Weekend Travel: Munich | DE Part 2

One other stadium and two museums. Another three hours and four subway stations.

Yes, I'm not done yet with Munich. Let's revisit what the capital of Bavaria has to offer, and this time I will not only talk about buildings. I went under the shades, slipped between buildings, and lurked underground to discover interesting spaces! 

There are three different arches typology in this photo.

There are three different arches typology in this photo.

There is one mundane door with interesting German pattern

There is one mundane door with interesting German pattern

Sometimes I  feel that I focus too much to check the popular places and did not realize that there are actually a lot of other interesting stuff to examine. And that other stuff are just all around.  With this perception shift in mind, I found all these underground gem throughout the city ready to be admired!

 

1 Stadium

Allianz Arena by Herzog and de Meuron

Okay, I admit that I did not put any hassle on finding this one. However, they only put up this wonderful color only when Bayern Munchen win the match. So, come at the right time!

On the note of the building facade, It was one of the early projects of HdM's stadium that uses ETFE pillow as facade and also roof enclosure. The pillow facade features integrated lighting system that will illuminate each pillow and can be programmed to tune different color accordingly. Therefore the face of the building is always changing, informing out what's happening on the match inside. Allianz Arena was built in 2005, three years before the firm's Bird Nest and Water Cube. The use of rhomboid pattern is pretty clever moves to minimize the amount of module variation needed due to the stadium overall geometry. Along with that, notice the circulation stairs are neatly placed together in parallel to the angle of ETFE pillows. The glow inside the stairs tube adds another layer of depth of view. Brilliant!

 

2 Museums

Brandhorst Museum by Sauerbruch Hutton

Look at that meticulously curated facade!

The building embodies very simple massing strategy and focus more on the curation of color composition of the facade element. Interesting, to see all those color combination of each facade elements in a distance creates a different perception of color.

Reminds me of Van Gogh.

Pinakothek der Moderne Museum

This museum is more like a temple of modern art collection because of its massive scale of the building. Apart from its size, it also features one of the unique displays in museums, the giant teaser wall. It performs as a preview before getting into the actual gallery space. A pretty interesting approach as they architecture scale display then begin to create dialogue with the adjacent spaces. 

The height of the ceiling is utilized to hang large-scale sculpture and to occupy the void as people can observe the sculpture from different levels.

Diagonal axis to break the regularity of gallery organization and provide public space around the irregularity its causing.

Diagonal axis to break the regularity of gallery organization and provide public space around the irregularity its causing.

 

3 Hours and 4 Subway Stations

And it can be done for less than 3 Euros!

xx

U-bahnhof Station  Westfriedhof:  Quirky and night club-like feeling, a bit Phillipe Stark-ish.

U-bahnhof Station Westfriedhof: Quirky and night club-like feeling, a bit Phillipe Stark-ish.

U-bahnhof Station  Sankt Quirin Platz:  Feeling to carve down and through the ground.

U-bahnhof Station Sankt Quirin Platz: Feeling to carve down and through the ground.

U-bahnhof Station  Candidplatz

U-bahnhof Station Candidplatz

Eye candy and colorful space. Feel the gradient color change as you pass through the station by the subway.

Eye candy and colorful space. Feel the gradient color change as you pass through the station by the subway.

U-bahnhof Station  Marienplatz

U-bahnhof Station Marienplatz

Tunnel as if you are getting into the matrix.

Tunnel as if you are getting into the matrix.

 

And for 5...

Equipped with five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.
— Edwin Powell Hubble
 

Keep it going and, onto the next one. Ciao!

Weekend Travel: Stuttgart | DE

The Architectural Battle of Two Automotive Giants

Stuttgart is home of Mercedes Benz and Porsche, some of the most influential carmakers, not only in Germany but also in the world. They were born here, shaped by the city, believe in the city, and committed to the city to make the most out of it. So what's so special about the city itself?

The city of Stuttgart ranked 21st globally in Mercer’s 2015 liveability rankings, and 6th in Germany behind top-ranked cities such as Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Munich. For economic and social innovation, the city was ranked 11th globally, second in Germany after Hamburg and 7th in Europe in 2009 out of 256 cities. Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (many of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the ‘cradle of the automobile’.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttgart
 
Old city map of Stuttgart. Concentric Development on the west side of Necklar River.

Old city map of Stuttgart. Concentric Development on the west side of Necklar River.

