When a masonry blogger goes on vacation, she takes way too many photos of masonry during her travels.  Needless to say, when I recently visited Bavaria (with a day trip to Salzburg, Austria), I photographed a lot of masonry buildings.  To mix things up a bit here at the Masonry of Denver, I thought I’d share some of the more interesting masonry structures I saw on my travels.  First up: The Masonry of Munich.

The last time I visited Bavaria was in 1999.  At that time, I didn’t digest the fact that most masonry structures in southern Germany and northern Austria are clad with stucco.  Stucco is not my favorite building material, but the stucco on German and Austrian buildings is often textured with sand or pebbles, or the stucco is pigmented.  It’s more interesting than your average stucco, but it’s still stucco.  Fortunately for us, everything in Munich isn’t covered in stucco.  And better yet, several incredible buildings survived World War II.

Take this beautiful stone building, for example.  It is on Thierschstraße in the Altstadt-Lehel neighborhood of Munich.  According to a Google search, it was built in 1889 and was designed by architects Albin Lincke and Max Littmann.  My German is non-existent, but it seems that these two gentlemen designed several prominent buildings in Munich in the late nineteenth century.


The beige sandstone used to clad this building is lovely, but the carvings are just wonderful.  These strong men (and a cherub) frame the entrance and support the oriel window on the second floor.


The stone carving is even more intricate at the top of the building, where you can see an angel blowing into a metal trumpet, a cherub supporting a cartouche, ornate palm fronds and foliage, brackets with lions heads, and some of the most fanciful urns I’ve ever seen.


Not too far away, I saw this handsome late nineteenth-century brick building on Rumfordstraße.  It reminds me of some of the polychrome brick buildings in Stockholm, Sweden.  A little research revealed that it was designed in 1892 by (who else?) Max Littmann.  He seems to have been quite prolific on his own, designing apartment buildings, offices and warehouses, numerous theaters, and even Munich’s Hofbräuhaus.


I really like the use of black mortar to deepen the appearance of the dark red bricks.  I also admire the buff brick accents used throughout the building.  But if you look closely at the cornice, you can see polychrome quatrefoils tucked between each bracket.


No trip to Munich is complete without a visit to the Neues Rathaus.  When I was there, finishing touches were being put on the Christkindlmarkt in Marienplatz, so I couldn’t get any good overall photos of the building, but these details should give you a sense of its design.  It was built in two phases – the brick and limestone portion to the west was built between 1867 and 1874, and the limestone portion with its prominent tower on the east side of Marienplatz was completed in 1904.  Both portions were designed by architect Georg von Hauberrisser.  The photo below shows the building’s second phase of construction.


The limestone is quite soiled due to sulfur dioxide in the air from vehicular emissions.  The sulfur bonds with the calcium in the limestone to form black gypsum crusts (calcium sulfate).  These crusts grow over time, especially in humid (but not wet) conditions, and result in the loss of the limestone surface as more calcium carbonate is converted to calcium sulfate.  In areas directly hit by rain, the slow-growing gypsum crusts are washed away.  It is only in deep recesses or on a protected side of a building that gypsum crusts are thickest and most obvious.  Despite the gypsum encrustation, the intricate Gothic-Revival ornament on the clock tower is stunning.


Here’s a photo of the original portion of the building built in the 1860s and 70s.  Note the different colors of bricks used on the façade.  I wonder if the red brick was used to repair areas damaged during the war, as the orange brick seems to be most prominent.


Finally, every visitor to Munich should spend a day at the Deutches Museum.  Billed as a science and technology museum, the Deutches is actually a museum on the history of science and technology (focusing on German innovations).  You can learn about the history of pretty much any technology or science at the museum: aviation, paper making, wind and water mills, even the history of brick making.  I was especially fascinated with the latter section, which included scale models of various kilns.  They also had a section on the manufacture of hollow clay tile.  The photo below demonstrates how clay was extruded through the die in the upper portion of the photo, and then was cut into brick-sized units such as the ones at the bottom of the photo.  The Deutches Museum a great stop for anyone curious about the evolution of science and technology over the years.  Add it to your itinerary – preferably before you visit the Hofbräuhaus – on your next trip to Munich.


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