The city of Munich faces a challenge related to height. We are talking about the discussion that is on the table regarding the construction of two new skyscrapers as part of the project to modernize the complex of the post office of the city.
It’s an urban project that could solve the requirements of new homes and recreation centers with a modern solution that would lead the city to new spaces of social coexistence with the latest technology that is expected of a city such as Munich.
The Paketpost Areal is an huge building built in the 1960s, dedicated to the reception and distribution of mail packages that will now have a new life thanks to the project developed by the Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron. Aside from the size of the project, which is presented in the midst of a controversy that seemed dormant: a legislation prohibiting the construction of buildings above 100 meters high was issued in Munich in 2004, as a protective measure for the city views or landscapes and the case is that the new Paketpost includes two 155-meter-high skyscrapers. This means the return of a discussion that confronts the most traditionalists is against those who want their city to exhibit high-rise buildings like most modern capitals in the world.
A new giant
The Paketpost building was designed during the 1960s by architects Rudolf Rosenfeld, Herbert Zettel, Ulrich Finsterwalder, and Helmut Bomhard. At the time, it was considered a masterpiece of industrial architecture and one of the most important concrete constructions in the world.
The one that until now remains as the headquarters of the post office, occupying a space of 19,000 square meters, with an impressive curved roof that is the heart of the new project. This beautiful shape has served as inspiration for the new towers that will be built as part of the urban development.
The new face of the Paketpost will include the original building which, after being vacated, will become a huge convention center that will accommodate more than 5,000 people in a fully open space. Also, the current roof will serve as shelter to markets, concerts, exhibitions, and all kinds of cultural, sports and social activities.
The controversial and extremely high towers will be erected flanking the new hall of the Paketpost. They are designed as a pair of convex vaults – in homage to the hall- that will house office and commercial premises on their lower floors, while the upper floors will be occupied by hotels and residences.
A series of courtyard buildings of up to six stories high dedicated to residential and commercial purposes will be built around the complex. Even though these buildings will contrast with the high height of the towers, they will serve to close the complex that will certainly become a vibrant point of life within Munich, not only due to their size, but also for the enviable location: at the entrance of the city and pretty close to the railway tracks and its main station.
Experts on giants
The curve of the ceiling of the Paketpost can accommodate four football fields, which can give a clearer idea of the proportion of this project that could not be entrusted to any studio. For that precise reason, the investor and project developer Ralf Büschl, delegated the task of developing the Master Plan of the urban project to the Swiss studio Herzog & de Meuron. They are known for the construction of large buildings such as the Tate Modern in London or the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg and they have also developed successful projects in Munich such as the football stadium in Freimann and the shopping arcade “FünfHöfe” in the downtown of the city.
For those who are more traditional, the project can represent a problem due to the height of the towers and how this can affect the landscape of the city. However, recent surveys of the city residents indicate very positive results regarding the acceptance of a construction that would completely change the image of Munich, bringing it into the modern era.