 

Okay, that sounds legit. It's one of the wealthiest cities in Germany with well established history and industry. It's a conducive environment for business entities. But it turns out that the whole future trajectory of the city was laid down by these gentlemen, Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler, and Wilhelm Maybach.

The automobile and motorcycle were purported to have been invented in Stuttgart (by Karl Benz and subsequently industrialised in 1887 by Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach at the Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft). As a result, it is considered to be the starting point of the worldwide automotive industry and is sometimes referred to as the ‘cradle of the automobile’.
— https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stuttgart

About Mercedes Benz

The three gentlemen, each has their own automotive company, which are still withhold  a prominent role in the automotive industry nowadays. Karl Benz's has becomes the legendary car brand Mercedes Benz which is known mostly for its luxury car apart from other vehicle such as busses and trucks, Maybach is currently focus on ultra-luxury sedan with Mercedes Benz, and at last Daimler, it's still in automotive industry but not directly manufacturing automobiles. Now known as Daimler AG, the group owns Mercedes Benz and Maybach. See how those are all comes together!

 

About Porsche

Of course we are talking about the man, Ferdinand Porsche. Yes, he is the godfather of VW Beetle, the car for all the people. Porsche 64, one of the first initial Porsche car, was developed in 1939 referencing a lot from the Beetle. Porsche 356, developed in 1954 by Ferry Porsche, son of Ferdinand Porsche, featured air-cooled rear-engine configurations with sleek bodywork set the tone of the company's following line, the legendary 911.  All Porsche's , design car is sleek, light, functional, and efficient.

 

Now let's dive in into the real match between the love child of the two giants.

 

Round 1: Building Overview

Porsche Museum Stuttgart by Delugan Meissl

Porsche Museum Stuttgart by Delugan Meissl

Mercedes Benz Museum by UNStudio

Mercedes Benz Museum by UNStudio

At the left hand side, Porsche Museum with faceted tectonics elevated from the ground.  At the right hand side, Mercedes Benz Museum with fluid mathematical curvature, nicely settled on the ground. A binary contrast between the two buildings, also if compared to each others products.

 
911, a Porsche classic.  Legendary key model that define the brand Porsche.

911, a Porsche classic.

Legendary key model that define the brand Porsche.

G Wagen, a Mercedes Benz classic.  Still being produced until now with almost unchanged exterior design.

G Wagen, a Mercedes Benz classic.

Still being produced until now with almost unchanged exterior design.

 

However, the building tectonics maybe best correlated with the following. Well, somehow...

 
Porsche Design applies their approach on products.sleek, functional, and efficient.

Porsche Design applies their approach on products.sleek, functional, and efficient.

To this Gran Turismo Vision concept car

To this Gran Turismo Vision concept car

 
 

Round 2: Concept

 
Porsche Museum: Elevated mass

Porsche Museum: Elevated mass

Mercedes Benz: Double helix circulation

Mercedes Benz: Double helix circulation

 

Design philosophy that becomes the foundation of both automotive brands really underlies the creation of the two museums. 

Porsche's design philosophy that deals with lightness and efficiency becomes the departure of its architecture. The elevated mass provides interconnected plateaus that conceives the world of Porsche apart from the ground. Reminder, this is not a Corbusian approach. 

Mercedes Benz on the opposing side approaches the design through programmatic organization strategy. Considering the amount of items the museum has, it might be the genius solution appropriate to its needs yet creates unique spatial quality out of it.

 

Round 3: Interior Space

Sterile Delugan Meissl space

Sterile Delugan Meissl space

...that even suitable for fashion show

...that even suitable for fashion show

The majestic void, the heart of the double helix.

The majestic void, the heart of the double helix.

 

Porsche Museum: The Tunnel

Oblique tunnel as visitor ascended to the elevated plateaus of Porsche world.

Oblique tunnel as visitor ascended to the elevated plateaus of Porsche world.

Mercedes Benz: The Void

Look up from the center of the void. Notice the circle in the middle as a device to create artificial indoor storm to evacuate smoke in the event of fire.

Look up from the center of the void. Notice the circle in the middle as a device to create artificial indoor storm to evacuate smoke in the event of fire.

That time capsule that brings you back to early time of the inception of Mercedes Benz.

That time capsule that brings you back to early time of the inception of Mercedes Benz.

Sneak peek of what happens in the gallery plateaus. Custom fire extraction strategy allows the ceiling along the perimeter of the void free from fire separation line. Nice detail!

