In order to sustainably maintain and ‘reinvent’ the Multihalle, substantial renovation work is needed. The entire roof construction needs refurbishing, as the building material has exceeded its service life. Some timber elements have been damaged by damp and some of the structural supports are warped. And yet, say the experts who have been monitoring the structural condition over the years, it is astonishing how the Multihalle has stood the test of time.
In the spring of 2017, representatives from various sectors were invited to a two-day Utilisation Workshop initiated by the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects and conducted in cooperation with the city of Mannheim, to work out ideas and solutions for possible future uses.
In June 2017, Mannheim’s municipal council resolved that the financing of the renovation and the development of a concept for the future use of the Multihalle must be settled by the end of 2019. Around half of the required budget should be covered by sponsorships, donations and other third-party funds.
In October 2017, the maintenance and repair measures were discussed in a meeting of international experts hosted by the Engineering Chamber of the State of Baden-Württemberg and its president Prof. Dr. Ing. Stephan Engelsmann. The following conclusion was reached and expressed as a recommendation to the City of Mannheim: “Based on the plans so far and the expert talks, we believe that the proposed repair measures are conducive to the goals and should therefore be further pursued.”
In order to promote development, find partners and investors, and raise the necessary third-party funds, the City of Mannheim and the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects together founded the VEREIN MULTIHALLE e.V. Association. The association is dedicated to preserving the structure and continued existence of the listed building, in close coordination with all the responsible parties from the municipal authorities.
“Based on the plans so far and the expert talks, we believe that the proposed repair measures are conducive to the goals and should therefore be further pursued.”
Prof.Dr.-Ing. Stephan Engelsmann
In October 2017, students and professors from the region met up with local protagonists at an ‘urban thinkers camp’ to discuss the development of the Multihalle as a ‘thinking space for future-oriented topics’. At the ensuing Urban Thinkers Campus held on 21 October in Stadthaus Mannheim, the interdisciplinary workgroups presented sound concepts for the Multihalle as an urban development project.
SLEEPING BEAUTY – Reinventing Frei Otto’s Multihalle
The “Sleeping Beauty” Multihalle is roused from its slumber. The exhibition SLEEPING BEAUTY – Reinventing Frei Otto’s Multihalle at the 16th Biennale di Venezia (International Architecture Exhibition) narrated the creation process of this architectural masterpiece and its rediscovery as a symbol of an urban vision of Mannheim’s future.
MULTIHALLE CITIZENS DAYS
From 26 – 28 September, the Multihalle provided a platform for exchanging ideas and thoughts and for jointly shaping the future. “Rethinking the Multihalle and Herzogenried” was the motto of these first participation days open to all members of the public. The Citizens Days attracted high visitor numbers on all three days – at the city district conference on “Rethinking Herzogenried”, the UrbanUtopiaLAB “Rethinking our Multihalle”, and on the day of results presentations. Various workgroups presented their ideas for the Herzogenried district and the Multihalle, and the organisers drew positive conclusions from the event.
Lothar Quast, Mannheim’s Mayor for Building, Planning, Infrastructure, Urban Renewal, Social Housing, Traffic and Sport: “The future utilisation concept of the Multihalle will essentially be developed from the citizens’ ideas. I am very pleased that this has been achieved in a very constructive, creative and also emotional way.”
Jennifer Yeboah, Herzogenried District Manager: “People who don’t usually sit down at the same table discussed things together. It was a great example of how wonderfully the Multihalle works as an open building and a symbol for an open society.”
Christina West, h_da – Hochschule Darmstadt/University of Applied Sciences and Urban Innovation – Stadt neu denken! e.V.: “The discussions were intensive, respectful and imaginative – quite in the spirit of Frei Otto and Carlfried Mutschler. The Multihalle is perceived as a place of freedom that must be preserved. It should remain a place of opportunities and be able to grow in different ways.”
EUTOPIA MULTIHALLE – SHARING HERITAGE
In order to preserve the Multihalle as a place of cultural heritage and to develop it for the future, the municipal council decided, on 23 October 2018, to co-finance the European Cultural Heritage Year – Sharing Heritage.
Furthermore, approval was provided for participation in the National Urban Development Projects Programme.
The above represent landmark decisions to strengthen Mannheim’s building culture, i.e. by preserving an architectural icon and promoting urbanity, creativity and civic commitment.
DEVELOPING THE MULTIHALLE
In this age of digitalisation, an ‘analogue’ public space such as the Multihalle can be conducive to people’s well-being. Maintaining the Multihalle as a venue of architectural heritage is a joint commitment that unites citizens, architects and institutions far beyond Mannheim’s city limits.
There are many ways to get involved with the Multihalle. The central organisation is the MULTIHALLE MANNHEIM e.V. Association, founded by the City of Mannheim together with the Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects. The association is dedicated to preserving the structure and continued existence of the listed building, and works in tandem with all the respective city officials and Stadtpark Mannheim gGmbH, the owning body of the Multihalle.
The Multihalle project is additionally supported by many patrons from a diverse range of fields and disciplines – creatives and culture professionals, architects, local residents, the general public, engineers, and universities.
Supporters and Partners
City of Mannheim
Baden-Württemberg Chamber of Architects (AKBW)
Council for Building Culture & Heritage
saai, Southern German Archive for Architecture and Civil Engineering
Association of German Architects (BDA)
Engineering Chamber of the State of Baden-Württemberg (IngBW)
Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT)
Shigeru Ban Architects