The project expands the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, built in 1876, and is also meant to be a conceptual renewal. The open configuration of buildings produces a sequence of transitory connecting spaces between the park and urban spaces. Main elements are the glass facade, the gate to the Academy, the inner court, and the studio terraces.
Diagonal ramps and gangways connect the functional areas of the various parts of the building and thus the different departments. In this way, an energized complex is created, which corresponds ideally to the diversity of creative activity. The art school extension houses painting studios, sculpture studios, a media workshop, photography studios and a print workshop.
The studio for sculptors lies on the ground floor and spans across terraces to the park; those of the painters and the guests are in the upper studio floors and are connected to the roof terraces. Workshops are located in all parts of the building. The meeting room and the rector’s offices are connected to the administrative section by means of an open gangway.
By covering the central inner court with a roof, an additional space is created. The inner court opens up through a glass facade to the city in the south and to the park in the north. The café in the inner court is oriented towards the city over the south terrace.
Coop Himmelb(l)au’s design concept is based on the idea of transforming the three different urban spatial systems which come together on the site. Those are the axial system of Leopoldstraße / Akademiestraße containing its stately buildings, the structure of Schwabing, developed over time into small-scale, differentiated buildings, and the garden areas of Leopoldpark and Akademiegarten which hold historical trees under landmark conservation. The resulting open configuration of buildings locked together produces a sequence of transitory connecting spaces between the park and urban spaces: the glass facade acting as a media membrane, the gate to the Academy, the inner court, the studio terraces functioning as both the connecting link to the park and the gate to the park. This configuration then takes on differentiated relationships to the exterior spaces.