Max Dudler—Narrating Spaces


ISBN 978-3-86859-556-7

Max Dudler

Edited by

Simone Boldrin

Almost everything disturbs me.


Essays, places, furniture


11 In Conversation, Max Dudler and Simone Boldrin

19 Place and Event, Peter Cachola Schmal

30 Where Did the Mouse Celebrate?, Kasper König

51 Dancing about Architecture, Milan Bulaty

87 Genius Loci, Renate Kreckel

108 An Hommage, Georg F. Thoma















15 Schwarzes Cafe, Frankfurt am Main

16 Grey Flannel Menswear Store, Frankfurt am Main

17 Hildebrandts, Frankfurt am Main

18 Berliner Bank, Berlin

22 Sale e Tabacchi, Berlin

32 IBM Headquarter, Zurich

38 Museum Ritter, Waldenbuch

44 Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum, Berlin

54 Chasa Sent, Sent

62 Europaallee: University of Teacher Education, Zurich

68 Europaallee: Europaallee House, Zurich

74 Folkwang Library, Essen

80 Hambach Castle, Neustadt an der Weinstraße

90 New Civic Center, Reutlingen

96 IBM Annex, Zurich

102 Tack Room, Heidelberg Palace

110 Cantzheim, Kanzem an der Saar

116 City Library Heidenheim, Heidenheim an der Brenz



23 27








81 119 121




Black Monday series

27, 45, 46, 113 Chair, cherrywood

23–25 Chair, cherrywood, with cushion

28, 39–43 Chair, black varnish, with cushion

Max Dudler series

56, 57, 72, 73, 114, 115 Chair, cherrywood

112 Chair, cherrywood, stackable

120 Chair, black varnish, stackable

117, 119, 122 Chair, white varnish, stackable

121 Chair, white varnish, with armrest

111 Bar stool, cherrywood

56, 57 Dining table, cherrywood


Hambach series

81–86, 103, 105–107 Chair

114, 115 Four-legged table, cherrywood

81–86, 103, 105–107, 113 Four-legged table, cherrywood with linoleum

120 Four-legged table, black varnish with linoleum

119 Four-legged table, white varnish with linoleum

121 Side table, white varnish with linoleum



In Conversation

Max Dudler and Simone Boldrin

SB Max, for more than thirty years you have worked on a wide range of

themes. Owing to its relevance, your architecture is in the top tier of the

international contemporary architectural scene, and of course, you still

have many projects ahead of you. Even so—or perhaps precisely because

of this—it is exciting to look back on these past rewarding years. In Max

Dudler—Narrating Spaces you embark on a photographic and narrative

journey through the interior spaces of your architecture. It starts with

your first projects in Frankfurt am Main, some of them—like the

Schwarzes Cafe, the Hildebrandts, or the shop for the Grey Flannel

Menswear Store—now sadly deteriorated. Like a first foundation stone,

these projects introduce the narrative and take us back to the beginning—

and with this book we have the opportunity to rediscover their stories. In

your opinion, what has greater significance for an architect’s professional

path at the start of their career—a big project or a small one? And how do

their challenges differ?

MD The city is a pertinent topic for architects today. The city and its

atmosphere are the result of the interweaving of smaller places. Conversely,

the smaller places allow one to recognize and understand the

essence of a city. For that reason alone, small projects are of enormous

importance for the careers of young architects. Architects such as Adolf

Loos all gained renown through small projects. However, it is not about

big or small for me. It is more about the coherence of the work. In order

not just to build rooms but to create spaces, one must really engage with

the task at hand. For me personally, my early small projects were important

because small projects allow an architect to really think through his

concept and to realize it systematically. They are simply easier to

grasp—you don’t get stuck in formalities. It is also easier to communicate

small projects to a wider public. As an architect, you have to

develop large projects together with various other people. You may have

to compromise—although I never compromise!

SB Your early smaller projects, therefore, enabled you from the very

beginning to achieve the architectural quality that still characterizes your

work today. And I think that some projects are also particularly accomplished

because—to a certain extent—you created them for yourself …


MD Yes, I built many spaces just for myself! (laughs) I simply like

spending time in public places such as cafés and restaurants where

people meet and come into contact. To me as an architect, that is also a

self-evident, important task in architecture: creating public spaces,

places like libraries or cafés, where people can meet. After all, we also

design our libraries as communal and communicative spaces. They are

intended not only for reading and writing, but as places for people to

have discussions, spend time, and discover new things.

