The Old Academy once and soon. A two-story garage is to be built beneath the courtyard. Image: Morger Partner Architekten

Refurbishment with history

The Old Academy in Munich was once reserved for Jesuits, academics, and then statisticians. Now, Signa Holding wants to revitalize the historic complex in the city center.

The Old Academy in Munich has a lot of history. Over centuries, it was the spiritual center of the Bavarian metropolis and had a decisive effect on the cityscape—as a Jesuit cloister, educational institution, and as the State Office for Statistics. The historic quarter, which was supplemented with the modernist Hettlage segment in the ‘50s, will now, if Signa gets its way, become a complex of shops and restaurants, offices and homes.

In December 2013, the Austrian entrepreneur René Benko’s Signa Holding acquired the complex on an inherited 65-year leasehold. As part of an international design competition involving the city, the Swiss architects Morger Partner Architekten recently received the contract for the renovation of the traditional property with over 400 years of history. Two-thirds of the 22,000 square meters of floor area will be reserved for a mix of restaurants and shops in the future. Around 20% will be used for rented apartments, the rest as offices.

The Schmuckhof will be supplemented by arcades that provide an open space for ground-floor catering. Image: Morger Partner Architekten
The Schmuckhof will be supplemented by arcades that provide an open space for ground-floor catering. Image: Morger Partner Architekten

Cooperation between the city and investors

“The design competition for the Old Academy has shown once again how close cooperation between bureaucrats, politicians, heritage conservation, the wider public, and a private investor can lead to excellent results for everyone involved. The almost unanimous vote in the architectural competition proves how pleased the entire jury was with Morger Partner Architekten’s proposal,” said Signa managing director Christoph Stadlhuber.

By eliminating the arcade on the front addition to the Old Academy, the former showroom will again house a unified and attractive interior. The Hettlage arcade will remain, while the depth of the arcade on Neuhauser Straße will be reduced. The Hettlage facades and the Old Academy will be restored in the spirit of their creators. The conservative use of the roof level will ensure that the roofscape facing Neuhauser Straße can largely be kept intact.

The use for retail will be located on Neuhauser Straße, the Schmuckhof will be enlivened with small shops and restaurants. From the third floor, different-sized office spaces are planned with the associated ancillary spaces in the Hettlage and Old Academy areas. Signa Holding hopes to obtain building permission in the first quarter of 2018. Completion is scheduled for of 2019.

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