State Minister reports in parliament on current situation concerning renovation of Haus der Kunst

On Wednesday, January 25, 2017 State Minister Dr. Ludwig Spaenle (Education and Culture, Sciences and Arts) reported in the Bavarian parliament to the members of the Committee of Sciences and Arts on the current situation concerning the renovation of Haus der Kunst. David Chipperfield, commissioned with the planning of the renovation, and Okwui Enwezor, director of Haus der Kunst, both attended the meeting.

“To my mind, there is a key issue here: What is the Haus der Kunst's position?” said the Minister. “Where does its structural future lie? Where does it stand in regard to history? How are we to handle this? What is its standing with respect to its artistic development as one of the worldwide unique hotspots of contemporary art? And finally: Where does the Haus der Kunst stand with respect to the development of the city landscape? For myself, David Chipperfield architectural practice's design offers the beginnings of the right solution to these central questions, to renovate and repair the building complex and to open up new uses by including the west wing. At the same, the preliminary study offers a huge opportunity for a democratic discussion on the function of the Haus der Kunst, this building weighed down by history, as well as its innovative role today and its future purpose.“

Furthermore David Chipperfield commented: “Our proposals to renovate the Haus der Kunst are unintrusive and can be described under the general description of ‘comprehensive refurbishment and upgrade of the spaces of the building. This work can be further defined in three categories: firstly, repair and renovation; secondly, interventions based on programmatic ambitions of the museum; and finally, modifications to the exterior setting of the building.”

David Chipperfield also addressed the critics of the way the renovation plan deals with the listed building inaugurated in 1937: “The criticism of the current proposals is provoked less by the description of repair and reorganisation to the inside of the building, but by the philosophy of opening the building up to the city through the removal of trees and the general setting of the building. By putting the setting back we are being accused of ‘glorifying the Nazi architecture‘. Here is the point precisely. The removal of trees questions the need to hide the building. We ask whether it is necessary to keep this ‘fig leaf‘ in place any longer.

We don't believe that the building can sit any longer in this ambiguous limbo. How can an institution dedicated to contemporary art, which is - as part of its mandate and its legitimacy - commited to the asking of provocative questions and dealing with moral and social issues (including its own history and that of the society that created it), hide behind the bushes? How can a cultural institution assume growing and substantial significance while at the same time assuming such an uncomfortable physical presence?” 

Okwui Enwezor, Director of Haus der Kunst, foresees three interlocking nodes: Kunsthalle, Universalbühne, and Innovation Institute as the key linchpins of the completed project: “The three nodes will be fully devoted to the incubation, production, and presentation of exhibitions, performances, screenings, public programs as well as hosting research fellowships and artistic residences across the fields of visual art, cinema, contemporary music, choreography, writing, and academic practice. We seek to develop in Munich a unique and attractive platform of ideas for ambitious and daring work with public purpose from across the world.

The renovated Haus der Kunst will further expand and modernize public amenities, offering more options for entertainment, public gatherings, events, meetings and learning spaces for kids, teens, families, students, and teachers.” 

Minister Spaenle supports the necessary renovation of the building. The presentation of David Chipperfield was received positively by the committee. 

A statement from the Bavarian Ministry of Education and Culture, Sciences and Arts can be found in German on its website

© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Ute Zscharnt for David Chipperfield Architects
© Maximilian Geuter
© Maximilian Geuter
Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, exhibition view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi
Mel Bochner, The Joys of Yiddish, exhibition view, Haus der Kunst, 2013, photo Wilfried Petzi

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