15/06/2011: Talk

Prof. Volkwin Marg "From Berlin to Brasília – Stadiums by the Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners"

On Wednesday, 15th June, Prof. Volkwin Marg is giving an introductory talk on the exhibition "From Berlin to Brasília – Stadiums by the Architects von Gerkan, Marg and Partners" in the Alvar Alto Kulturhaus in Wolfsburg, Germany.

At no other time have so many sports stadiums been built around the globe than in the past few decades. With every Olympic Games, World Cup, European or national championship event new sports complexes are erected, each one striving to better its predecessor. In most cases, a symbolic solitaire is sought – irrespective of structural issues and functionality – with unique characteristics honed by architectural "styling". The architects von Gerkan, Marg und Partner (gmp) have been counteracting this trend towards promotional "branding" for decades – and have been more successful than all other architectural practices, at least with regard to competition projects tendered internationally. gmp are currently constructing or planning more than a dozen stadiums simultaneously on four continents, each time starting from scratch to achieve the "optimum shape and structure" on the one hand, and to create a characteristic identity within the cultural context of each specific site on the other.

The exhibition about the venues of gmp in the Alvar Aalto Kulturhaus in Wolfsburg on the occasion of the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany and in continuation of the 2010 exhibition shown at the Architecture Museum of the Munich Technical University uses examples from Berlin to Brasília, which show how modern technology and the genius loci are fused. gmp does not seek to stage architectural metaphors at all costs, regardless of constructive tectonics, but for their projects is always the claim of classical art engineering structures: "less is more".

The architectural language of the stadiums is derived from the logic of construction, function and a reference to the geographical site. The stance gmp has adopted contrary to the medial playground of formalistic vanity is honoured with this exhibition.