The architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners (gmp) have won the competition for the continuing development of the Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus in Freising, Germany. The winning entry for the conversion and extension of the educational center is respectful of the traditional ensemble in this prominent position. The architecture nevertheless makes a confident contemporary mark, and creates new high-quality spaces and interiors, benefiting the surroundings.
The Domberg hill at Freising is the town’s landmark, visible from afar, an architectural ensemble that has grown over centuries. At its highest point – next to Mariendom – lies the educational center of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, the Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus – a place for conferences, seminars, as well as concert and theater performances. The existing building consists of two main parts – the four-wing tract of the former prince-bishop’s residence and an extension building to the west dating from 1960, which was to be replaced by a new building as part of the competition brief.
The design responds to the complex requirements with a simple, basic concept – two building wings with east-west orientation accommodate the guest rooms and link up with the existing building, providing space between them for a large hall with staircase. The L-shaped offset of the tract to the north improves the spatial effect and visibility of the Diocesan museum by opening up space on the outside for a terraced open area. In this way, visitors are directed to the new forecourt, which is bounded towards the south-west by one of the oldest buildings on the Domberg, the former archive building of St Andreas.
Visitors entering the new building through the building-high glass facade get an immediate impression of the clear layout of the building. The glazed hall with its wooden wall paneling generates an intimate, warm atmosphere, and provides a spectacular view out. The staircase has been designed with steps for seating to double up as a miniature grandstand. It replicates the natural topography of the Domberg on the inside, and leads directly to the courtyard of the existing building, and from there through a series of spaces through to the Domplatz. The existing building will be carefully modified and, following a few minor adaptations, will provide barrier-free access.
The representative side of the new building towards the west is determined by the high gable walls of the two building volumes. Together with the former archive building, on which are based the roof slope and proportions, this creates an archetypical triad. This identity-creating motif is replicated in the facades, which blend with the overall ensemble in terms of material, color and structure.
By redesigning the Kardinal-Döpfner-Haus in these sensitive surroundings, the architectural story of the place will continue, adding a piece of contemporary architecture that is neither nostalgic nor contrasting, but which picks up the dialogue with its surroundings on the Domberg and in the town of Freising.
Location: Freising, Germany
Area: 15,337 sqm
Design: Meinhard von Gerkan and Stephan Schütz with Nicolas Pomränke
Project leader: Tobias Keyl
Team: Konstantin Greune, Rosaria de Canditiis, Dimitri Philippe, Jan Peter Deml, Thilo Zehme,
Thomas Muncke, Giuseppe Malfona, Aleksandra Kuzminska
Client: Erzdiözese München und Freising/Erzbischöfliches Ordinariat München