Colours, Sensations and a Bench in the Sun – Gasteig in Sendling

Colours, Sensations and a Bench in the Sun – Gasteig in Sendling Bringing the Gasteig’s temporary premises to life: (from left to right) architects Tobias Jahn, Julia Grosse-Frie, Anna Mochnac and Georg Glas with their boss Benedikt Schwering Gasteig München GmbH

The conversion of Gasteig’s temporary home in Sendling is taking shape. From autumn 2021, the Gasteig will share the site at number 8 Hans-Preißinger-Straße with artists, studios and craftspeople. The renovation of the former transformer hall »Hall E«, the addition of a range of modular buildings and the interim Philharmonic Hall will completely transform the look of the place. As the final stage of the construction project gets underway, we discuss the theme of »Future« with the Gasteig team of architects.

Picture shows exterior of the Philharmonic Hall
The  Philharmonic Hall stands, interior work has begun.

How long has your team been working on the interior renovation of Gasteig Sendling and what work is being carried out in this final stage of construction?
Our tradespeople started the interior renovation in early 2021. In Hall E, the work started with drywall construction, followed by the painters and fitters, then the final stage is fitting the glass partition walls, floor coverings and curtains. The work in the new Philharmonic Hall started with installing acoustic panels and wallcoverings, then constructing the rear walls of the stage, the floor and the stepped platform in parquet and, finally, fitting the floor covering and seats.

Let’s start with the Philharmonic Hall. What will the interior look like? What kind of atmosphere are you aiming to create and what are the main differences from the current Gasteig Philharmonic Hall?
The interior of the Philharmonic Hall is going to have a completely different look. The large, black-painted wooden panels and horizontal acoustic structures will not only make typical concert goers feel at home, but will also create the ideal experimental and rehearsal space for trying out new formats. While the seats are made from dark wood and grey fabric to underscore the muted atmosphere, the stage floor is light wood to create a sharp contrast and ensure that its occupants are the centre of attention. The architects also wanted to create a strong connection between the audience and musicians within the space – and they have succeeded in this thanks to the shape of the auditorium and the use of transparent elements such as the steel mesh covering the balustrades.

Picture shows wall inscriptions
The original character of Hall E is to be preserved, wall lettering such as this is retained.

When the Sendling site is in use, Hall E will house the city library and the Volkshochschule adult education centre and also act as the entrance foyer for the Philharmonic Hall. Given that the listed status of this historical building means that its industrial look has to be retained, what will the interior look like?
Our priority was to keep the original character of the hall, with all the wounds and battle scars that a transformer hall will acquire during its lifetime, so there was never any question of a renovation featuring a design-oriented concept. Our focus was on handling the existing fabric of the building as respectfully and carefully as possible. We’ve chosen subdued colours as our visitors will bring plenty of colour to Gasteig Sendling. Our colour scheme will also create the perfect backdrop for the fixtures of the Munich City Library, for example, or the bars and restaurants.

Talking of bars and restaurants, is there also a design concept for the catering provision on the new site?
The hospitality provision in Hall E – in other words, the reading café, the catering on the mezzanine floor and the main site on the ground floor – all has one uniform design. This is anchored by the main bar on the ground floor, which reflects the variety of moods within the hall, from the day-to-day operations of the library to classical music concerts in the evening, and is intended as the central meeting point of Gasteig Sendling. The catering in module 1 will be handled by the tenant, so this will have its own individual look.

When will work start on the outside areas; for example, landscaping and creating pathways?
Work on the outside areas will be carried out each time a construction stage is completed, so that can vary, depending on the area of the building. We’ll start on this in the summer and the outside areas will be finished and the site fully accessible by the time it opens in October.

Picture shows the interior of the Philharmonic Hall
The interior construction of the Philharmonie is progressing. The black-coated wooden panels create a unique atmosphere.

Where will people be able to spend time before, after and during events? 
Visitors will be able to choose from a range of options, from the spacious galleries in the Philharmonic Hall to the hospitality areas in Hall E, with the main bar we’ve already mentioned. There are also stepped areas, for example, where they can sit and relax. Outdoors there will be a hospitality deck with a range of seating, as well as benches in the entrance area and in front of Hall E. In summer, visitors to the reading café can enjoy reading in the sun on the terrace, which has the flexibility to be expanded as required.

What ideas and innovations are you all particularly proud of and which experiences will stay with you?
We have delivered a construction project on a historic site that is unbelievably densely packed and we have satisfied a wide range of requirements in the process: renovating a listed building like the transformer hall, constructing the new Philharmonic Hall and the modular buildings and always ensuring that our work integrates with the existing occupants of the site. The result is a unique location that will attract large numbers of people to Munich. Of course, all construction sites throw up challenges that you have to overcome, from overrunning delivery deadlines through to quarantine regulations imposed in a pandemic. But that has only helped us to appreciate the power that good teamwork can produce:  supporting each other, helping each other, working out solutions together. We may have spent a lot of time working under intense pressure, but we never forgot that we are all people with feelings.

Interview/text: Isabella Mair
Photos: Gasteig München GmbH/Kathrin Metzner

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