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Architekturmuseum opens 'King Ludwig II: Palaces and Factories'
Munich, Academy of Fine Arts, 1874-1886. Gottfried von Neureuther. Photo: Ulrike Myrzik © Architekturmuseum der TU München.

MUNICH.- The exhibition The Architecture under King Ludwig II: Palaces and Factories is the Architekturmuseum’s main contribution to the celebrations marking 150 years since the foundation of the TUM (Technische Universität München), of which it is part. For the first time, the whole spectrum of architecture undertaken under the aegis of the university’s founder, Ludwig II of Bavaria (1864–1886), is being presented in a single exhibition. Ludwig II’s very personal, visionary approach to architecture is symbolised by the world-famous, iconic palaces of Neuschwanstein, Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, but their unique reputation has eclipsed his other building commissions, which have long failed to receive the attention they deserve. This exhibition is now devoted to a comprehensive survey of the public and private building projects carried out in the Kingdom of Bavaria during this period, which was marked by industrialisation, two wars, and the foundation of the German Reich. They include such important buildings as the Munich Rathaus (town hall) by Georg von Hauberrisser, the Munich Akademie der Bildenden Künste (arts academy) by Gottfried von Neureuther and Otto Brückwald’s Festspielhaus (concert hall) at Bayreuth. But the exhibition also shows less well-known buildings, such as the factories of Augsburg’s textile district, the synagogues in Munich and Nuremburg, and the temporary structures created for Bavaria’s early industrial expositions, which took place under Ludwig II. By presenting the whole spectrum of building commissions during his reign, the exhibition challenges the clichéd image of Ludwig II as the ‘fairy-tale king’ with no interest in the technical developments and social problems of his time, and seeks to reach a better understanding of his influence in these areas.

Curated by Katrin Bäumler, the exhibition presents drawings, plans, photographs and models, most of them originals, lent by over twenty-five institutions in Germany and abroad. They include objects seldom on public display, such as designs for the royal palaces from the collections of the Bavarian Administration of State-Owned Palaces, Gardens and Lakes, the Wittelsbacher Ausgleichsfonds and the Wittelsbach Secret Archives. A diverse selection from the Architekturmuseum der TUM’s own holdings is also on show, including, for example, the drawings by Gottfried Semper for the Richard Wagner Festspielhaus, planned by Ludwig II for Munich. The king bequeathed these plans to the Architecture Faculty of the Polytechnische Schule on the occasion of its foundation, thus laying the cornerstone of the present Architekturmuseum der TUM. The contemporary impact of the numerous buildings which survive from this period is illustrated in a series of specially commissioned photographs by Ulrike Myrzik.

The exhibition design was conceived by Studio Weave in London and the graphic design by Hannes Aechter. Both incorporate elements from the World Expositions which were enthusiastically received by Ludwig II, and which, according to the latest research, are key to understanding the royal palaces. An exhibition trail for children devised by Klara Bindl and Maike Backhaus is designed to make exploring the exhibition fun for younger visitors. At information points specifically for children, they will find flyers which they can turn into crowns or booklets, just as they please.

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