The Wonder of the Munich Subway System
15 April 2017
I’ve just booked my next holiday. I’m so excited and can't wait to have a much needed break! It made me think about some of the beautiful places I’ve been before, and in particular about how special Munich subway was.
A stunning transport system with unique architecture, colours, textures and typography. The Munich U-Bahn is a spectacular sight to see, and it sits below an equally beautiful European city. Quite a young subway system, Munich’s U-Bahn only began in 1972 but now has 98 stations. The early stations were quite plain but as it grew the stations became more and more adventurous in their design.
The first station I saw was Marienplatz, which was one of the most stunning with it's striking orange panels curving above you as you step onto the platform. Designed by Alexander von Branca and opened in 1971, it has two platforms at either side of the City Hall, this done deliberately to avoid having to dig directly under the City Hall.
Luckily I was there early in the morning without many commuters so could get some great photos of this really photogenic place.
This station was opened in 1983 and at the time was one of the more colourful designs. Built for the International Garden Show it become known as the ‘flower line’. The simplicity of the design is what I found most striking, with a range of greens along the wall, and a subtle curve along the top, this station is similar in design to others on its line such as Westpark and Holzapfelkreuth.
Großhadern is an unusual station with an earthly textured wall, painted by Johannes Klinger, which represents the geographical layers of where the U-Bahn was built. It has yellow pillars and a swerving aluminium structure that runs along the ceiling of the station with a clever purpose:
“The massive structure of reflectors carried by the columns provides indirect lighting.”
A striking and unique U-Bahn station, the shapes, colours and textures made it one of my favourites to explore.
This station looked just like one of my studded belts, but much larger! It is quite an eye-catching sight with stainless steel pyramid-shaped pieces, that reflect the light that shines on them from the lighting beams above.
A beautiful station with a spectrum of colours like a rainbow or colour chart, along the walls. This was a station I was most keen to see and it didn't disappoint. One of the most colourful stations in Munich, with panes of glass covering the walls of different colours and widths, with an interesting wave like shape rising from the coloured panes below.
Another colourful station is Georg-Brauchle-Ring, with a spectacular view all the way through, which is achieved as no pillars are present to obstruct the onlooker.
“Georg-Brauchle-Ring station carries the name of a road which is named after a former vice-mayor”
Designed by Franz Ackermann, the walls have strong coloured panels as well as panes with images from the local area. This was another eye-catching station, as I particularly like large blocks of colour, definitely one of my favourites.
St Quirin Platz
The textured walls feel like they have been there for centuries, giving this station an ancient and historic feeling. The walls are actually made from untreated bored piles, and with the ceiling covered in reflecting aluminium panels, these light up the darkly coloured walls.
Stepping onto Westfriedhof is like stepping onto a film set, it looks like a place too exceptional for public transport! It’s atmospheric lighting system is like no other, with 11 huge lampshades overhead, bathing the platform in blue, yellow and red hues.
“An unnatural, almost discotheque atmosphere perhaps speaks of the name, Westfriedhof (West Cemetery)”
Below the City
These were the highlights of Munich subway but all the stations are special in their own way. When visiting Munich, the sites above ground are stunning but don’t forget the beautiful subway stations that live below the city.
Quotes: Florian Schutz, München U-Bahn Album. Benjamin Blankenbehler, architecturereviewed.com respectively.