More than a concert hall

Michael Ende wrote the Neverending Story in Munich, which he certainly did manage to finish. The quest for a concert hall almost appeared to turn into a sequel, which would have taken the title literally … until salvation was brought with the mail. A fairy tale with a happy ending?

Completely unnoticed by the public, a masterpiece of concrete architecture led a lonely existence in seclusion – despite being located only two-and-a-half kilometers away from the main train station; however, now the parcel post hall has awoken from a deep sleep, just as Sleeping Beauty once did. The Prince in this case is the Free State of Bavaria, which has been searching for years – with a growing sense of urgency – for a new concert hall. Because extensive reconstruction of the Gasteig is scheduled to commence in 2020 and that means two of the city’s world famous orchestras would depend on the Herkulessaal, which is limited in many respects, and would otherwise be virtually homeless.

A roof provides, not only in a metaphorical sense, the impressive vault, as well as three fundamental advantages. Firstly: that it already exits. Secondly: through the extraordinary and at the same time useful aesthetics, it offers the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (English: Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra) and the Münchner Philharmonikern (English: Munich Philharmonic Orchestra) an extremely suitable setting. Thirdly: it has what it takes to become a new Munich landmark and is situated precisely where some of the most intensive urban planning momentum is currently taking place.

On this page you will find details pertaining to this project, which in turn illustrate that it is just as fairytale-like as it is realistic.

We hope you find it interesting and look forward to a great response.

Munich’s unknown dome

Deutsche Post’s former parcel post hall is nestled between the wide track bed that runs westwards from the main train station and Arnulfstraße, right before Friedenheimer Brücke. This structure is equally astonishing and impressive. The 145 m wide, 30 m high and 124 m long vault is composed of 1582 pre-cast concrete units and was built during the years 1965-1969 by the architects Rudolf Rosenfeld and Herbert Zettel, together with Ulrich Finsterwalder and Helmut Bomhard, as well as Paul Gollwitzer who was responsible for the structural engineering.

Deutsche Post had the roof, which due to its form was referred to as the »parcel dome«, erected using the barrel method of construction, thus enabling the direct dispatching of parcel trains on the 15 tracks below – at that time the railroad was still the chosen means of transport. This changed by the end of the 1990s and Deutsche Post abandoned the tracks and had a mail sorting center erected underneath the hall roof.

Sustainability, monument protection and acceptance

With the project »Die Resonanz« (English: “The Resonance”) a second kind of rezoning will take place – this time no longer internally, but for use on behalf of the Bavarian state capital. The spectacular plane load-bearing structure, at that time the largest of its kind worldwide, offers a decisive advantage: it is already there.

While this may sound trivial, it translates into three key assets: more sustainability and responsibility on the one hand – after all, not everything has to be torn down and rebuilt. In addition, there is the synergy with monument protection, in terms of linkage to the necessary building maintenance. Last but certainly not least, an aspect that should not be underestimated – the significantly higher degree of potential for acceptance. While newly constructed buildings have the potential to prompt discussions amongst the traditionally critical population – there have been several discussions about the Gasteig that is not very beloved to this day, which will certainly not take place this time. On the contrary, the citizens of Munich will receive a treasure that they can be proud of for the second time.

A unique opportunity

Those responsible at Deutsche Post AG endorse the project and have already indicated to investors (see below) that they would consent to a sale. The relocation of the mail sorting center will take place as rapidly as possible, the search for a suitable alternative site is already well underway. This should by no means be taken for granted.
It has been made clear that this decision is connected to the use as »Die Resonanz«. If the concert hall project is not implemented after all, then the exceptional hall will continue to be used as a mail sorting center and remain closed to the public for an indefinite period of time. Therefore, in addition to all the other music-specific advantages, »Die Resonanz« represents a unique opportunity to reclaim a historic building for Munich.

