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Brightening up the Atrium

Munich, 08/31/2012

The plaster is crumbling, the dome leaks, the wiring is out of date and the interior has taken on a dull, gray air. The Main Building at LMU badly needs freshening up, and some urgent structural repairs.

Photo: Rolf Poss Photographie
Photo: Rolf Poss Photographie

Picture gallery.

The Atrium, the Audimax and other sections of the Main Building are now being thoroughly refurbished. The first phase of the work got underway about a month ago. However, planning for the project began more than two years ago, and the repairs will continue for several months – although most of the work will be done outside term time. A 25-m high scaffolding has already been put into place beneath the dome, to enable the glass elements that make up its inner and outer shells to be replaced. “We need the scaffolding so that the interior of the whole building remains accessible for use while the renovations are going on,” explains Jutta Peinkofer of the Unit for Spatial Planning and Construction. The scaffolding has been specially designed to give the craftsmen the space to work in safety, while at the same time allowing visitors, students and staff to traverse the Main Building without hindrance. “The structural improvements are necessary in any case, because safety standards and fire prevention requirements have changed so much in recent years,” Peinkofer points out. The electrical wiring and the emergency lighting system are therefore slated for renewal during the project.

New lighting in the Aula, fresh colors on the walls
Leaky joints must be repaired and sealed, and damage to walls and roofing due to the infiltration of moisture must be repaired. - And this is where the master craftsman comes in. Durable sealing of structural joints requires a special spatula technique that not every mason has in his repertoire. The delicate stucco marbling will be restored by conservation experts. In addition, the stucco ceiling and the glass framework of the Audimax must be refurbished, and larger, brighter lamps will be installed in the Great Aula. The total cost will be in the region of 3.5 million euros. Also on the agenda is a complete remodeling of the toilet facilities in the vicinity of the Audimax. “Removal of the existing structures started at the beginning of the summer vacation,” says Peinkofer, although it not yet clear whether everything can be finished before the new semester begins. Just in case they are needed, LMU has already arranged for the provision of temporary toilet facilities. The reconstruction also entails the relocation of the ladies’ toilets, which will no longer be situated to the right of the Audimax but on its left. Jutta Peinkofer explains why the switch is necessary: “It’s simply because there is more space on the left-hand side. One must remember that the Main Building in its present form dates from a time when female students and academics were few and far between.” In future then, the ladies’ restrooms will be located on three floors on the left-hand side (as viewed from the Atrium), while the men’s toilets will be sited on the right.

It is expected that the work will be completed by April of next year.

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