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UMBAU. Nonstop Transformation

Mondays – Thursdays, all day, Oct. 9 through Nov. 7;

On the heels of gmp’s successful exhibition of adaptive-reuse works that ran parallel to the Venice Biennale of Architecture in Italy last May, the firm debuts its first ever U.S. show in early October at the German cultural center Goethe-Institut USA in New York City. Called UMBAU.Nonstop Transformation — the word umbau translates variously as rebuilding, renovation and conversion — the exhibit will present eight to 10 very different works that all significantly transform their existing buildings and urban settings:

  • Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain (opens in 2024).
  • The competition-winning scheme to convert a massive steel plant into China’s Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts (now in design).
  • A demountable, modular symphony hall created next to a former transformer building in Munich (completed 2021).
  • The recladding and reinvention of Beijing’s Chao Hotel as a cultural destination (completed 2018).
  • The competition-winning scheme to reimagine the 1978 state library in Berlin by noted architect Hans Scharoun (now under construction).


UMBAU (conversion) means the ongoing transformation of existing structures. Given today’s climate goals, UMBAU needs to become the rule rather than the exception. The exhibition by the architects von Gerkan, Marg, and Partners (gmp) presents a selection of the more than sixty projects in gmp’s forty years of UMBAU experience as specific examples of current UMBAU practices that deal with the architectural heritage of the 20th century.

What the projects have in common is the conceptual approach to UMBAU which, starting from a comprehensive inventory of the existing, continues and further develops the old as an architectural evolution. In practice, UMBAU must also integrate overlays and new suppositions. UMBAU is not unique, but continues into the future as a nonstop transformation, as a project of social sustainability spanning generations. UMBAU. Nonstop Transformation debuted in Venice in 2023.


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