Ideal location

»Die Resonanz« enjoys a particularly favorable location due to a number of reasons. First of all the fact that it is in very close proximity (a five-minute walk) to the station »Hirschgarten«, which is part of the main S-Bahn line. Furthermore, the bus stop for bus line 62 and the stop for trams 16 and 17 are currently just a two- or six-minute walk away, respectively. Of course this is the existing situation and by no means an attempt to anticipate the planning on the part of the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (English: Munich Transport Company), which will most likely respond to the increased use.

Arrival by car or coach is extremely uncomplicated as well: heading on the freeways from Salzburg and Nuremberg via Mittlerer Ring and Arnulfstraße, the freeways from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Lindau via Fürstenrieder Straße and Friedenheimer Brücke and the freeway from Stuttgart via Verdi-, Menzinger- and Arnulfstraße.
Another positive aspect is the close proximity to the main train station and the central bus station as well as the Pasing train station. While this represents an immediate advantage for those traveling by train, there is the added perspective importance as well, since the mobility trends of the future indicate train stations will play a key urban role.

A different kind of east-west conflict

If one considers the distribution of the most important cultural institutions in Munich, at first glance it becomes evident that in addition to the expectedly high concentration throughout the city center, there is a significant incline heading towards the east, while there is an enormous gap in the west between Kunstareal (which should actually be attributed to the city center) and the »lone wolfs« Schloss Nymphenburg or Pasinger Fabrik located on the periphery.

Due to its significance »Die Resonanz« achieves a balance, thereby providing Munich with a kind of cultural symmetry – especially considering the fact that the Gasteig and »Die Resonanz« are situated in the same distance from the train station – or more precisely: within the same proximity.

Cultural reference point for new residential areas

The extremely dynamic expansion of the city center towards the west – from the Hackerbrücke to the Hirschgarten – is one of the most remarkable urbanism processes in recent years. This is where »Die Resonanz« would tie in with an earlier phenomenon: namely that expansion of the city is frequently connected with the building of new cultural institutions, such as Pinakothek, Glyptothek, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Gärtnerplatztheater or Prinzregententheater.

Thanks to the »Resonanz«, the new residential areas located at key railway sites in the west of Munich will receive a cultural reference point that has been lacking thus far. Furthermore, due to its striking architecture and international relevance, this will certainly have an identity-establishing impact.

Under the banner of feasibility

»Die Resonanz« is a visionary project. However, it is by no means utopian, but rather very realistic.

Deutsche Post AG has, as already indicated, ensured that it will sell the entire premises for the project and is currently holding talks with those offering alternative sites, in order to enable a timely relocation process.Since the vault enables the implementation of construction work in the winter as well, there is nothing that argues against a swift time schedule with the ground-breaking ceremony in 2017 and opening in 2020.

The building’s existing architecture is sound in terms of the structural aspect and given its dimensions, provides sufficient space and room for a concert hall that would accommodate 1,900 visitors and additional music halls. Corresponding preliminary studies have confirmed this. Furthermore, the premises offer enough space for additional buildings and uses in the sense of a »City of Music«. If the state parliament and governor are in favor of the project »Die Resonanz« following the last caucus before summer break, the next step is to conduct an extensive feasibility study that will be finished at the latest by November 2015.

The financing

Through the involvement of a private investor the concert halls will strain the public budget to a significantly smaller extent, as compared to a sole implementation by the Free State of Bavaria. Initiator and investor is Bayerische Projekt Beteiligung GmbH (BPB), in which »Mathias Niemeier Property Makers« and »Michael Dankerl Bau GmbH« are each involved with 50 percent respectively; and is represented by the partner Mathias Niemeier.

The public-private partnership has presented the following plan: BPB purchases the premises referred to as »Sondergebiet Post«, upon which the hall stands, as well as the adjacent plots from Deutsche Post AG (or the pension fund of Deutsche Post AG, which is the owner according to the land register). A development plan procedure will be initiated and BPB will build the concert halls. An operating company initiated and managed by BPB will implement the utilization concept on an operational level. In the long term, the premises will be passed over the Free State of Bavaria, which will conclude a 50-year lease agreement for the concert halls with the operating company.

