Mae West (artwork)

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Mae West on the tunneled under Effnerplatz

The Mae West is after the actress Mae West called work of art on the Effnerplatz in Munich - Bogenhausen . The 52-meter-high sculpture designed by the artist Rita McBride is a bar structure made of tubes in the form of a rotational hyperboloid . Most of the pipes are made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic .

The Mae West was created during the redesign and tunneling of Effnerplatz, which was completed in 2006, as part of the obligation to spend a share of money on public buildings for their artistic design, the art of building . Their shape, size and cost were controversial in the city ​​council and among the population. It was planned since 2002, its construction started in October 2010 and completed in January 2011. The Munich tram has been running through the plastic since December 2011 .

Location and connection

Mae West is located on the central island of Effnerplatz in Munich's Bogenhausen district , where the Mittlerer Ring between Isarring and Richard-Strauss-Straße and the connection between Bülowstraße and Effnerstraße intersect on different levels . It is located directly above the Effner tunnel through which the middle ring leads. In addition to Bülowstrasse and Effnerstrasse, the entrances and exits of the Mittlerer Ring also flow into the surrounding street. To the east of the square is the Arabellapark , whose skyscrapers determine the appearance of the square. The Effnerplatz tram stop is about 100 meters southwest of the sculpture . Also buses of Munich hold near the Mae West. Your stop is also Effnerplatz.


Idea, planning and development

The film actress Mae West gave its name
Looking up into the work of art Mae West
Articulated (concealed) pipes, wrapped with carbon fiber reinforced plastic

Effnerplatz was selected as a location for an art object in 2002 by the Commission for Art in Buildings and in Public Space as part of the tunnel construction project Mittlerer Ring Ost ; eight artists were asked to come up with ideas for this place.

The proposal by the American artist Rita McBride prevailed against designs by Thomas Schütte and Dennis Oppenheim , among others . The shape and height of the McBride sculpture take up the roundness of the square and the height of the neighboring Arabella and Hypo skyscrapers. The sculpture marks the Effnerplatz traffic junction with a distinctive town sign. The lattice structure chosen by McBride is an expression of her endeavor to “not monumentally occupy a space, but rather to enclose a nothing”. This also meant that she did not plan to illuminate the plastic at night and always refused.

The preliminary decision in favor of McBride was made in the art commission in January 2003. In July, their more precise proposal was presented and was jointly assessed positively by the art commission and the urban design commission. The artist was asked again for clarification; this time to be able to check technical and legal questions. The specification led to an improved design that McBride developed in collaboration with Werner Sobek's engineering office . Above all, the material for the bars was changed from steel to the much lighter carbon fiber reinforced plastic . McBride liked the plastic because of its surface structure. The height of the sculpture was reduced from the original 60 meters to 52 meters and the waist was made smaller.

The planned sculpture was originally titled Tower. According to McBride, the designation Mae West was introduced as a “diversionary maneuver” when the discussion mainly revolved around technical aspects such as the statics of the construction. She thereby drew attention to her preference for the shape of the rotational hyperboloid, which reminded her of an initially nameless, very waisted dancer with a bell-shaped swinging skirt.

Because of its size and cost of a good 1.5 million euros, the plastic was controversial in the city council and in the district committee. Lord Mayor Christian Ude rejected the sculpture because he didn't like it. He compared them to an egg cup and a flower stand that could be bought in hardware stores as cheaper plastic. The fact that McBride reduced the originally intended height from 60 meters to 52 meters and made the plastic slimmer is probably due to the criticism of an SPD city ​​councilor who compared the previous version with the scaffolding of a cooling tower . Arguments of the proponents were, among other things, that due to the corrosion-resistant material there would be hardly any maintenance costs and that culture in Munich was the number one economic factor. Finally, the city council voted with a majority through CSU , Die Grünen / Rosa Liste , FDP and three other city council members with 40 to 35 against the votes of the SPD and ÖDP for the production of the sculpture.

Critical residents found the cost of the work of art unreasonable and would have preferred to spend the money on social causes instead. Bernhard Schilling, professor of architecture, even saw the work of art as plagiarism of the Port Tower in Kobe and the Center Point Tower in Sydney .

After the local district committee had spoken out in favor of the project as a result of several information events for the residents and the citizens of the city quarter in June 2004, the city council decided to initiate the master plan procedure. This came to a positive conclusion in October 2007 with the approval decision of the city council. The development plan became legally valid in March 2008. Because of the proposed new type of plastic material and the innovative manufacturing technology of the planned pipes, an “individual approval” from the Supreme Building Authority was then required.


The construction contract with a volume of 1.54 million euros was awarded to a consortium consisting of McBride and CGB Carbon Großbauteile GmbH from Wallerstein , which jointly operated as the consortium of artwork Mae West on Effnerplatz in Munich . The carboxylic large components GmbH was selected as a special company for the production of large carbon-fiber reinforced plastic parts. She also manufactured the connecting elements between the plastic pipes and the rings connecting them and among each other and finally took over the construction management, so that she was also responsible for the construction of the plastic at Effnerplatz.

