Extension of Works 1.4 founder centre Munich
Hild und K Architekten
From potato-flake production to start-up scene
The trendy Works Quarter right to the east of Munich’s Ostbahnhof railway station was for many decades the home of ready-to-serve foods producer Pfanni. The company launched its potato powder from there in 1949 and in the process helped revolutionise the sector. Though its Munich works was closed down in 1996, the site is still buzzing with life. The area underwent an eventful transition to its present Works Quarter status.
It housed legendary Munich clubs in its interim role as the Kunstpark Ost arts centre. Then the Kultfabrik club became a popular venue for nightlife there. And for several years now the site has been evolving into a versatile place in which to work, live and spend one’s free time. Premises for events, catering, the retail and hotel trades, art and culture, sport, and leisure-time pursuits jostle with a variety of office facilities.
Pop-up containers and sheep grazing on rooftops add further facets to the location’s profile. And it has plenty to offer from an architectural point of view, too. “Works 12” by MVRDV won the German Architecture Museum Prize in 2021. The building has long since assumed iconic status on account of the larger-than-life illuminated letters on its façade that form exclamations such as »AAHHH«, »OH« and »PUH«. The Hild and K architects’ practice has already designed several buildings for the quarter.
Architecture and Object
“If we pause to imagine Works 1.4 as a person,” Hild and K muse, “then first and foremost as a gifted mediator at the interface between private accommodation and public entertainment, between the site’s past and its future, and equally between its various functional requirements.”
Harnessing the architectural idiom of postwar modernism
The Works 1 facility repurposed by Hild and K was Pfanni’s very first production centre. Now, fledgling companies are assisted here with affordable office spaces, networking and coaching. Completion of the Works 1.4 extension has yielded additional work spaces as well as residential units for founders inclusive of co-living spaces. A public passage doubles up as a meeting place and an axial route within the quarter. The architects drew on the typology of the counting houses of old to come up with a flexible overall entity that caters to 13 different forms of use ranging from a collection centre for reusable waste through open-plan officing to apartments.
Both the architects and their clients were intent on preserving the location’s character and an architectural idiom rooted in postwar modernism. The façade derives its visual identity from glossy bright yellow tiles and matt-brown masonry. The brass profiles of the large-format windows echo the intricately glazed façades of the 1950s. Parts of the surfaces of the filler panels in the building’s reinforced-concrete skeleton have been left untreated in a nod to the location’s industrial history. That is also the case where the interior is concerned – most notably the twin-storey lobby, a hall whose geometry and the materials it incorporates breathe the spirit of the works fitter's shop that once stood in its place.
Resort was had to FSB 1106/1043 lever handles for the building’s façade and tubular-frame doors. Doors and windows in the bathroom pods for the residential units were fitted with FSB 1106 levers. “We opted for a ‘Satin Anodised Aluminium’ finish with a view to approximating as closely as possible to the thematic thrust of the neighbouring Works 1 built in the 1960s,” is how Hild and K explain the thinking behind their design. “Formally speaking, we selected a classic door lever that really does nestle nicely in the user’s hand. From a technical point of view, the architecture’s longevity is of great importance to us. We regard FSB as being a byword for products that are of supreme quality and are hence sustainable.”
Photos: Michael Heinrich