Titel: Pinakothek der Moderne. Munich
Autor/en: Melanie Klier
6. Februar 2003 - kartoniert - 96 Seiten
Freely translated, the Spanish phrase buscando la luzmeans 'seeking the light'. It is also the name of a sculpture commissioned specially for Munich from the great Basque sculptor Eduardo Chillida, who died on 19 August 2002. A sensitive, handcrafted statement on the subject of volume and space and the interaction of inside and outside, it is above all one thing: an impressive symbol of Munich's three most important art museums (the Alte and Neue Pinakothek and the Pinakothek der Moderne), and an aptly sited manifestation of the link between tradition and modernity. Three elements of rolled, undulating steel seek the light, an elegant U-shaped arrangement outside the Pinakothek der Moderne soaring eight metres high towards the sky, defying the sheer weight of the material.
This book presents the Pinakothek der Moderne, one of the largest museums in the world devoted to 20th and
21st-century art, housing not one, but four major museums. Occupying the 12,000 m2 of floor space beneath its roof are the former Staatsgalerie moderner Kunst (State Gallery of Modern Art) from the Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen (Bavarian State Collection of Paintings), the Staatliche Graphische Sammlung (State Collection of Prints and Drawings), the Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München (Architecture Museum of the Technical University, Munich) and the Neue Sammlung, Staatliches Museum für angewandte Kunst (New Collection, State Museum of Applied Arts). With a single ticket the visitor has access to a variety of art forms that cater for a wide range of interests and are likely to lead to new discoveries. Having come to experience computer culture or automotive design, you may well find yourself discovering contemporary architecture that may lead you to want to look at the architectural collection too. Video art buffs or fans of Max Beckmann, Pablo Picasso, Cy Twombly or Georg Baselitz might likewise go for a stroll round the Graphische Sammlung to catch a glimpse o
f the full range of high-quality prints and drawings the collection has to offer.
Just imagine everything that has to be borne in mind in order to build a museum for 20th and 21st-century art. Let's take a quick look at a few basic points, starting with the prehistory of the site and the urban planning context.
The site was one of the last undeveloped plots of land in downtown Munich, a block measuring roughly 33,100 m2. The museum is located on the southern part of the block, which lies between Gabelsbergerstrasse, Turkenstrasse, Theresienstrasse and Barerstrasse. The site used to be part of the former Turkenkaserne, a barracks built in 1826 to house the 1st and 2nd Royal Bavarian Infantry Regiments, but destroyed during air raids in the Second World War. Apart from the gateway on Turkenstrasse, none of the buildings is left, for what survived the war was later demolished. To most Munich residents, the southern part of the block was more familiar as an undeveloped site used for parking and later called Roncalli-Platz, because the Roncalli Circus set up its Big Top here between 1977 and 1996.
The design had to take into account that the area is a link between the rectangular grid of the planned Maxvorstadt area of Munich and the irregular street plan of the old city. Moreover the existence of the other cultural institutions in this part of town needed to be acknowledged. From a planning point of view, the positioning of the projected museum relative to the isolated grandeur of the Alte Pinakothek and its setting also needed to be borne in mind.
In the competition for the design of the new building-under these conditions-the key questions asked were: Could a link be created via the new building to the museum ensemble of the Alte Pinakothek and Neue Pinakothek, the Antikensammlung (Antiquities Collection) and Glyptothek (collection of Greek and Roman statuary) on Königsplatz and the adjacent Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus? As a free-standi
ng building should the new museum form an extension of the row of Munich's great museums? Should the Pinakothek der Moderne be oriented to the old city or to the newer area of the Maxvorstadt? Or should it fit in with the mainly residential buildings of the surrounding area? And, last but not least, how should four separate Munich collections, which could hardly be more different from each other, be united under one roof? These four institutions had hitherto been in separate locations, to some extent in rather unsatisfactory accommodation?
A museum building as a work of art: The realisation of the diagonal and the rotunda
These were the questions Munich architect Stephan Braunfels found answers to. His was the design that won first prize from among 167 proposals. His Pinakothek der Moderne, the third largest of the Bavarian art collections in Munich after the Alte and Neue Pinakothek, came up with some impressive solutions.
In an interview, he was asked what the principal ideas were that had influenced his design: 'The key aspect was not, as is always asserted, the diagonal, i.e. opening up the museum on two sides, but the way the huge overall complex breaks down into several separate buildings. Thus the first section of building constitutes the core around which the second section of building can be wrapped in several stages of construction, like a skin.' Opening up diagonally from south-east to northwest was, as he said, much more an opportunity to bring out the internal relationship between the three Pinakotheks without diminishing the central prominence of the Alte Pinakothek.
Nonetheless, the Pinakothek der Moderne can be entered both from the city centre and from the Maxvorstadt side. On the south side, entry to the Museum is via the tall glazed loggia of the conservatory with its café. On the north side, visitors enter the Museum via an imposing pillared hall and glazed lobby. From either entrance, one passes into the spectacular 24.
5-metre-high central hall shaped like a rotunda. This forms the starting point of all 'tours' of the Museum.