The Multihalle is a building set in a green park-landscape (Herzogenriedpark) in the city of Mannheim. Originally planned to be a provisional structure for the German National Garden Show 1975 (Bundesgartenshow) its iconic form is still very much present today. As the building nowadays is mostly unused the question is how to fill it with new life and how it needs to be adapted for future uses.
Our Multi-alley project is based on a holistic concept with regard to urbanity, landscape, architecture and function. The characteristic roof and the elevated path will remain the main features whereas the inner organisation as well as the landscape will be adapted.
We see the Multihalle as iconic object which continually loses importance in the everyday lives of Mannheim citizens. The goal must be to revitalize the building and bring it back to people's consciousness.
In order to reach this goal we developed a toolbox focusing on four aspects: 1. Strengthen east- west connection, 2. Clear main entrances, 3. Experienceable landscape, and 4. Adapted use
Strengthen east- west connection
Nowadays the fenced off Park area (Herzogenriedpark) with its admission requirement acts as a barrier between east and west. In the future the building with its surroundings will be excluded from the park which opens up for new possibilities to connect the west (Neckarstadt west) and the east (Herzogenried) of the city. Existing paths east and west of the hall will be concentrated and guided through the building in order to strengthen this green axis.
Clear main entrances
In consequences of this new green axis two important squares emerge. Towards the west and the big parking space a prominent entrance is planned. The square will be lined with tall trees to show tourists as well as locals the entrance to and through the Multi-alley. To the east of the hall a gathering space will be established where paths from the different surrounding neighbourhoods and greenspaces cross and connect. The new entrance for the “Herzogenriedpark” is set here as well.
Arriving from the city centre through the Max-Joseph Street the existing tree alley could be prolonged and guide visitors right to the main entrance. This green finger can be seen as connecting element from the multi-alley to the city centre.
The multi-alley should not only work as connection but also be experienced as a place. For that the scenic qualities will be enhanced. The east-west connection divides the plot in a northern and a southern part. The southern part has an urban character and links to the existing restaurant and a water feature which invites people to play. Hard surfaces, a podium and diverse seating possibilities allow people to enjoy the sun in summer. In contrast to the vivid southern part the northern part is more secluded with a focus on nature and calmer environments. Like the dynamic shape of the Roof we also want the landscaping to be intriguing, informative and diverse. A walking loop is introduced to connect different activities according to the qualities of the landscape. The loop guides people in part through the building and serves as link between in- and outdoors. Outdoors one walks through 5 distinctly different environments:
Forest, pond, hill, playground, sun-terrace
The forest starts from the centre of the building towards north and encloses parts of the pond up to the existing playground. The playground will become a greenspace and new trees will grow here. Information about local flora and fauna will be provided.
The existing northern pond will be adapted so that parts of the rainwater can be reused in and around the building. An extension of that thought would be the recycling of sewage which could also work as a showcase project (Living machine). The pond will be designed as an animal habitat and landscape element.
Seating and better access will be provided on the hill in the north-west of the site. As a lookout area all year around the hill can be used for sledging in winter time.
A new playground will be installed in the southwest of the plot. The existing buildings of the present entrance will be reused as part of the playground. Climbing walls, rope gardens and ziplines will be complemented by more grounded play elements which all invite young and old to explore, experience and play.
Outside the restaurant there will be a new sun terrace including a water feature and different seating possibilities of which some are reserved for the restaurant. The sun terrace will become meeting place for users, guests and passers-by.
''The iconic building is brought back to people’s consciousness through clear connections to its surroundings and the city. The Multi-alley offers new uses and functions yet leaves a lot of free space for various activities and future adaption.''
The building consists of a smaller and a bigger bubble which are linked through an elevated, central pathway.
The Multi-Alley project integrates as many of the functions as possible within the existing shapes in order to keep the open space under the roof free for temporary uses and special events. The different volumes/rooms will be air-conditioned according to their use (house in house).
In the little bubble we keep the restaurant which is set on the ground floor level and directed towards the south. I t will be refurbished and offers seating for 100 people of which 50 within the bar area and 50 in the main hall. On the upper floor we plan wooden lightweight modules which host 34 working spaces in different configurations as well as meeting and group rooms. The volumes are partially two stories high and their size relate to the overarching roof of the hall. The office volumes fit in elegantly without distracting from the experience of the space with the omnipresent timber grid shell roof construction. The volumes are grouped around an open space in the middle which is used as Public Square for the users / office workers.
The existing podium-construction in the big bubble will be separated into two stories. This allows for more usable space within the same shape. The technical rooms are mostly preserved. On the ground floor level studios and workshops are allocated towards the big open space. This allows the users to expand their activity into the hall and to fill it with life. The different studios/workshops can have changing uses and the rooms can be combined or divided as they are only separated with lightweight walls. Community kitchen, foyer and catering are located on the first floor. Those rooms are over-height and also divided with lightweight walls which makes it possible to interconnect the rooms and form a big hall for 300+ people. Similarly to the ground floor the uses can expand out toward the hall and use the space on the terrace. On the second floor there is a hidden calmer zone for relaxing from where one can overlook what is going on within the hall. Open stairs and ramps within the bubble as well as an elevator attached to the main path allow for access to the different stories. Next to the elevator a double-story height music studio will be established. The integration of the uses within the existing shapes make it possible to freely use this vast space and contributes to the spacial experience of the hall. Of the infinite amount of uses we have illustrated three in the plans/graphics: exhibition with small stalls, sports event with beach volleyball as well as a concert arrangement. The existing construction will be adjusted and completed with concrete. Windows and insulation are added. Acoustic elements and wooden slats cover the walls towards the hall.