Sneak peek of what happens in the gallery plateaus. Custom fire extraction strategy allows the ceiling along the perimeter of the void free from fire separation line. Nice detail!

 

Final Round: Conclusion

Tough call. 

Porsche Museum apart from its bold architectural expression, is an engineering marvel in itself. The spatial experience may not be as exciting as Mercedes Benz Museum, but it is what reflects Porsche's brand value. 

Mercedes Benz Museum at its time was very revolutionary in terms of the organizational system and how space generated in that regards. Furthermore, it creates a new kind of museum typology that is unique. To my personal opinion, it does left a certain impression when I visited the museum. It is spatially complex yet offer certain degree of explorative moments as part of the museum journey. 

Am I being subjective? Maybe.. I like Porsche a lot for the car, its boldness, and its structure. But this time my heart goes to Benz.

"The best or nothing".

Architecture and the Christmas Aftermath

Hangover, dizzy, and nauseous is what happen after all those heavy head banging bass thumping new year party. Similar aftermath, what happen with buildings past all those festive celebration?

I traveled from the most east side of Western Europe heading west to the most west point, the end of Europe continent during last Christmas holiday. It was around the Christmas season and I noticed that it's interesting to see all these architecture projects sort of being dressed for this event that most of West European looking forward to the entire year.

 And here is the showdown!

Eclectic decorative element of Palacio de Pena. Such an aftermath

Eclectic decorative element of Palacio de Pena. Such an aftermath


 

Introducing the scoring system. What? Beauty can't be measured. Yes I agree with that. However, this time we need it to measure the success rate of integrating a new parameter in regards to the existing one.

*This is to rate the integration of Christmas tree to the architecture design. NOT to rate the architecture itself.

Concept:       ★★★☆

Aesthetic:      ★☆☆

Composition: ★★★☆☆

 

Berlin

 

Unite d' Habitation

Unite d Habitation by Le Corbusier

Unite d Habitation by Le Corbusier

 
Modularity and composition

Modularity and composition

 

Modular Interplay

The presence of the tree complete the balance of the overall composition that is trying to break away from blatant symmetry. The notion of perfectly mirrored geometrical balance was instilled from the classic architecture. Modernism onwards, is trying to negate the previous statement of architecture which means static stable object. Unite d' Habitation is one of the greatest prototype of modern living, new expression of architecture as a machine for living. A building is no longer to be seen as static but a dynamic physical infrastructure. Even though I see minimum effort to dress the building, the Christmas tree is strategically position to blend. Thus, the gesture really carries out the spirit of its era. 

 

Concept:         ★★☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★☆☆

Composition: ★★★★★

 

Dutch Embassy - OMA

OMA's classic, Dutch Embassy

OMA's classic, Dutch Embassy

 
Negative model of void

Negative model of void

 

Carved Out Mass

The Dutch Embassy building is such a bold statement of Koolhaas on criticizing modern architecture. The building's unusual circulation path indicates his disagreement on a rigid and efficient form follow function approach.  The christmas decoration here is rather unusual as well, instead of focusing to one, it has three trees, the bigger one in the orange washed lobby, two in outdoor terrace above the parking on the left hand side. Seems like this gesture is to question the idea of having single christmas tree as a glorified object but rather to have some placed in the same level as it merges to the same skyline with existing trees along the promenade in front of the building.

 

Concept:        ★★★★

Aesthetic:        ★☆☆☆☆

Composition: ★★★☆☆

 

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

Marie Elisabeth Luders - Stephan Braunfels

 
The continuity of linear building is divided by the river.

The continuity of linear building is divided by the river.

 

On Axis

This building is essentially one very long indoor avenue with 7 stories building blocks on both sides. Very strong definition of central circulation in with organized sub node arranged in linear fashion . Pretty strict and systematic sub-system which can be propagated to create a larger whole. However, the system is interrupted by the crossing of the river that creates public plaza and public program adjacent to it. The Christmas tree is placed in the middle of the avenue along with the axis as a focal point. Its presence then provide resting point for the eyes to focus and breaks the endless continuity of the linear system. Therefore, the Christmas tree without putting much effort, perform as an object to complete the design.

 

Concept:        ☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition: ★★★

 

Bundestag and Reichstag - Foster Partners

Bundestag, and Foster's Reichstag

Bundestag, and Foster's Reichstag

 
 

Off Axis

Bundestag, the parliament building used to be a medieval architecture piece design with strict symmetry in mind. The Reichstag, the transparent dome addition by British architect Norman Foster extent the idea of governmental transparency by letting people access the dome and witness the court process underneath. The addition follows the concurrent symmetrical rigor throughout the building.  Seems like they take a chance in Christmas time to break the symmetry, a single giant Christmas tree is placed on the left side of the front façade.