The starting material for winding the pipes was bundles of about seven micrometers thick carbon fibers, so-called rovings , and resin as plastic. From the bundles impregnated with the resin, tubular skeletons were first wound, which were then wrapped again crosswise with flat fiber bundles impregnated with resin on a further winding machine. The form-fitting contact parts of the connecting elements located at the ends were also wrapped. A regular diamond pattern of the intersecting threads was created. The pipes created by this process hardened in an oven for twelve hours at 60 to 90 degrees Celsius. Finally, the surface was sealed against embrittlement of the material by the UV rays of sunlight. A production time of around three days resulted per tube.

To support the “approval in individual cases”, samples were regularly taken by scientists from the Technical University of Munich during the manufacture of the pipes and checked for sufficient strength.

The groundbreaking took place on October 21, 2010. The completion of the sculpture was planned for December, but was delayed to the night of January 30 to 31, 2011 due to occasional frosty temperatures, when the approximately 36 meter high upper part was lifted with the help of a 600 tonne load-bearing crane was placed on the 15 meter high base.

Under the project management of Johann Wittmann , the lower part was assembled with the help of scaffolding on which the lower part of the connecting ring had been placed. The upper part was put together on the floor next door with the help of two conical assembly bodies located inside. The two parts were finally connected to one another by screwing together the steel rings that lay on top of one another, delimiting the lower and upper parts.

Since the establishment

In April 2011, the tracks of the extended tram line from Effnerplatz to St. Emmeram were laid through Mae West, on which the Munich tram has continued to St. Emmeram since December 2011.


In the Mae West: look straight up

The Schuchow radio tower in Moscow from 1896 was the first tower to use the geometric surface of rotation hyperboloid . It was based on a design by the Russian engineer, scientist and architect Vladimir Schuchow . McBride's sculpture is a similar open frame structure built entirely from straight beams. The bars form the superordinate shape of the hyperboloid of revolution, which is curved in two directions. This surface, a so-called control area , creates one to the rotation axis by rotation skew lines. This corresponds to the two rows of pipes inclined towards one another and to the central axis, distributed in a circle around the central axis of Mae West. Viewed from the outside, the pipes run to the larger ring from bottom right to top left; reversed to the smaller ring. In their inclined course, the straight pipes approach the central axis of the sculpture. The hyperbola shape remains hidden from the view from the inside of the construction upwards, one sees only a linear pattern.

In the lower part, about 15 meters high, the 32 identical pipes made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic contain a steel pipe core as protection against impact in the event of a traffic accident. Each pipe is articulated on the floor via its steel core. The upper part of the Mae West, which is held together with the lower part by 128 screws, consists of 32 identical, slightly conical tubes made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic. Each tube is 40 meters long, has an outer diameter of 225 to 275 millimeters, the wall thickness is around 15 millimeters, and weighs only 550 kilograms. A comparable steel pipe has about six times the weight.

The lower diameter of the sculpture is 32 meters, the upper 19.5 meters and the one at the waist 7.5 meters. The total weight of the plastic is around 200 tons. The upper rings, which have a tube diameter of 220 millimeters, and the box-shaped intermediate ring, which is 1320 millimeters wide and 310 millimeters high, are made of steel and are coated with an anti-corrosion agent. An electric heater was built into them to prevent icicles from forming on them , which could injure passers-by if they fall down .


Mae West at dusk

On the website of the Kunst am Bau in Munich, Heinz Schütz stated that, in contrast to many comparable works, McBride's work of art was an “end in itself”. In this way, "[i] your functionlessness and form [...] stimulate the imagination to the most varied associations ". Schütz is convinced that the Mae West will "become a distinctive contemporary city symbol in the urban fabric". However, even five years after it was built, the work of art was mocked by many Munich residents. In connection with the actress Mae West, the plastic is often referred to as a "sex symbol" by the tabloids. The Mae West received numerous nicknames from critical residents, such as “umbrella stand”, “wire entanglement”, “mica pile”, “bath stool”, “fishnet stocking” or “egg cup”.

Marco Völklein, author of the Süddeutsche Zeitung , noticed that Mae West was attracting a lot of attention due to its size. He wrote:

“People should be able to see the large sculpture from a distance from the John F. Kennedy Bridge or from the north on Effnerstrasse. And motorists exiting the Richard Strauss Tunnel from the south-east will also come across Mae West. The large sculpture cannot be overlooked. In the building department they compare the work of art with the Siegestor on Leopoldstrasse or the Friedensengel on the Isar high bank. "

- Marco Völklein : Süddeutsche Zeitung

In 2014, Mae West was also considered, according to the Abendzeitung, to be “probably the best-known, because most obvious, example of art in architecture in Munich”.

