scenographical project hotel shabbyshabby | mannheim

the task


The competition in 1952

Horst Linde and Hans Schwippert saw then, in 1952, as reviewers of the architectural competition for the new ‚NTM _National Theatre Mannheim‘ clearly, that Mannheim’s political authorities suddenly hold, with Mies van der Rohe’s proposal, an unexpected, indeed historic opportunity in their hands:

Linde: ‚The far most strained version offered the suggestion of Professor Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ... This theatre will function as an unifying forum of modern society. ... The uniqueness of this design is the fulfillment of a higher human sense of living through conscious use of all spatial possibilities. People move and experience sovereign in these rooms.‘

And Schwippert’s speech at the Theatre Committee concludes with the words : ‚… The awesome work of Mies is more. Mies is to be realized. I must remind you that this man is the greatest living German architect, he is an architect of international standing.‘

As we know today, the final jury’s decision was negative for Mies: He was excluded from the second stage of the competitive process and the theatre finally was realized by an architect, who did not even participate in the first stage of the competition.

Remembering, reinventing, recycling Mies van der Rohe’s proposal

When the Festival THEATRE OF THE WORLD 2014 with the project HOTEL SHABBYSHABBY is looking for ideas, which stimulate Mannheim’s cultural and contextual identity, than we see in the unrealized competition project of Mies van der Rohe for the NTM one of the most important intellectual and cultural resources, which ever, until today, opened up for Mannheim. So we interpret the task of using LOCAL RECYCLING MATERIALS, which should be found in Mannheim, in a more immaterial, ideel and mentally way:

We propose to rescale and rematerialize Mies’ NTM-project as a temporary scenographic ARCHITEKTON on top of the existing NTM entrance pavillon..

To have knocked out this outstanding project in 1952, is a still open wound in the cultural memory of the city. And to rematerialize, recycle Mies could have an important function in the current discourse about the complex networking between architecture, theatre and urbanism. His idea of theatre as a laboratory, as a multifunctional because cantilevered workshop area is more relevant than ever.

THE MIES-BOX can serve as a central communication and information center, exhibition hall, chilling lounge, opening nights- and party-location and of course even as an overnight stop. This ARCHITEKTON fits like a newly delivered overseas-box casually and piggyback on the entrance pavilion of the NTM and is to be accessed from the Goethe street by a wide staircase. Mies indeed sended his proposal, including a very detailed model, at that time in a wooden box from Chicago by airfreight to Mannheim. At the center of THE MIES-BOX - directly under Mies’ flight tower - his model is to be seen in full scale, including this air cargo box. (‚box in a box-idea‘) The original competition drawings are still in the possession of the Kunsthalle Mannheim, facsimiles of these drawings could therefore also be issued. The Mies Barcelona chairs, currently located in the foyer of the NTM, are translocated in THE MIES-BOX for the duration of the festival. Twenty Japanese tatami mats allow festival visitors resting during the day and sleeping at night. For although Mies was never in Japan, he knew the Japanese architectures very well and it’s dynamic spatial configurations refers explicitly, latest since the Barcelona Pavilion, on Japanese building traditions.

Programmatic indeterminancy

The programmatic blurriness, indeterminacy and multiple coding of this ARCHITEKTON evoke in our opinion the intellectual appeal of THE MIES-BOX. It is a hybrid programmatic structure and it’s meaning and scale seems to change like weather does. The temporary establishment of this beech-wooden box would be a sovereign gesture of reparation to the most important German architect of the last century and a reminder of this, for Mannheim so gradiose missed opportunity. THE MIES-BOX could encourage the authorities, to be more confident in the future in the case of similar decisions. In this way, Mies, who was affected by the prohibition because of the Nazi-exclusion in Germany and had involuntarily to emigrate into the United States, will arrive in Mannheim a second time. And this time successfully: His outstanding and ingenious project would be present in front of everyone’s eyes and at the same time, as a temporary-theatrical event location, be transformed and metamorphed into an ambiguous, ephemeral and puzzling festival ARCHITEKTON.

designed by _matthias karch with carolin hoefler and paul enggruber

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