices reveal their ignorance about architectural context to the full.

      • MacroV says:

        The Louvre expansion by I.M. Pei? The new Reichstag? Two that come to mind.

      • Jack says:

        Where’s Albert Speer now that we really need him?

        • John Borstlap says:

          Nice to bring-up the postwar clichée that anything from before Hitler is responsible for the war and is thus implicated in atrocity. Hitler was a vegetarian, so all vegetarians cultivate a secret sympathy for fascism (you can see that in their eyes).

  • Walt says:

    South vs. North- they are trying to compete with that monstrosity that was built in Hamburg. I’ve,er,been there.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Is that the Hacker-Pschorr logo you can see behind the glass!