Bayerischer Landtag

Planning and Construction History

In 1839, in his list of projects he wanted to carry out after his elevation to the throne (1848), Crown Prince Maximilian included an expansion of the city towards the east by means of a new road. This plan took on more concrete forms in 1851 when architect Friedrich Bürklein presented King Max II’s plans "concerning the beautification of Munich". These plans defined this link between Munich’s Old Town and Haidhausen as a succession of road, "forum", bridges and "acropolis" for the first time. In 1853, construction began on the approximately 1,200 metre long "Neue Straße", which was officially called "Maximilianstraße" from 1858. In 1858, city councillor for building and construction Arnold Zenetti put bridges across the Isar and Prater Island. In order to give Munich’s new boulevard a harmonious appearance, Max II mandated architects to design model façades. Here, they were to adhere to a new style prescribed by the king, the so-called Maximilian style: based on the English neo-Gothic style, modern construction technology was to be used to unite the best from all historical art periods.

Planning of the Maximilianeum took place parallel to that of Maximilianstraße. In 1850, Max II decided to set up an international architectural competition "concerning the creation of a construction plan for a higher education and teaching institute". Friedrich Bürklein (1813–1872) was commissioned, he having shown with the city beautification plan how well he was able to cater to the king’s ideas. On 5 October 1857, Max II laid the foundation stone. In February 1864, shortly before his surprising death, the king decreed a change of plan due to growing criticism, even though the middle section of the west structure had already grown above the first floor. The planned pointed arches had to make way for neo-Renaissance arches, while the pilaster strips had to make way for an order of columns. The planning and construction history of the Maximilianeum thus marks both the beginning and the end of the Maximilian style. In 1874, construction was finally complete.

Until 1918, the Maximilianeum housed the royal paedagogium, in addition to the academic foundation and a historic gallery. Until shortly before the end of the Second World War, the Munich art exhibition was shown in the gallery rooms, while in the arcades "Munich’s highest café" invited guests to enjoy a splendid panorama. However, parts of the building were then destroyed in air attacks. So it was a piece of good fortune that the Bavarian State Parliament made the Maximilianeum its seat in 1949, although corresponding changes had to be made in the gallery rooms.

In 1958/59 and 1964/65, the so-called north and south new buildings with office rooms and meeting halls were added on the east side to relieve the Parliament’s need for space. These north and south buildings were expanded until October 1994. In 1993, the underground car park was commissioned and in 1998 the building providing access from the underground car park into the old building was commissioned. In the process, the historic foundation stone of the Maximilianeum was found. The contents of the foundation stone – gold coins, portraits of the royal founder couple and the model of a locomotive – are on display in the Stone Hall of the Maximilianeum.

In 2004/05, the plenary chamber was completely redesigned, while at the same time a "Room of Silence" was installed.

The problem of limited space intensified with the State Parliament elections in 2008, when five parliamentary groups moved into the State Parliament for the first time. For this reason, the Maximilianeum was increased in size with the northern extension in 2012. It is based on the passive house standard, thus fulfilling the expectations of a modern office building in exemplary fashion, especially with respect to energy efficiency. With its façade made of terra-cotta and glass, the building inserts itself precisely into the existing ensemble. However, due to its cubic structure it simultaneously lays claim to its architectural independence.

The Maximilianeum building

The exterior and its works of art

The broad structure, made accessible in effective fashion by a wide entrance, lifts up dominantly like a gloriette above the east bank of the Isar. The flat-covered front, which settles on a high base, is composed of a slightly concave middle section and two straight lateral wings. The equal series of round arches of the two floors are each bordered by a three-storey, open tower at the side.

The works of art on the western façade, which can be seen from a long distance, proclaim the programme of the original "higher education and teaching institute". For instance the mosaics on the median risalit show the foundation of Ettal Abbey by Emperor Ludwig IV as an example of the religiosity and charity of the Bavarian dynasty, flanked by the opening of the university in Ingolstadt and the victory of the poet Wolfram von Eschenbach in the "Sängerkrieg" (minstrel contest) at the Wartburg castle as examples of the science and art flourishing in Bavaria. The mosaics of the northern risalit highlight the House of Wittelsbach’s Treaty of Pavia as an exemplary statesmanlike achievement. The science tools depicted at the side refer to the fresco cycle of the hall found below.

On the southern risalit, the liberation of Vienna from the Turks is presented as a work of the art of war. In turn, the war trophies at the side refer to the iconographic programme of the room located here.
The 22 busts over the lower row of arcades portrait "Benefactors, inventors, wise men, literati, statesmen and generals" (to the north: from Homer to Franz von Assisi; to the south: from Gustav II Adolf to Pythagoras).



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