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Palace of Justice

Collage: Munich Palace of Justice with mountains in the background

Picture: Andreas Heddergott / TUM

One of Munich’s most striking buildings is the Justizpalast or Palace of Justice just off the Karlsplatz (Stachus) square. Its creator, Professor Friedrich von Thiersch of what was later to become the Technical University of Munich (TUM), was a formative influence on the Bavarian capital during its regency period. The architect also inspired spectacular buildings in other German cities, deploying the latest construction methods and technologies.

Old styles – new interpretations

The Palace of Justice, the Bernheimer Palace, several bridges over the river Isar, and other distinctive buildings and monuments in Munich were all the work of architect Friedrich von Thiersch, considered one of the most important proponents of late historicism. This phase is particularly characterized by the imaginative revival of architectural styles from previous eras.

Thiersch was always at the cutting edge of technology, designing central heating concepts, elevators and ventilation systems for his buildings. In addition, he knew how to “blend elements of different stylistic periods in a new and unprecedented way, building on the old to breathe life into the new”. This is actually how Thiersch described his colleague Paul Wallot, who designed the Reichstag building in Berlin, but it equally applies to Thiersch himself.

In 1879, Thiersch was appointed Professor of Advanced Architecture at what would later become the Technical University of Munich. Despite this time-consuming new role, he also continued overseeing multiple construction projects. Under his leadership, the department went on to become the most illustrious school of architecture in the German Empire prior to the First World War. Thiersch also built one of TUM’s iconic landmarks: the striking, copper-clad clock tower on Gabelsbergerstrasse, which today bears his name.

“Friedrich von Thiersch was one of the most prominent and acclaimed architects of his time, both in Munich and throughout Germany. He had a decisive influence on the architectural development of the Bavarian capital during the regency period. It is to him and to his various notable contemporaries that Munich owes its reputation as a center of art.”

Portrait of Friedrich von Thiersch

Quote of Horst Karl Marschall, architect and biopgrapher of Friedrich von Thiersch

Picture: Uli Benz / TUM.Archiv

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