This is why—for example—the Grimm-Zentrum in Berlin, with its

terraced reading room, is intended to create opposition. It creates an

area of tension, a space in which everyone is a spectator and a protagonist

at the same time.

Berliner Bank

Berlin, 1996


Place and Event

Peter Cachola Schmal


The Schwarzes Cafe on Schweizer Straße in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen and

the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (the DAM, or the German Architecture

Museum) on Schaumainkai once stood in perfect symbiosis. No

exhibition opening or presentation at the DAM took place without being

followed up at the Schwarzes Cafe—just as today we know and enjoy the

way the Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW) and its Cafe Corbaci (designed

by Lacaton & Vassal) complement one another. At the time, architects

dressed in black often sat in front of the Schwarzes Cafe’s mirror wall and

black-varnished wooden walls late into the night—arguing loudly, drinking

red wine, and making fountain-pen sketches on the white paper

serviettes over linen tablecloths. Some of those sketches have doubtlessly

ended up in our archive.

They kept themselves to themselves; another black-varnished wall separated

the long room, with its completely glazed side facing Schweizer

Straße, into two independent areas: the dining room and the bar and

kitchen. This arrangement was conceptually a very strong, willful statement,

and a true spatial marvel—for within the dividing wall were three

toilets, each with its own little washroom, as well as a cloakroom with a

telephone niche and a till. A deeply-proportioned wall—in effect, a

dividing spatial wall—as wide as the entrance door was situated precisely

at the point of access, so that one had to make a decision immediately

when entering: café or bar? Officially, the place was called Cafe Bar, but

this generic name was never able to establish itself against the unofficial

and obvious Schwarzes Cafe pseudonym. This is how the project is referred

to today on the websites of its two architects—Max Dudler, and his

brother Karl Dudler, older by one year. Schwarzes Cafe opened in 1986,

two years after the DAM designed by Oswald Mathias Ungers. At the

time, Max Dudler was working in Ungers’s Frankfurt office, and was the

project manager for the Frankfurt Messehaus 9 and the Galerie Messe

there. His brother had worked on the Landeszentralbank project in the

PAS Bernhard Müller + Jochem Jourdan/Berghof Landes Rang working

group. Following this, the two of them joined with Pete Welbergen to

form the firm Dudler Dudler Welbergen Architekten. They were also

responsible for the DAM’s comprehensive second location, a converted

stamp factory on Hedderichstraße, where the museum has housed its

archive, library, and most of its offices since 1989.

The concept of spatial walls as a logical development of reducing the

nonessential was evident in Unger’s work at the time. Within the spatial

walls there are, according to Louis Kahn’s theory of spatial hierarchies, the

“serving rooms.” Here, they are no longer actual rooms, as they disappear

within the walls and concede the spatial presence to the “served rooms.” In

the case of the Schwarzes Cafe, these are the dining room to the left and

the bar to the right. Oswald Mathias Ungers first applied the concept of

spatial walls when building the DAM, where the inner exhibition rooms

never touch the shell of the old gutted villa. Distinctive spatial walls

separate and enclose the auditorium and the three exhibition levels.

Within these walls are all the necessary serving rooms, from the till, café

kitchen, and the cloakroom space by the museum entrance to the two

stairwells, lift, electric rooms, storage spaces, and access routes to the



Where Did the Mouse Celebrate?

Kasper König

In 1988, I started a professorship at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. For

anything to do with business, even outside of my studies, I liked to meet

at one of the pizzerias or cider-serving Äppelwoi-serving pubs in

Sachsenhausen. I also enjoyed going to the Schwarzes Cafe, which was

a gathering-place between the Portikus exhibition hall hibbdebach (north

of the river) and the Städelschule dribbdebach (south of the river).

Like a stage, the café was situated—a perfect, formalized room, like an

Edward Hopper painting—between the theater and Schweizer Platz,

with the Main river flowing between the two points. I usually leaned

my bicycle, unlocked, against one of the two big display windows,

keeping an eye on the street to prevent any potential theft by sprinting

out—a tactic somewhere between outpacing, charging, and immediate

action. Schweizer Straße was ideally situated: there was a Sparkasse

bank on the corner of Gartenstraße, a newspaper and cigarette shop

right nearby, and the tram and subway were just a hop, skip, and jump


What made the place was its amazing readability. There was a

black-lacquered dividing wall right behind the door, the same size as

the opening, behind which the entire service area was housed. At the

end of the room there was a mirrored wall. Everything was very

straightforward—there were no more than ten tables covered with white

tablecloths, as well as a long bar. The acoustics were good, and the

service was friendly without being smarmy. Even alone you could feel

comfortable in the simplicity, enjoying the ebb and flow of guests. The

dark and very beautifully finished interior elements integrated into the

framework of the white, tectonically spare surrounding room and its

truly tight furnishing. The concept of the place allowed for many social

constellations. For a time, the brothers Max and Karl Dudler immensely

enriched their client-city Frankfurt there—much like the Portikus

abutting the Obermainbrücke, which I interpreted as a shoebox with a

skylight behind a classicistic façade.