Markus Ambach published a commentary on Mae West on the occasion of an exhibition by Rita McBride in the Abteiberg Museum in Mönchengladbach in 2008. In it he sees the work of art dancing “a subtle and inconspicuous minuetto with social values ​​and their representatives”. He believes that the sculpture shows a “canonical dance of all decision-making, regulatory, power and expression organs of society”, so that “at the end of the day, if possible, no realization, but a huge amount of social participation , political agitation and democratic affection [... ] preserved ”.

Ambach speculates that Mae West is trying to “produce communication as a pure form and its own value”. He sees the “latent swing of the hip” as a “projection surface for society”, in “disputes between egg cup visionaries and cooling tower technocrats, between traditional fetishists , art autonomists and urban designers and their ubiquitous participation frenzy”. He thinks that McBride wants to “bring people back to reality” with the work. The sculpture is supposed to explain the way to the goal in a "classic twist [...] and show that" spectacle as a real and transparent event of social value production and self-employment ".

At the Munich city council meeting on July 7, 2004, Ursula Sabathil stated that the round shape of Mae West with the roundabout on Effnerplatz could be understood as "a very beautiful allegory ".

Web links

Commons : Mae West (Munich)  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Stop Effnerplatz in Munich . Haltestellen- Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved July 6, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  2. a b c d e City of Munich, Building Department, QUIVID, individual works: McBride, Rita: Mae West ( article online ).
  3. a b c Birgit Sonna: hoop skirt and wasp waist . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . May 17th, 2010 ( article online ).
  4. a b Mae West: A debate over 52 meters . In: . Evening newspaper . January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 15, 2013.
  5. ^ A b c City of Munich: Decision of the joint building and culture committee and the office for urban planning and building regulations . June 23, 2004, p. 8, 2 and 3 ( article online [PDF]).
  6. Mae West remains unlit . In: evening newspaper . June 26, 2013 ( article online ).
  7. a b c d New city gate for Munich . In: Bogenhausener Anzeiger . May 29, 2007. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  8. ^ Slimming diet for "Mae West" . In: Münchner Merkur . April 27, 2004 ( article online ).
  9. Public Fiction ( English ) In: . Art Academy Düsseldorf . 2012. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  10. a b Mae West in Munich East . In: Münchner Merkur . July 7, 2004 ( article online ).
  11. Captain circumnavigates the shallow art . In: . tz . August 6, 2004. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
  12. a b c verbatim protocol (PDF; 340 kB) In: . City council of the state capital Munich. July 7th, 2004. Archived from the original on July 17th, 2013. Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Retrieved July 6, 2013. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  13. a b Rather "nuclear power plant cooling tower" as a sex symbol . In: evening newspaper . April 30, 2004 ( article online ).
  14. Munich's Mae West - everything just stolen? In: tz . January 25, 2011 ( article online ).
  15. ^ Franz Kotteder: A sex goddess for Munich . Süddeutsche Zeitung , March 14, 2011
  16. ^ A b c Susanne Sasse: Mae West: The Happy End . In: tz . January 31, 2011 ( article online ).
  17. ^ "Mae West": 52 meter high carbon work of art . In: . CGB carbon large components. Retrieved March 22, 2014.
  18. a b c Bettina Stuhlweissenburg: Female curves made of carbon . In: Münchner Merkur . May 6, 2010 ( article online ).
  19. Technical University of Munich, Chair of Solid Construction: Use of new innovative materials in structural engineering . 2011 ( article online ).
  20. ^ Mae West artwork on Effnerplatz with further delays . In : . Exclusively Munich. January 30, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  21. ^ A b Marco Völklein: Mae West, ice cold . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . March 14, 2011 ( article online ).
  22. a b Bogenhausen · Mae West bitches around . In: Münchner Wochenanzeiger . January 31, 2011 ( article online ).
  23. 29.-31.1.11 Munich, Effnerplatz, Mae West . In: . Martin Hoeppel. January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  24. a b c d Marco Völklein: The night of the egg cup . In: Süddeutsche Zeitung . January 29, 2016 ( article online ).
  25. Completion of “Mae West” on Effnerplatz in Munich. . In: . Münchner Wochenanzeiger . January 31, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2013.
  26. ^ Tram St. Emmeram . In: . Munich transport company . August 5, 2011. Archived from the original on July 6, 2013. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  27. Nina Job: By tram through Mae West . In: evening newspaper . December 11th, 2011 ( article online ).
  28. 19.5 - 7.5 - 32 meters . In: . Danube Courier . May 31, 2011. Accessed on July 17, 2013.  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /  
  29. ^ Mae West, 2011 . In: . Rita McBride. 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  30. Mae West - the new erotic on Effnerplatz . In: . Achim Manthey. August 2, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  31. Florian Zick: Where the city is a work of art . In: evening newspaper . October 29, 2014 ( article online ).
  32. ^ The Virtual Mae . In: . Markus Ambach. September 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2013.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on April 17, 2014 .

Coordinates: 48 ° 9 ′ 9.2 ″  N , 11 ° 36 ′ 52.3 ″  E