Tschira Forum opens

Since its completion in 1916, the “Thiersch Tower” is the landmark of the Technical University of Munich (TUM). To TUM president Wolfgang A. Herrmann it represents the “Soul of the university”. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding, TUM has restored and redesigned the historic structure on Gabelsbergerstraße with the generous support of the Klaus Tschira Stiftung (KTS) foundation. Today the opening ceremonies were held for the Tschira Forum, an impressive event space on the fourth story of the tower.

Friedrich von Thiersch was Professor for Advanced Architecture from 1879 until his death in 1921; he also served as the Rector of what was then the Technische Hochschule München (TH Munich) from 1906 to 1908. As the size of the student body sharply increased in 1900, Thiersch was given the job of expanding the school and in 1907 began planning the first major expansion on the corner of Gabelsbergerstrasse and Luisenstraße. Since its completion in 1916, the 37 meter high clock tower, today protected as a historical structure, presides regally over the expansion complex. The tower portal with its allegorical representation of Technology and Art was designed by Ernst Pfeifer, then professor for Sculpture (“Plastisches Gestalten”) at the TH Munich. The portal is considered one of the most beautiful examples of sculptural architectural ornamentation in Munich.

Completed in the middle of the First World War, the upper stories of the tower were initially used for military purposes. Later the academic aviation group Akaflieg, founded in 1924 at the TH Munich and still active today, worked in the space. In the course of restoration TUM has now removed three intermediate stories over the fourth floor to form the location for the new and impressive Tschira Forum. The Klaus Tschira Stiftung foundation was created by the physicist and SAP co-founder Klaus Tschira in 1995 for the promotion of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Information Science and to increase their appreciation among the general public. The foundation provided TUM with generous support for the remodeling and restoration activities. In the future TUM will use the Tschira Forum for special academic events such as honorary ceremonies and anniversary celebrations and to receive prominent guests at the university.

The Forum project was of special importance to president Herrmann in the context of the anniversary celebration “150 years of TUM. Innovation since 1868” because the tower has become a formative element in the identity of the alma mater of generations of both students and university staff members: “Day in, day out as students we hurried through the large portal under the Thiersch Tower or the adjacent gate with the inscription ‘Scientiis et Artibus’ – To Science and The Arts – on the way to lectures and practical exercises. We felt it was an honor to be able to study at this universtity. The Klaus Tschira Foundation has helped us keep this memory alive.”

The “Thiersch Tower” and the Tschira Forum can be visited on June 23 and 24 as part of the “Architektouren” architectural tours conducted by the Bavarian Chamber of Architects.


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