On May 18, 2023, the exhibition UMBAU. Nonstop Transformation at Salone Verde in Venice was officially opened. To start, the German Federal Minister for Housing, Urban Development and Building, Klara Geywitz, and the President of the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning, Petra Wesseler, spoke to the audience. This was followed up with speeches by Sergio Pascolo, President of the cooperation partner Venice Urban Lab, Volkwin Marg, Founding Partner of gmp, and Stephan Schütz and Nikolaus Goetze, curators of the exhibition.
UMBAU (conversion) means the ongoing transformation of existing structures. Just as societies change, the requirements placed on buildings also change. In the context of this ongoing process of change, those who reuse and recycle materials and components save resources, avoid waste, and use the gray energy stored in existing buildings. Hence UMBAU, an ancient cultural technique, is gaining new relevance in the face of climate change.
For over forty years, von Gerkan, Marg and Partners Architects (gmp) have been engaging in UMBAU. The exhibition in Venice presents seven of over sixty conversion projects as specific case studies. The compilation consists of public buildings in Germany and China that exemplify the architectural practice of UMBAU. From a comprehensive exploration, concepts are developed that are based on existing structures and ensure a contemporary use. At the core of this process is always the reactivation of what exists in all its diversity.
UMBAU.Nonstop Transformationreveals these processes by taking both completed projects and those that are still in the planning phase or under construction as our basis. On display are the Berlin Olympic Stadium (completed 1936 / UMBAU 2004), the Kulturpalast Dresden (1969 / 2017), the transformation of a former transformer building in Munich (1929 / 2021) into part of the Isarphilharmonie at Gasteig HP8, concrete shell constructions like the Hyparschale in Magdeburg (1969 / 2024) and the Alster-Schwimmhalle in Hamburg (1973 / 2023). It also features the conversion of Shanghai's largest stainless steel factory (1986 / since 2021) into the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts and the Berlin State Library at the Kulturforum (1978 / since 2019).
The exhibition traces processes of the continuous transformation of the buildings as an activity that spans generations, from the original to the UMBAU. With large-format films, models, photos, and plans, stations of this Nonstop Transformationare highlighted in multimedia and with an overarching sound installation that makes UMBAU a sensory experience in the spaces of Salone Verde.
Curators Stephan Schütz, Nikolaus Goetze Curatorial Advisor and Editor Florian Heilmeyer
Exhibition May 19-November 26, 2023, Tuesday to Sunday, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. Admission free.
Salone Verde Sestiere Santa Croce 2258, Calle della Regina, 30135 Venice
gmp · Architekten von Gerkan, Marg und Partner Detlef Jessen-Klingenberg Head of Communications www.gmp.de
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