Glass façade of the Bavarian Opera House in Munich, Germany

Bavarian State Opera House, Munich

After an extensive regeneration, Marstallplatz in the center of Munich is now a vibrant new cultural hub. An eye-catching landmark is the “Bühnenfenster” or “Window on the stage” – the front façade of the Bavarian State Opera, which features the mesmerizing, reflective SCHOTT NARIMA® color effect glass.

Background

It took several decades, but the regeneration of Munich’s Marstallplatz area was worth the wait. It was left largely vacant after damage during World War II, but new architecture and design initiatives at the turn of the millennium reinvented the area as an exciting new center for the arts. The plaza on Maximilianstrasse is particularly eye-catching: Artist Olafur Eiasson teamed up with Berlin-based architects Gewers Kühn + Kühn to create a stunning façade for the Bavarian State Opera’s rehearsal building, using the dazzling NARIMA® color effect glass from SCHOTT. The façade reflects the plaza, as well as offering a window onto the musicians.

Task

The State Opera rehearsal “Buhnenfenster” was designed to be a new statement structure that would combine practicality, security, and durability with spectacular esthetic appeal. The design was intended to reflect the vibrant feel of a center for the arts and the dramatic impact of theater and opera, attracting visitors to this new cultural center of the city that suggested modernity and regeneration. But it also needed to function as a robust urban building in the center of a busy city that could stand up to the elements, withstand all impacts from fireworks to vandalism, and resist potential long-term damage from toxins in the air.

Solution

Whether viewed from inside the building or outside, SCHOTT NARIMA® color effect glass never fails to grab the attention. This is due to the iridescent color effects it produces in six different variations. Thanks to its strong reflective qualities, NARIMA® also conveys an impressive sense of depth, adding to the breathtaking effect on the viewer. This has made it a popular material for architects and designers – in this case the artist Olafur Oliasson, who saw the potential for the lively color accents of NARIMA® to turn a functional structure into a major statement, making the building’s surroundings feel like part of the performance within.

Regeneration centered on glass innovation

The all-important combination of security and esthetic appeal was achieved by SCHOTT’s blend of safety and color effect glass alongside an advanced optical coating to create a unique effect. Panels of 12 mm-thick toughened float glass were processed as a base over which 4 mm-thick panels of SCHOTT NARIMA® were laminated, with a 1.52 mm-thick PVB film to create a façade offering a unique fluctuating effect. Not only do the colors change according to the weather and the angle from which the viewer approaches them, reflections of the sky and passers-by add further surreal effects.

An effect worthy of a standing ovation

When the Opera House rehearsal stage façade was unveiled in 2005, visitors were struck by the beautifully reflective qualities of the glass exterior, as well as the array of colors visible on its surface, which changed according to the light conditions. The idea was that the window’s refection of the Marstallplatz would turn everyday life in the plaza into a surreal live play, where spectators and passers-by were just as much part of the performance as the music being performed inside. That vision has been realized in a highly original way thanks to SCHOTT NARIMA®.

Used materials & similar products

The dichroic laminated safety glass SCHOTT NARIMA® offers beauty and practicality, combining a memorable visual effect with a range of strong technical properties. Dip-coated rather than foil-based, the glass is UV-stable, tough, and resistant to humidity, while the coatings are highly scratch resistant, as well as thermally and chemically stable. Available in six different colors – Blue-Gold, Blue-Green, Green, May Green, Orange, and Yellow – NARIMA® can be thermally toughened, heat-strengthened, and customized as a safety glass.

SCHOTT expertise a key factor for the project

Award-winning architects Gewers Kühn + Kühn were tasked with bringing to life the vision of Danish artist Olafur Eliasson, who chose SCHOTT NARIMA® for its dazzling color effect. Project developer CBKM Dreyer Brettel & Kollegen then arranged for SCHOTT to work with façade execution specialists Götz Metallbau to put the finishing touches to this unique project.


Glass by
SCHOTT

Architects
Gewers Kühn + Kühn, Berlin

Project development
DBKM Dreyer Brettel & Kollegen Management GmbH, München

Planning of the structural framework
Hartwich/Mertens/Ingenieure, Berlin

Building automation
HL-Technik AG, München

Façade planning
Albrecht Memmert & Partner GbR, Neuss

Façade execution
Götz Metallbau, Kirchberg/Murr
 
Lighting planning
Construction Olafur Eliasson,
Employee: Sebastian Behmann

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