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Sabine Straub

Art-on-Building Competition for the New Helmholtz Pioneer Campus Building

For the new Helmholtz Munich Pioneer Campus, an art-on-building competition was held - and the winner has now been announced. Ten artists were asked for creative ideas as part of the anonymous and non-open competition. The goal was to find an artistically expressive art installation for the forecourt of the new building that relates to the architecture of the Helmholtz Pioneer Campus as a place of innovative and interdisciplinary research.

The Winning Projects

On May 30, 2022, a renowned jury of expert and subject judges chaired by Prof. Shirin Kretschmann selected the design "UBO - Unknown Biological Object" by the artist Sabine Straub from Munich as the first-place art installation.

The design convinced the jury with its sensual radiance and informal lightness. The object is reminiscent of scientific models made of fine tissue structures such as nerve cells, proteins, bacteria or viruses, but without being truly identifiable. With a total height of over nine meters, it looks like an oversized model that marks a point on the research campus that is visible from afar.

The second-place design "VISIONING" by Lucia Dellefant consists of a course of four different objects made of spatially implemented writing that refer to a model of the development of ideas by the physicist and physiologist Hermann von Helmholtz. The design was particularly recognized by the jury for its interdisciplinary approach and applicability in the context of research.

Reassessment of the decision to the art-installation

Art has a high value and an important meaning for Helmholtz Munich. For this reason, on the research campus,  a wide variety of artworks have been installed over the past decades as part of previous construction projects and Helmholtz Munich held a total of three art-on-a-building competitions in 2021 and 2022. In 2021 for example, the art installation "Garden of Forking Paths" by Yves Peitzner and Jelena Gregov (Studio T*SH) was erected in the inner courtyard of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center.

The war in Ukraine and the related critical energy market situation, as well as further increases in construction prices, also due to the pandemic, among other factors, now require a reassessment of the art installation plans.

“We have discussed the current situation intensively and weighed up the possibilities carefully until we had to make the decision that we unfortunately cannot realize the art-on-a-building installation under the current circumstances”, Helmholtz Munich CEO Matthias Tschöp explains. “After all, our primary task is to provide scientists with a building that is as optimally prepared and equipped as possible for their research. This is our priority”, he said.

To honor the two favorite entries, the first-place artist was awarded 5,000 Euros in prize money and the second-place artist was awarded 2,000 Euros. We would like to expressly thank all participating artists and the jurors for their participation and commitment.

Please see here the artists and their designs:

01_Tom Kristen, "PATTERN":

02_Venske und Spänle, "CONNECT":

03_ Selma Gültoprak, "Sign, Sense, Signal":

04_ Johannes Vogl, "Rhizom":

05_Christoph Hildebrand, "R/EVOLUTION":

06_Sabine Straub, "UBO" (Unknown Biological Object):

07_ Lucia Delefant, "VISIONING":

08_Josefine Günschel "Q&A":

09_Pia Lanzinger und Michael Hauffen "Loopabout":

10_Ulrike Mohr, "O.T." (Stein aus Lichtbeton):