« German Engineering... of facial hair! | Main | How to Build an Igloo »

Fünf Höfe Photo Fun

On the way home from a Sunday photowalk through the English Garden, Herr J and I cut through the Fünf Höfe, one of Central Munich's shopping centers.  I've always liked the architecture there, particularly the modern and airy passages in the middle of a historic city block. But we were shocked to realize what fun photo opportunities were in there. All of the textures and reflections were great fun for playing around with HDR photography. 


"Fünf Höfe" means "Five Courtyards" in German, an appropriate name for the building spanning a block with passages full of cafes, restaurants, and shops.  And, as a typical German real estate asset, it has offices and apartments on the upper floors. Sitting between the Frauenkirche and Odeonsplatz, the building has an important history as the home of HypoVereinsbank, one of Munich's oldest banks (its roots trace back to the late 1700s). As is often the case here, they sought to keep the historical facade of the building while building something modern and new inside.  According to the center's website, the design was inspired by the courtyards of the nearby Residenz palace.  I often take a shortcut through there as a nice change of pace - it's usually peaceful and with comfortable "weather" inside.

It's quite a nice place to spend a rainy, wintry Sunday afternoon, visiting the Hypo Kunsthalle art museum, followed by coffee in one of the cafes or lunch at Vapiano (reliably good and open late and on Sunday).  During the week, you can shop at a variety of clothing, home, and art stores, as well as Munich's Muji. (Muji is a Japanese home/small good store that's worth a browse, if you've never been in one.  Their focus is on no-brand, minimalist products, usually made of recyclable materials. But they have a great blend of form and function, so that you'll have a really hard time walking out without finding several things you "need"). 

The museum entrance is on the Theatinerstraße side and, though small for a museum, often has good exhibits. There have been a wide variety of themes, artists, and time periods, with the exhibit changing every few months. The Mark Rothko retrospective a couple of years ago was particularly good.  As it's an exhibition gallery rather than one with a permanent collection, you'll need to check periodically to see what's there.

In addition to the open entrances to the passages, there are other areas with open roofs, blurring the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.  

As the complex houses the small museum that Hypovereinsbank sponsors, they also integrated art into the architecture. The hanging gardens through the Salvatorpassage actually are a living installation by Düsseldorf artist Tita Giese.

They blend in so well that they almost escape notice, but you'll also find 12 laser-printed panels throughout the building. These are prints of photos by German photographer Thomas Ruff, meant "give onlookers the impression that they are floating over cityscapes and the countryside." These scenes are of nature, the Munich area in which the Fünf Höfe sits, and Manhattan streets.  You'll see one on the floor in the picture below (bottom right corner).

And the most noticeable art piece hangs in the Viscardihof - a giant steel lattice-work sphere by Olafur Eliasson, an Icelandic artist. The shape and structure is supposed to represent "global openness and worldwide networks."




source - Fünf Höfe website

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (1)

Very interesting---the photos are nice.

May 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMom/Cindy

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>