From staging open air cinemas to round tables and workshops, the Multihalle is again becoming a place of social interaction. Time and again, the people of Mannheim give us a new angle on the potential of this very special location – as an all-purpose venue and cultural meeting place.

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Sleeping Beauty –
Reinventing Frei Otto’s Multihalle

saai | Archive for Architecture and Engineering
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
present an exhibition on the Multihalle Mannheim on the occasion of the
16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale

26 May – 29 Jul 18

On the occasion of the 16th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale the saai at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) will present Frei Otto’s Multihalle in an exhibition in the context of this year’s biennial theme, “Freespace”.

“Sleeping Beauty” follows on from the successful exhibition “Frei Otto – Thinking by Modeling”, which was hosted by the ZKM in Karlsruhe from November 2016 to March 2017. The show in Venice focuses on the Multihalle and will be the first exhibition in the world dedicated to this fascinating building.

The project’s initiators and curators are the Berlin-based urbanist and curator Sally Below and Georg Vrachliotis, professor of architectural theory and director of saai, who also curated the previous Frei Otto exhibition. Both are long-standing advisors to the City of Mannheim on the development of the Multihalle preservation strategy. The exhibition architect is Marc Frohn, who is also a professor at KIT, and his architecture firm FAR frohn&rojas.

The exhibition

The exhibition gives visitors a double view of the Multihalle. Looking back at the past, it presents original archival material to relate the building’s experimental history. The exhibition also looks toward the future: Today, after several years of vacancy and 40 years after the construction of the Multihalle, which was originally planned as a temporary building, the City of Mannheim is working together with a dedicated group of architects, artists, local residents, concerned citizens, engineers, and universities on a new sustainable concept aimed at ensuring its long-term preservation. This open and collectively designed process is unique in Germany.

The title of the exhibition makes reference to this current process following a period of standstill. Its aim is to embed the Multihalle into the city’s social landscape, reframe the discourse, which was previously more technical in nature, and develop a new interpretation of the building as a platform for an “open society”, as Frei Otto originally intended. The Multihalle has gone from being a built object to becoming a subject of discourse.

The exhibition in Venice introduces the Multihalle and its future prospects to an international scene – and tells more about it to those already familiar with the structure. A portside building on the island of Guidecca, an authentic Venetian location, will serve as the exhibition space.

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Programme 2017

20 – 22 Oct 17

Special Panel Multihalle — Urban Thinkers Campus 2017

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Urban Thinkers Campus

20 – 22 Oct 17

The Multihalle is a keynote topic at the UTC Mannheim!

Multihalle Special Panel – Urban Thinkers Campus 2017
Stadthaus N1 – Room 52/53
1.00 – 5.00 p.m.

This year’s Urban Thinkers Campus in Mannheim will use the example of the Mannheim Multihalle, built by Pritzker award winner Frei Otto and Mannheim architect Carlfried Mutschler, to investigate how cities can convert cultural heritage – some of which has partially vanished from collective memory – into a resource for inclusive, economic and social development in a promising urban context.

While the complex structure of the Multihalle remains in the public consciousness, its social and societal potential often goes unmentioned. An ‘urban thinkers camp’ in the run-up to the Urban Thinkers Campus 2017 will examine the Multihalle from a civic perspective and consider how it is anchored in the city’s social topography. The focus will be on the building’s hidden dimensions. A key objective will be to work out a new way of interpreting the Multihalle in tune with architect Frei Otto’s original intentions: as a platform for an open society that shapes the future in a well-informed, responsible and co-creative manner.

The work is to be oriented around the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), in terms of action options for a European city and, specifically, their feasibility for Mannheim.


How can the SDG be used for cities in Germany – and Mannheim in particular – and for holistic, complex and open urban development concepts and tasks?

How can these flow into Mannheim’s mission statement process, and be put to good use?

How can the participants contribute their know-how to the process?

What role can the development of the Multihalle play in Mannheim’s mission statement process and the future of the city – in the sense of being an ‘open project within an open process’?

How can the Multihalle become an open space and venue?