An experience I remember well summarizes the quality of the place for

me. I had an appointment at the café with my daughter Lili, who was

studying singing at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing

Arts. That afternoon, three yuppies from the stock exchange had

congregated there, boasting loudly on their cell phones, which in those

days were still unusual, extremely large, and bone-shaped. During her

training, Lili had learnt to whisper in a way that could be heard and

easily understood a few tables away. At the time, there was a vogue for

jokes referring to the children’s TV program Die Sendung mit der Maus

(The Show with the Mouse), like there would later be for jokes about

blondes or Opel Mantas. She managed to tell a story—fit for the stage

and ostensibly privately—about the orange mouse and the little blue

elephant from the show for the benefit of the three who were telephoning

indiscreetly. It went like this: The mouse and the elephant are on a

walk together, when the mouse unexpectedly falls down a hole. The

elephant reaches his long trunk down the hole and rescues the mouse.

The two are delighted with their friendship and continue on their way.

Then the elephant unexpectedly falls into a deep hole as well. The


mouse dangles its tail down, but can’t reach—the elephant can’t get out.

In the end, the mouse pulls out a cell phone and calls a tow truck. The

elephant is dragged out and the two continue their stroll. The moral of

the story: you only need a cell phone if you’re making up for something

else not being long enough. The three guests put their money on the

table and quickly disappeared.








Dancing about Architecture

Milan Bulaty


Once when I was at IKEA in Berlin-Tempelhof, I could not take my

eyes off the other customers. At first, I took a closer look because I

heard many different languages. The customers evidently came from all

over the world—they were young and old and every age in between. It

also seemed to me that almost all layers of society were represented. I

watched friends, couples in love, and families discuss and even argue

about the beauty of shelves, sofas, and tables. Everyone wanted to buy

tasteful furniture to create an appealing interior for their own home.

We all want to spend time in beautiful rooms. It appears to be a universal

desire. We feel good in beautiful spaces. Within them, we work

better, relax better, and live better. At the same time, the spatial design

should serve certain purposes, and the furniture should be appropriately

functional. It is easier to agree on the latter than the former. A room is

beautiful if we perceive it as such—but what is beautiful for one person

is not necessarily so for another. During my philosophy studies I had

little to do with aesthetics. I learnt a lot during my library internship,

but not how to build a beautiful library. I knew only this: we humans

strive for beauty, whether it is in our own appearance, our clothes, or

the environments we spend time in. We love beautiful shapes, movements,

and fragrances. We take delight in fascinating atmospheres and

great sounds. When we talk or write about them, we use comparisons.

And we usually fail.

After the building permit and financing for a new central library at the

Humboldt University in Berlin had been secured, we had to set out what

we actually wanted. At the time, we already had experience with conversions,

renovations, and building projects throughout the library

system. As such, the task was not an entirely new one—but due to the

scale of the building project and its exposed location right by the Friedrichstraße

S-Bahn train station, as well as its importance for the university,

it was significantly more difficult than previous projects. The

library was Humboldt University’s first new building after “Die

Wende”—the events leading to and including the reunification of

Germany—in Berlin-Mitte. Everybody wanted it to represent the alma

mater, which had been renewed in many respects. The more I asked

around amongst the members of the university, the more impossible the

task of bringing together the different ideas and selecting a suitable

design from the competition seemed to me.

Back then—at the beginning of the twenty-first century—a lively

dispute about the function of libraries was already taking place. The

process of digitization was starting, and we could imagine that the

library’s entire collection might eventually be presented on the Internet,

accessible to everyone. Would it not make more sense to use the money

for a datacenter and digitization? Would we even need a library building?

