A new passepartout for the Hyparschale


Project site: HYPARSCHALE, Magdeburg

Client: Landeshauptstadt Magdeburg – Commission in collaboration with Gerkan, Marg & Partner, International GMBH, Berlin (general contractor)

A new square offers a passepartout for the Hyparschale in Magdeburg’s Stadtpark.

The multi-functional hall “Hyparschale” has been erected in 1969 on the right-hand side meadow of the river Elbe, vis-à-vis the historic city as a part of the fair in Magdeburg – defunct in 1997 the poured-concrete „hypershell“ is listed as a historic monument since 1998.

A significant remaining example of Ulrich Müthers (1934 – 2007) “east-modern” architecture (Ostmoderne), after other significant examples of his work have been demolished e.g. Gaststätte Ahornblatt (Guesthouse Mapleleaf) (2000).

Blick auf die baupolizeilich gesperrte Hyparschale Magdeburg
2010 View of “Hyparschale”, built in 1969 designed by Ulrich Müther.

The free-spanning hyparbolic roof covers an area of 28 x 28 meters – free of columns. After 20 years of vacancy it has been awaiting urgent structural renovation. The current commission by Gerkan, Marg &Partner is underway to renovate the building for use of as a public multi-purpose conference hall, again. In a parallel process the surrounding StadtPark is being refurbished.

The proposal places the hall on a square integrating it with the adjacent City Hall in its context of Magdeburg’s City-Park. The symmetrical structure and access to the building suggests a pass-par-tout, which allows the sculptural roof sufficient space to radiate into the park.

HYPAR 500 Perfor_WegALL
design concept alt B 1:200

The distributed perforation pattern allows for varying gradients of permeable openings and vegetated surface versus solid load-bearing surface areas for vehicular access.

Four Anker are holding the expressive hyperbolic roof structure in the ground. These detail of the roof engaging the ground are integrated in the perforation scheme giving them a more self-explanatory relationship of the building and its environment. the roof water may also be directed to retention volumes under the square.

Although the historic project was all about the geometric expression of the roof it did not account for the significant amount of water shedding from its 900 m2 surface. Today the sculptural quality of the roof may register the additional performance of catchment and conveyance of rainwater.


Published by: paradoXcity

Jorg Sieweke practices as a licensed landscape architect and urban designer in Berlin. Since 2009, he directs the design-research initiative paradoXcity. In 2020 he started a position as Associate Professor to conceive and conduct a new master program in "Landscape architecture for global sustainability" at Norwegian University of Life Science (NMBU), located at the Oslo Fjord. Before he held professorships at University of Virginia and was Visiting Professor at RWTH Aachen and HCU Hamburg in Germany. In 2015 he was resident fellow at Villa Massimo - the German Academy in Rome. ParadoXcity challenges convention of practice in landscape architecture to establish its own trajectory of a landscape & urbanism. With his PhD. (2015) he interrogates the implicit knowledge production in the design process.

Categories current projects, re-use