20 June 2012


Sixteen third and fourth year architecture students from the University of Malta were last March taken on a 1700km road trip round Germany by architects Matthew J. Mercieca and Janice Fiorentino. Once landed in Munich on a Sunday afternoon the trip kicked off on a vehicular theme at the BMW Museum, and the first day was later capped off with a german custom – a beer at the Hofbrauhaus.

Still in Munich, the students were taken to the BMW plant for an exclusive plant tour. This was one of the highlights as motorised intelligent robots move systematically to form the complete vehicle. As architects and as Le Corbusier followers, it was interesting analysing the assembly of car components, which could be linked and also envisaged to be the futuristic assembly of building components to form the complete whole.

Back in BMW Welt for a showround, the students experienced the architectural and structural masterpiece of Coop Himmelblau with its floating curved bridges and high open spaces. Later on in the evening, we also popped by the Academy of fine arts and the colour changing Allianz Arena by starchitects Herzog and De Meuron.

A drive to Stuttgart ended up at the Porsche Museum: a large cantilevered reflective building mass, where external linearity flows to the inside space. The students were also taken on a surprise trip to Weil am Rhein at the Vitra Campus – a manifestation of iconic architecture mainly the Vitrahaus by Herzog and de Meuron, the Zaha Hadid Fire Station and Tadao Ando multipurpose centre.

Breaking off from the contemporary architecture overdose at mid-trip, we all paced back in time and went back to basics by spending a peaceful night in the forest, at a medieval castle Dornröschenschloss in Sababurg.

Driving up to Wolfsburg, the Pheano Centre, a floating curvaceous structure by Zaha Hadid was visited, and soon after that, a drive to Dessau to the Bauhaus – where it all began! The students had the opportunity to visit houses built by the master of modern movement Walter Gropius and other Bauhaus leaders, and a night was spent also in the 1920s dorms of the Bauhaus.

The road trip ended off in Berlin visiting other iconic buildings in the city mainly the Jewish museum by Daniel Libezkind and the remarkable reconstruction of Norman Foster’s Reichstag.

A word of gratitude towards Architect Janice Fiorentino who organised the event.