And a new building at that? I too asked myself these questions. I

had been mistaken about future developments several times in my life

and had suffered the consequences accordingly. I therefore reckoned on

my views potentially being wrong. Even so, I believed this: if we were to

build a university library, it had to offer something that cannot be found

anywhere else—a big reading room with a unique atmosphere. A room










Nothing is inside, nothing is outside: because what is inside is outside.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Genius Loci

Renate Kreckel


As the new building at Hambach Castle took shape, a first glance

through the restaurant windows revealed an interlinking of the indoors

and outdoors representative of the overall effect of the conversion and

extension by the Max Dudler architecture firm. Windows and window

slits of different heights and widths afford fabulous views of the Haardt

Mountains. The lower windows were integrated into the head-high

wooden cladding, gaining a wooden frame, while the upper ones were

outlined by narrow black steel frames on white plaster. The interior and

exterior are thus presented together as framed landscape paintings—as a

whole gallery of landscapes. This is an unplanned but nevertheless

coherent special feature of this building project; a fortunate set of

circumstances resulting from Max Dudler’s insightful sense for the

characteristics of a location like this one.

The House as a Wall

From the beginning, Hambach Castle and its history fascinated Max

Dudler. The location would not let him go. During the planning process

any surface would serve to record his thoughts, and so the odd tablecloth

was repurposed as an ideas jotter. The work that Dudler’s firm submitted

to the competition for the conversion of the castle in 2004 was very much

in favor of continuing the building work that had taken place over previous

centuries This kind of expansion, continuing historic construction, requires

knowledge of the location, the building, and its uses over time. However,

places are not defined only by their measurements and documented

history. For Max Dudler, it is especially the genius loci—the atmosphere,

the aura—of a location that plays an important role. In this respect,

Hambach Castle and the Schlossberg it stands on are an almost magical

place, characterized by the location and the checkered thousand-year

history with huge significance to Europe.

With their sights set firmly on the objective—creating a modern venue for

conferences and conventions while always taking the historical significance

of the castle into consideration—a highly motivated team set to work in

2005. In the first building phase, the historical building was renovated and

converted in a contemporary manner, so that a new stairwell with a glass

lift was completed in time for the 175th anniversary of the Hambach

Festival in May 2007. One and a half years later, a festival hall and

exhibition rooms followed. The construction of the new entrance

building, which also houses the restaurant, and the redesign of the

castle grounds were realized in further construction phases. Evoking the

style of a defensive wall, the new building complements the existing

ensemble brilliantly. This is due not least to the fact that it uses the

same light sandstone with which the historical building was built.

The wall became a house. The house became a wall. The monolithic

castle complex has been further consolidated with this punctum saliens—

a strong landmark, visible from afar.












About Max Dudler


Max Dudler (born in Altenrhein, Switzerland) founded the Max Dudler

firm in 1992, which now has branches in Berlin, Zurich, Frankfurt am

Main, and Munich. In 2004, Dudler was appointed professor at the

Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. He also taught at the Università Iuav di

Venezia, the Alma Mater Studiorum Università Bologna, the Politecnico

di Milano, Technical University of Dortmund, and Technical University

of Munich.

His work has received many awards, including the BDA’s 2010 best

urban development Grand Nike Award for the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-

Grimm-Zentrum, the 2012 DAM Prize for Architecture in Germany

for his work on Hambach Castle, and the 2015 Hugo-Häring-Landespreis

for the visitor center at Heidelberg Palace. He thrice received the

International Award Architecture in Stone: for the Jacob-und-Wilhelm-

Grimm-Zentrum in 2011, for the visitor center at Heidelberg Palace in

2013, and for Hagenholzstraße in Zurich in 2015.


About the Authors


Simone Boldrin was born in Padua in 1975. He studied architecture at

the Università Iuav di Venezia and at the Technical University of Dortmund,

concluding his studies in Venice in 2002. In 2003 he started

working at the Max Dudler firm in Berlin. From 2004, he was the

project manager for the restoration and extension of Hambach Castle

from the first competition phase to the completed construction. The

projects for Heidelberg Palace and Sparrenburg Castle followed, as well

as for the Cantzheim wine estate and many other works with an emphasis

on listed property contexts. In addition to his work as an architect, he

works as a curator and holds lectureships at various architecture faculties.

He is co-author of the monograph Max Dudler: Architectures since 1979

published in 2012 by Mondadori Electa.