The investor is supported by a group of initiators and professional consultants: Andrea Gebhard (Office Mahl-Gebhard-Konzepte Landschaftsarchitekten), the architect Joachim Jürke (Juerke Architekten BDA), the lawyer Josef Nachmann (Nachmann Rechtsanwalts GmbH) and the real estate expert Konstantin Wettig (KW Real Estate). They are not just investors – all of those involved in the project reside in Munich, which underlines how deeply rooted the »Resonanz« is in the Bavarian state capital.

A new hall, a new venue

A huge concert hall for 1,900 people and several smaller halls will emerge underneath the impressive vault. As a result, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks will receive its own suitable hall – the third largest built in Europe since 2000. And the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks can avoid the Gasteig while reconstruction measures are underway, the same applies to all the concert promoters.

But that is not all. A comprehensive utilization concept is aimed at making the areal come alive: cafés, and restaurants, shops and rooms for cultural events create a framework that will not only attract concert goers and, in doing so, will transform the new hall into a welcome new neighbor instead of a foreign object.

This is supported in terms of urban planning as well. Public and semi-public places are created, a venue for everyone in the district and to the same extent a new piece of city – an urban complex for art and culture, which integrates its musical focus into a broad concept. Following this, the site was able to be directly purchased, therefore the expected completion of »Die Resonanz« is scheduled for the end of 2020.

More than a concert hall

Interest of renowned architects throughout the world

It is a well-known fact that Munich shines. And »Die Resonanz« will help it shine even brighter. This is already clear today, since several of the most reputable architects of our time – such as David Chipperfield from London, or Nieto Sobejano from Madrid – have already visited the premises and were quite interested in the project.

A substantial, aesthetic, cultural and social revitalization of the location

They were also impressed by the special aesthetics of this masterpiece of concrete architecture that combines the boldness of the construction together with sheer beauty. The fact that this originated from a purely functional, ultimately useful purpose, makes »die Resonanz« all the more appealing.

Masterpiece of concrete architecture

The concept illustrates an exemplary approach, of using »resource architecture«, its »energy and potential saved in the structural fabric of the building.« (M. Petzet). It is about, reviving a place – substantially, aesthetically, culturally and socially. In doing so, the Free State of Bavaria embraces a trend that is committed to handling that which already exists in a responsible manner. »Die Resonanz« is the opposite of constructing some egocentric solitary structure and constitutes a clear departure from the obsolete idea of a » star architect existence«.

A new, unmistakable landmark of international renown for the music capital Munich

Therefore, »Die Resonanz« will become a landmark in two ways: as a visible icon, whose architectural excellence mirrors that of the music and as a symbol for an approach. There is hardly any other place in the world where the striking combination of tradition and modernism can be expressed in such a convincing manner as it is in Bavaria’s capital city.


CAMPO Projekt Entwicklungsgesellschaft, München

CAMPO Projekt Entwicklungsgesellschaft, München

Bayerische Projekt Beteiligung GmbH

Beratung und Planung
mahl.gebhard.konzepte, Landschaftsarchitekten und Stadtplaner BDLA, München
jürke architekten bda, München
Nachmann Rechtsanwalts GmbH, München
KW Real Estate, München

Nachmann Rechtsanwalts GmbH, München

Phaenom GmbH, München

Am Projekt Beteiligte


Kapazitäts- und Nutzungsstudien
actori cee GmbH, München

Technische Fachberatung
Akustik: Müller BBM, München
Statik: Sailer/Stepan, München
Bauphysik: IB Hausladen, München
Brandschutz: Sacher Ingenieure und Sachverständige, München

3D-Modellierung und 3D-Druck
Phaenom GmbH, München

Konzeptionelle und gestalterische Begleitung Architektur & Städtebau

Gestaltung der Printmedien

Bildnachweise (unsortiert)
CAMPO Projektentwicklungsgesellschaft
jürke architekten
Stefan Müller-Naumann
Google Maps
Sigrid Neubert
Phaenom GmbH