History of the TU München Architecture Museum
The Architecture Museum was established in 1868 as a collection of teaching material for aspiring architects at the New Polytechnic School, the predecessor of what is now Technische Universität. When Friedrich von Thiersch erected a new university building in Gabelsbergerstrasse in 1912, the Architectural Collection was given a large, impressive suite of rooms, which formed the core of the Faculty of Architecture.
Due to changes in architectural tuition – drawings and reference volumes of artwork were replaced by photographs and glass negatives, and architectural design focused more and more on construction and building technology - the historical collection of templates dating back to the 1920s and 1930s was gradually dropped from the curriculum. The Collection increasingly assumed the role of an architectural archive and was used as an academic research institute.
The works that made up the Architectural Collection were transferred elsewhere during World War II and so narrowly escaped being lost forever. Since the magnificent rooms housing the Collection were completely destroyed, the treasures that had been saved were placed in steel cabinets after the war and locked away in depots on the spacious grounds of the university campus.
Ever since 1975, the special academic collection has steadily and systematically been converted into an archive with the functions of a museum and made accessible to a wider public. When plans for a new building were drawn up – and in order to document its character as a public, cultural institution – the Collection was renamed Architecture Museum in 1989.
As the university lacked suitable exhibition space and the Collection had very limited funds, the year 1977 marked the launch of a long-term collaboration with Munich's Stadtmuseum, following which the Architectural Collection put on an exhibition almost annually, hosted by the Stadtmuseum, which also shouldered the outlay for the exhibition and the catalogue. The exhibition catalogues enabled parts of the collection and several private bequests to be examined by experts and duly made accessible to the public. When the special collaboration arrangements with the Stadtmuseum were extended to other museums, diverse sections of the collection went on tour and made "guest appearances" at various venues. A total of 30 exhibitions have since been compiled, co-organized or permanently adopted. Since September 2002, the Architecture Museum of TU München has been one of four independent museums accommodated in the Pinakothek der Moderne. Rotating exhibitions of historic and current architectural eras are held on its own premises.