Download documentation (German only)

21 – 22 Sep 17

Live Video Performance


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F. Wiesel (DE)
Live-Video-Performance (in German)

Thu 21 Sep – 9.30 p.m. – Multihalle Mannheim
Fri 22 Sep – 9.30 p.m. – Multihalle Mannheim

Concrete and glass landscapes extend across the South American jungle and over the Italian alps. Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Speer Jr., and Walt Disney are working feverishly on the axes of their new orders. In pursuit of a planned, more orderly and fairer society once and for all, ideal proportions and relations begin to emerge on the drawing boards and computers. At some point, the inevitable happens: in building complex Superquadra 67, Oskar C. begins experimenting with architecture. By and by, the building mutates, while the inhabitants begin to realise their own interests. Superquadra turns the chronicle of the conversion into a science fiction film on stage. In a mash-up with past visions, the performance tells a story about the end of architecture.

F. Wiesel (DE) – aka Hanke Wilsmann and Jost von Harlessem – develop performances and installations with alternating collaborators. F. Wiesel build fictional spaces that tell stories and generate a particular vision of reality. Perspectives are changed and manipulated: large objects are dwarfed, a fur looks like a prairie. In their work to date, they have used models to reanimate cinema history, dead emperors, and Soviet planets. In 2017, F. Wiesel won the Ponto Performance Prize by the Jürgen Ponto Foundation that promotes young artists.

A project within WUNDER DER PRÄRIE (Wonders of the Prairie) – International Festival for Performance Art & Networking

14 – 24 September 2017, Mannheim

Concept, copy & realisation: F. Wiesel (Hanke Wilsmann & Jost von Harlessem). Puppeteer: Caroline Kühner. Set design: Ben Goossens. Music: Philip Albus. Sound design: Rupert Jaud. Stage assistant: Friederike Schmidt-Colinet. Narrator: Fredrik Jan Hofmann. Author & narrator of “The Chronicles of Superquadra”: Dietmar Dath. Puppet costumes: Melchior B. Tacet. Puppet mechanics: Ingo Mewes. Production: Heidrun Schlegel. A co-production by: Treibstoff Theatertage Basel, F. Wiesel GbR, Fleetstreet Theater Hamburg.

Sponsored by: City of Frankfurt Culture Office, Rudolf-Augstein Foundation, Hamburg Arts Council, Hamburg Department of Culture, Lumitronix GmbH, Foundation for Radio and Culture in Switzerland; and the Jürgen Ponto Foundation for promoting young artists, as part of the Ponto Performance Prize 2017, a cooperation project with Mousonturm house of artists and the Hessian Theatre Academy. With the kind support of the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Jul – Aug 17



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Friday, 7 July – 9.30 p.m. – Open Air Summer Cinema:
Moon — GBR 2009. Rating: PG-12
Thursday, 20 July – 7.00 p.m. – round table talk:
On built visions
Friday, 8 August – 9.00 p.m. – Open Air Summer Cinema:
Youth – Italy 2015. Rating: PG-6

Multihalle in Herzogenriedpark
Access via Neuer Messplatz entrance
Summer cinema: €7 / concessions €5 / round table talk: free entry

A summer for visions. During July and August, zeitraumexit will present three evenings of films and talks for mild summer evenings and ambitious ideas, on the walkways of the Multihalle. In cooperation with the CinemaQuadrat, we will be showing two extraordinary movies in a breathtaking setting, and invite you to a round table about visionary architecture. Refreshments served.

24 MAY 17

An evening in aid of the Multihalle


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PROGRAMME: 24 May 17

An evening in aid of the Multihalle

Wednesday, 24 May – 7.00 p.m. – Multihalle
in Herzogenriedpark – access via the Neuer Messplatz entrance – free entry!

Mannheim’s most spectacular building celebrates its re-opening to the public. Join us for an evening of live music, dance, videos and information about the history and the future of the Multihalle.

The evening will kick-off a series of artistic and exploratory interim uses. Over the summer, the Multihalle will therefore be both a laboratory and a playground of the senses and for ideas – staged by the Building Competence Centre of the City of Mannheim, and curated by zeitraumexit, Collini Social Club, and Mannheim planning agency Yalla Yalla.

Sally Below will guide you through the evening.

More programme information

31 Mar – 1 Apr 17


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31 Mar – 1 Apr 17

Friday, 31 Mar – 7.00 p.m. – Multihalle

Public kick-off event: Transformations of space


Four interdisciplinary teams of experts from the fields of (landscape) architecture, cultural and creative industries, civil engineering, and event management contemplate concepts for sustainable uses for the Multihalle.



Saturday, 1 April – 5.00 p.m. – Multihalle

Public presentation of the results from the groups: leisure, sports, park, regional
International meeting venue and place for developing investor models
Open concept

Download workshop documentation (German only)