A New Building Quarter Carved in Stone: Schwabinger Tor in Munich
“With the urban architecture and mixed uses of Schwabinger Tor, we want to show that Schwabing does not end at Münchener Freiheit” is the declared aim of the owners, the Jost Hurler Gruppe. With 89,000 m² of above-ground area and three 14-storey high-rises, the area can truly not be overlooked. Apart from the 200-plus apartments, 50 attractive offices, a 5-star hotel and a diverse range of unconventional restaurants as well as individual shops and services, the district significantly stands apart from other new quarters because of its materials; the façades are of large-format natural stone and massive, prefabricated elements.
The nearby Siegestor [Victory Gate] served as inspiration: it features the Bavaria quadriga, the neoclassical façades on both sides of Ludwigstrasse and Leo von Klenze’s Ludwigskirche.
The urban design was prepared by 03 Architekten, who prevailed against international offices such as Foster and Partners in the competition. The entire area, with its nine buildings, is connected via a shared underground parkade and supply logistics system. Altogether, 57,000 m² were built underground by ATP architekten ingenieure. The north apartment building, designed by Max Dudler, is clad with Trosselfels limestone, while the oblique window casements, which have a roughened surface, accentuate the textured quality of the stone. The window profiles are concealed behind the casement stones, creating a somewhat abstract overall image. In contrast, Dudler’s southern residential tower is clad with prefab elements of gleaming white ashlar whose corner avant-corps on the ground floor assumes the shape of an imposing megalith.
Hilmer & Sattler und Albrecht designed the façades of the hotel in natural stone with openings that play with delicate pilaster strips and raised frames. In order to avoid excessive uniformity in the design, one of the buildings is clad in natural stone with a tectonic appearance, while 03 Architekten have set large-format, white prefab concrete components between the storeys of their two structures. The sculptural, undulant surface is reminiscent of room-high curtains. The façade by Hild und K dances out of step. As deliberately atectonic ornamentation, the architects have distributed the brickwork pattern over their concrete elements, whose seams cover the horizontal divisions between the storeys.
Although the individual interpretations of the stone façade contribute to the diversity of this grouping, the overall concept of a horizontal mix of uses connects six of the nine buildings: with the exception of the two tracts of the hotel and a structure devoted only to offices, each ground floor is home to shops and restaurants. The three levels directly above accommodate offices, followed by apartments on the higher levels, which are better lit. Moreover, the correspondingly different heights of the storeys underscore the variety within the uniformly stone district.
The robust, massive building shells make a decisive contribution to the elegant charisma of the Schwabinger Tor area. The façades can easily be cleaned with a steam jet; no further maintenance costs are expected for the foreseeable future.
The typically Schwabing ambience intended by the owners, the Jost Hurler Gruppe, is difficult to detect. Stony Schwabinger Tor is more evocative of stony Berlin or metropolitan architecture of the 1930s.