To me the face of Munich is shaped by three types of buildings: the Baroque palaces, the Jugendstil apartment houses, and the U-Bahn stations.
The U-Bahn of Munich is newer than those of other German cities of comparable size, such as Berlin and Hamburg. The oldest lines and stations only date back to 1971, a year before the Summer Olympics that Munich hosted. The city has probably the largest number of well-designed modern subway stations in Europe.
This portfolio consists of photos of 16 U-Bahn stations, dating from between 1984 and 2010. I took the photos during a few days in early April 2017. My selection is representative in that almost all the stations that are usually mentioned in similar publications are included (with the exception of the Marienplatz station).
You will find all the stations mentioned below on this map:
U4 & U5, 1984
The walls are made of metal plates and not of long boards of wood, which would explain the rustic character of this U-Bahn Station.
U4 & U5, 1984
The Oktoberfest station, decorated in black and yellow, the colours of Munich, should make one think of a beer hall but to me it reminds of a bee.
U4 & U5, 1988
This station makes a reference to the museums that are located in the area by displaying sculptures on its white aluminium-sheet walls. Some arch segments, stretching from the platform to the zenith, are uncovered by the metal, helping to avoid monotony.
The walls of this station are covered with plates of elegant Carrara marble, which, framed and emphasised by black bands, makes the station worthy to bear the name of the famous theatre and opera house standing nearby.
The walls of this station remind me of tree trunks arranged in a long row.
6. Am Hart
The station is located under the wings of a bird. The white aluminium construction absorbs the light and reflects it back to the ground.
The rainbow colours of the lower part of the walls are contained, partly because covered by glass plates. The way the metal bands rise up to the ceiling in the white background is similar to the vertical repetition typical of Gothic churches.
The thick bright yellow pillars in the middle of the platform keep under control the subterranean forces rioting around it. The wall paintings depict the geological strata of the soil into which the station has been built.
The curved train tracks drown in the unrestrained flow of colours. The white patches on the walls are too well placed and too geometrical to be seen as a sign of erosion.
The aluminium screen that covers the ceiling gently distributes light to the floor. The drinking water in Munich comes from the River Mangfall.
U1 & U7, 1998
The big round-shaped lights that fill the station with blue, yellow and red colours also emphasise the horizontals and the verticals of the space.
U1 & U7, 2003
Münchner Abendzeitung described it as the most beautiful metro station in the city, but I find the photos of New York City between the brightly coloured plates a bit tacky.
The small wall pyramids made of stainless steel probably refer back to the Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara (1503) and the Casa dos Bicos in Lisbon (1523).
14. Münchner Freiheit
U3 & U6, 1971/2009
A station as light and alive as its name suggests
The wall panels are covered by very large depictions of animals and plants from the Moosach area. How does their composition differ from that of Portuguese azulejos?
16. Moosacher St.-Martins-Platz
The walls are decorated with 76,200 small photos, which were taken in the Moosach area and are presented chronologically, showing the changing colours of the seasons.