Wolfgang Czisch points to a picture taken by the photographer Heinz Gebhardt. It shows the alpine panorama against the backdrop of which Munich is building. Czisch’s finger lands on the Olympic roof. “What you can actually do with modern architecture,” he enthuses. His finger wanders on to the O₂ tower, which protrudes from the flat silhouette of Munich. Czisch, member of the Munich forum, judges: “How you can destroy the view with square bolts.”
He stands together with Ingeborg Staudenmeyer, the chairman of the Neuhauen-Nymphenburg district culture association, in the bistro of “Trafo 2”, the brand new culture and community center at Nymphenburger Strasse 171a. Around the two of them hang photographs that build the bridge from the first skyscraper in Neuhausen to the planned 155 meter high twin towers on the area of the parcel post hall at the Friedenheimer Brücke.
The first exhibition in the new culture and community center, which will be on view for two weeks from Thursday, September 9th, plunges into the highly political debate about the plans of the project developer Ralf Büschl. The district cultural association and the Munich Forum are clearly positioning themselves against new high-rise buildings for Munich.
The exhibition initiators can enumerate countless reasons for their aversion. Czisch is disturbed by the “outrage” of planning two towers this high after a referendum in 2004 rejected houses with a height of more than 100 meters. “To say that doesn’t matter,” he starts and shakes his head. Munich’s proximity to the Alps should be further worked out and not destroyed by high-rise buildings, said Czisch. However, the exhibition does not focus solely on aesthetics, he emphasizes, but also on the question of social justice. Because the towers have “no meaning”, like the Frauenkirche or the Olympic site. The elementary question is: “Who rules the city?”
The 1,100 apartments and the offices for 3,000 new jobs that the skyscrapers created also met with approval from urban society. For example, the majority of the members of the district committee (BA) Neuhausen-Nymphenburg support the planned mix of office, living, hotel and catering.
The city council decides how the area at the parcel post hall will ultimately be built on. Before that, a citizen’s report should comment on the disputed questions. The reviewers are 100 randomly selected Munich residents who discuss in four planning cells. The first meetings for this are to take place in October, so that the report is available in December.
Ingeborg Staudenmeyer criticizes this random selection of citizens from all over Munich. She repeatedly emphasizes that it is the Neuhausers who in the end will have to live with the towers and their effects, such as the shadow cast by the skyscrapers and the traffic that they will attract on the Friedenheimer Bridge and Arnulfstrasse. Therefore, in Staudenmeyer’s opinion, the residents of the district should also have a greater say than someone from Bogenhausen. “The opportunity to cast a vote” is what Staudenmeyer wishes for all Neuhausers.
The location of the photography exhibition in the new culture and community center in the heart of Neuhausen has been chosen appropriately, emphasizes the association’s chairwoman. The aim is to create awareness of the problem so that there is broad citizen participation. “I hope that people get a picture of the whole. Plans always look good, but you also have to consider the human and the outside world.”
The first public event in “Trafo 2” is also intended to help shape opinion about the twin towers. On Wednesday, September 15, from 6 p.m. city planner Dierk Brandt and BA chairwoman Anna Hanusch (Greens) will discuss the pros and cons of the towers in the hall of the culture and education center. Hilmar Sturm, who deals a lot with citizen reports, will moderate. It is not necessary to register for the panel discussion. The 3-G rule applies.
The “Jugend forscht” award winner Nikolas vom Scheid will take a more general look at the urban development at a workshop for schoolchildren on Tuesday, September 21st. From 5 p.m. onwards, the 15-year-old will present his program for calculating the ecological footprint of buildings.
With this, Staudenmayer and Czisch dare to look at the big picture. Because the two towers in Neuhausen are not the only skyscrapers that threaten Munich from the point of view of the two. Wolfgang Czisch pulls a city map out of his backpack, which shows the permitted high-rise heights depending on the city area. “We will do everything we can to counteract it.” Looking at the photos on the wall, he says: “Here we start.”