Concept:         ☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition: ★★☆☆


Porto

Huge christmas tree in front of the city hall of Porto.

Huge christmas tree in front of the city hall of Porto.

There was not many Christmas tree around the city, it's pretty strange considering Porto is known as a very religious city, I was expecting to see more Christmas tree placed here rather than in Berlin actually. However, there is this very big one in front of the city hall. It was pretty cool until I found out it is a standardized Christmas tree that is propagated to all over the cities in Portugal. Booring..

Museu Serralves - Alvaro Siza Viera

Alvaro Siza, Museu Serralves

Alvaro Siza, Museu Serralves

 
 

Central Heart

Museu Serralves doesn't have a proper Christmas tree around. However, the idea of having a reserved space for a huge tree is very beautiful! Siza has played it out to make the tree as part of the essence of design. At a glance, it performs as an entry courtyard to the main museum building and theatre. Other than that, Siza has constructed a sequence of spatial experience to entering the museum. At first, you arrived at a large lawn, and as you follow the straight and narrow path, you walk besides a rather humble building mass which is the museum's theatre, reaching the back and revealing a small inner court where the tree sits. This is the tipping point between void and solid as you enter the museum building and the whole experience becomes indoor with specific view relation towards the outside.

Concept:         ★★

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition:  ★★★★

Installation in Central Room

Installation in Central Room

 

Casa de Musica - OMA

Casa de Musica, another architectural jewel by OMA.

Casa de Musica, another architectural jewel by OMA.

 
 

Object in an Object

Not impressed! 

The winning concept of Casa de Musica is an object that embodied another object inside. However, the Christmas tree in here is yet another object laying around in the in between object space. Cluttered.  In the other hand, it is really hard to complement such a bold conceptual design developed by OMA. The space and the interweave between programs are super interesting, this building is definitely one of my favorite of all time!

Concept:        ★☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★☆☆☆

Composition:  ★☆☆☆

 

Lisbon

 

Paula Rego Gallery - Souto de Moura

The two pyramids becomes the background of huge trees that welcome visitors and lead towards the building entrance.

The two pyramids becomes the background of huge trees that welcome visitors and lead towards the building entrance.

 
 

Grand Entrance

This is one of the latest project by Souto de Moura, the Pritzker winner 2011. Again, this is another project without an actual Christmas tree around. Of course the two pyramids are the most noticeable feature of this building, it also signifies the entry to the building, and this is when it gets really interesting. The architect preserve the existing landscape and trees, and integrate it into the design of the building. The same design strategy of integrating landscape to the building design and yet, the result is almost totally the opposite of Museu Serralves in Porto. Paula Rego Gallaery has one of the most ceremonial entry, Museu Serralves has very humble yet offer different spatial experience.

Concept:        

Aesthetic:        ★★★★

Composition:  ★★★

 
This is not a Christmas tree but it does help to build up the festive mood. The Portuguese blue tile is well represented as a giant snow man. 

This is not a Christmas tree but it does help to build up the festive mood. The Portuguese blue tile is well represented as a giant snow man. 

Gare do Oriente - Santiago Calatrava

Calatrava's Garo do Oriente Station

Calatrava's Garo do Oriente Station

 
Calatrava is one of the modern architects who is using watercolor as a medium for inspiration. ie: Steven Holl

Calatrava is one of the modern architects who is using watercolor as a medium for inspiration. ie: Steven Holl

 

Underwhelming, The Christmas tree is tucked in the lowest  level of the station below all the circulation pathways that criss crosses above it.  I guess the station is already too busy to receive another attention-grabbing object. 

Concept:         ☆☆☆

Aesthetic:        ★★☆☆☆

Composition:  ★☆☆

 

Aftermath After All

Sunrise in Lisbon

Sunrise in Lisbon

At last, having gone through those amazing architecture projects, I will sum up my journey this time with the following conclusion.

As architecture evolve throughout time to define what we call civilization; still, we always look back and mesmerized about the beauty of the old, the ancient. And we look up, it's the nature what provides the ultimate beauty, the form-follow function, the system.

The ultimate beauty, sunset in Cabo da Roca

The ultimate beauty, sunset in Cabo da Roca