Milan Bulaty was born in Prague in 1946, where he also grew up and

initially studied electrical engineering. He began studying philosophy

at Charles University in 1968. In 1970 he emigrated to Switzerland and

from there moved to Germany. Bulaty continued to study philosophy at

Freiburg im Breisgau and Heidelberg and graduated in 1975. He

completed a doctorate in philosophy in 1979. Between 1981 and 1992

he worked at the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek (America Memorial

Library) in Berlin. From 1992 to 2011 he was the director of the library

at Humboldt University in Berlin, and the founding director of the

Jacob-und-Wilhelm-Grimm-Zentrum. He is the editor of the photography

and essay volume Bibliothek, which was published by Berlin

Verlag in 2010 to celebrate the opening of the new Grimm-Zentrum

building. In 2017 he published the book Arbeitstage (Hentrich & Hentrich).

Kasper König was born in 1943. His projects as an exhibition organizer

include Claes Oldenburg (1966) and Andy Warhol (1968) at the Moderna

Museet in Stockholm, as well as On Kawara at the Kunsthalle Bern

(1974). After several years in New York and having taught in Halifax,

Canada, König was appointed to the newly established professorship of

Art and Publicity at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in 1985. Between

1989 and 2000, he was the rector of the Städelschule in Frankfurt am

Main and founding director of the Portikus exhibition hall. From 2000 to

2012 he directed the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. In 2014 König curated

Manifesta 10 in St. Petersburg. In 1977 he was invited by Klaus Bußmann

to be a co-founder of the Skulptur Projekte Münster, which are held every

ten years. He was artistic director for the Skulptur Projekte Münster in 2017.


Renate Kreckel studied architecture at the Technische Universität

Darmstadt. In 1983 she entered the State Building Administration of the

Rhineland-Palatinate region. There, she worked as head of department in

the Mainz State Building Authority and as a representative of the

divisional manager in the Bad Kreuznach State Building Authority. In

1987 she moved to the Finance Department of Koblenz and became

director of internal audits in the Building Department. In 1991 she took

over the Department for University Building for the Rhineland-Palatinate

region at the Ministry of Finance. From 2005 until her retirement,

she was director of the Building Department at the Ministry of Finance

for the Rhineland-Palatinate region. She represented the federal state for

the Hambach Castle and Arp Museum Bahnhof Rolandseck trusts.

Peter Cachola Schmal was born in Altötting in 1960 and grew up in

Pakistan, Indonesia, and Germany. He studied architecture at the Technische

Universität Darmstadt and worked at Behnisch & Partner in

Stuttgart and ABE Architekten in Zeppelinheim. He was a research

associate at TU Darmstadt and lecturer at the Fachhochschule in

Frankfurt am Main. From 2000 he worked as a research associate and

curator at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), of which he has

been the director since 2006. He was commissary general and co-curator

of the German contributions to the 7th International Architecture

Biennale of São Paulo (2007) and the 15th International Architecture

Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia (2017), and is the author of many

books and contributions to specialist volumes and magazines.

Georg F. Thoma (born in Trier) works as an attorney at law in Frankfurt

am Main and lives in Neuss. Along with his wife Maria E. Thoma

and his four children, he is actively involved in art and architecture. He

is a board member of the Stiftung UAA Ungers Archiv für Architekturwissenschaft

in Cologne (an archive foundation for architectural

science), chairman of the Freundeskreis der Stiftung UAA Ungers

Archiv für Architekturwissenschaft—e.V., Cologne, deputy chairman of

the board of trustees for the Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf,

chairman of the Freunde Museum Kunstpalast in Düsseldorf, and

a member of the board of trustees for the Stiftung Situation Kunst (für

Max Imdahl) in Bochum.





Weinstraße 4

D-54441 Kanzem an der Saar

Chasa Sent

CH-7554 Sent


Europaallee House

Europaallee 21

CH-8004 Zurich


University of Teacher Education

Lagerstraße 2

CH-8090 Zurich

New Civic Center

Manfred-Oechsle-Platz 1

D-72764 Reutlingen

Sale e Tabacchi

Rudi-Dutschke-Staße 23

D-10969 Berlin

Tack Room, Heidelberg Palace

Neue Schlossstraße 1

D-69117 Heidelberg

City Library Heidenheim

Willy-Brandt-Platz 1

D-89522 Heidenheim an der Brenz

Folkwang Library

Klemensborn 39

D-45239 Essen

Hambach Castle

D-67434 Neustadt an der Weinstraße

IBM Annex

Herostraße 12

CH-8048 Zurich

IBM Headquarter

Vulkanstraße 106

CH-8048 Zurich


Geschwister-Scholl-Straße 1-3

D-10117 Berlin

Museum Ritter

Alfred-Ritter-Straße 27

D-71111 Waldenbuch



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