the stadthaus is ...
… an international milestone of modern urban architecture!
It is an exhibition space and event hall, modern architectural sculpture and a preserver of traditional roots, a citizens forum and a café and restaurant, a contact point for tourists, a venue for an international festival of contemporary classical music and for performances of contemporary dance.
Furthermore, the Stadthaus is a platform for guest events covering current social topics from the fields of culture, medicine, sciences, media or politics. Upcoming events are listed in the events calendar.
When the derelict former 13th century monastery was demolished in 1874, it was partly due to the desire to emphasise the Ulm Minster. The cathedral was to dominate the square. In 1890, the spire was finally completed, making it the tallest church spire of Christianity.
Until the opening of the Stadthaus in 1993 on the south-west corner of the Minster Square, the city was engaged in a century-long struggle for an appropriate architectural addition that would be able to enter a visual dialogue with the Minster, which sat rather lonely on the large square. 17 competitions and proposals are documented, as well as a number of aborted projects and heated public debates.
In 1986, the city of Ulm called for yet another competition. It should be last, finally providing a solution. On 15 November 1986, the jury decided on a proposal by New York architect Richard Meier.
A storm of protest ensued. With democratic passion, the citizens discussed architecture for years to come. The majority of the local council, the church council, the Minster master builder, the president of the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, and renowned architecture critics supported the proposal. A referendum held in 1987, where the opposition led by 3,000 votes, failed, because the citizens were unable to muster the quorum.
‘You have to actually see one of the most sensitive building sites, maybe in the architectural history of Germany: the Minster Square in Ulm.’ (Dankwart Guratzsch, Die Welt, 25 November1986)
Architect Richard Meier considered the Minster Square to be Ulm's most important intersection, crossed by people from all parts of the city, representing all facets of society. He wanted the Stadthaus to be a welcoming, open building. Which is one reason why admission to the building and all exhibitions is always free.
Since 1993, the pristinely white and geometrically perfect three-storey architectural Sculpture lends the Minster Square clarity and beauty, it has become an integral part of Ulm's centre (at least that is our, not entirely objective, opinion).
The Stadthaus is one of Richard Meier‘s most important European projects, on par with the headquarters of Canal Plus in Paris (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (1995), or the museum angewandte kunst in Frankfurt (1985). The ‘starchitect’ and Pritzker laureate caused a sensation in 1997 with his design of the Getty Center in Los Angeles. January 2000 saw the completion of his futuristic church in the outskirts of Rome.
The Stadthaus produces and co-produces cultural projects. It is a much used and popular citizens‘ forum with guest events from the fields of culture, science, politics, media and social matters. The hall can accommodate up to 340 people.