Hilton Munich Airport / Munich, Germany/ 1989‑1994
Size: 355,200 sq ft / 33,000 m
Height: 6 floors
Status: Completed 1994
Recognition: AIA Chicago Chapter Award; AIA Chicago Chapter Divine Detail Award; American Society of Landscape Architects Award; Bundesverband Garten‑, Landschafts‑ und Sportplatzbau “International Trend Prize – Building with Green”
Exploring concepts of transparency and enclosure, the Hilton Munich Airport provides passengers traveling through Munich with a thoughtfully crafted hospitality experience. Originally opened as the Kempinski Hotel, the hotel’s design guides guests through a curated gradient of spatial experiences as they reach their accommodation. This approach was driven by the airport level system, with pedestrians circulating at the third level and vehicles one level above. Meanwhile, guests can approach the grand entrance lobby from the main terminal through a series of sheltered walkways or from the underground parking structure.
The hotel is oriented around a central glass-encased atrium. The atrium serves as both a private space for hotel guests and a public extension of the growing airport city. The end walls are carefully detailed for maximum transparency, creating a visual progression of space across the site. Vertical circulation is similarly weightless, with glass stairs and elevators linking the atrium to the upper floors.
A series of moving walkways integrates the hotel into the ground and air transportation network of Munich Airport. The walkways are wrapped in undulating perforated metal screens, offering views into surrounding gardens. A roof constructed of intersecting arches mimics the grand gestures of the hotel atrium and the Munich Airport Center. Gardens extend perpendicular to the walkways, and intersection points are marked with crushed-brick beds of dense birch trees, further emphasized by the dematerialization of the perforated screen into fritted glazing.