Many influencers visit Munich every year and capture the city through an array of videos, articles and photos. In order to gain some real insight into their creative work and to find out what they love so much about Munich, we have put together a questionnaire. This time: Nicanor García, a professional photographer and architect from Spain.
This is your third time in Munich, what did you like the most this time?
This time I was able to visit new places and walk new routes around the city. This gave me the opportunity to connect points that I didn't know were so close to each other and clarify my inner map of Munich.
More than liking a specific building, I liked seeing how some old buildings from the 70s are still active and well preserved, for example at the Olympisches Dorf (Olympic Village) or the Pharao Haus. These buildings continue to have some values that still seem relevant to me today. For instance, between the buildings there is a sense of community and public space, but privacy is maintained. Relationships with nature are also valued by having large green areas around the buildings; the inhabitants are encouraged to keep and care for their own plants as well with large planters that define the facades of these buildings.
These large groups of homes demonstrate a relationship between the private, the public and the landscape that is perfectly achieved and balanced.
Three reasons why the Olympic Park Munich impresses you?
Although in the Olympiapark (Olympic Park) you can distinguish different buildings, areas or activities, everything is integrated in such a way that it has a sense of unity. The profiles of the hanging roofs integrate with the soft hills of the park landscape, creating a smooth and sinuous continuity between the landscape and the buildings.
It is amazing how well preserved the entire Olympic Park is. The buildings are kept in perfect condition, making it difficult to imagine that they were inaugurated 50 years ago. The park is also kept immaculate and clean, ready to welcome the visit of citizens and any type of collective activity or enjoyment.
Beyond its excellent preservation, the Olympic Park feels completely alive. The availability of sports facilities, the cultural activities on offer, the epic concerts that the stadium hosts, the installations that pop up… maintain the interest of the citizens of Munich, who use the park for sports, cycling, relaxing on the grass or meeting friends.
Are there corners and places in the Olympic Park where you feel the post-Olympic use is particularly noticeable?
On this trip I visited the park twice and got to see different activities that are the new life of the Olympic Park. One of the visits coincided with the start of a Guns & Roses concert at the Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium), which allowed me to see how many fans enjoyed the moments before the concert.
Many people and families were enjoying walking or sitting on the grass. There were mobile food and drink stalls because the Festival of the Games, Sports and the Arts was also taking place. Around the Olympiasee (Olympic Lake) there were different sculptures/installations that generated sounds and music, turning the area into an improvised concert space. I then hiked up the hill to the Olympia Alm, the well-known beer garden on Olympiaberg (Olympic Mountain).
I walked to the Olympic Village, which is now just another neighborhood in Munich. The green spaces around these buildings are striking. Homes and the surroundings complement each other very well, creating a calm and pleasant atmosphere. I also had the opportunity to visit the Olympia-Schwimmhalle (Olympic Swimming Pool). Frei Otto's architecture seen from the inside looks very futuristic, but swimmers using the pool facilities give it a very casual and everyday character.
From my point of view, it is a great success to have managed to make all the facilities and spaces of the 1972 Olympics a natural part of the current city of Munich.
Is there a specific color that stands for Munich in your opinion?
Perhaps the yellow-orange color. Looking from an elevated vantage point, Theatinerkirche always stands out with its deep yellow hue. On other occasions, the clearly orange color becomes relevant in places such as the Werksviertel-Mitte or the Theresienwiese and Marienplatz metro stations.
In 1992, the Summer Games were held in your hometown Barcelona. Do you see parallels to Munich?
As in Munich, the Olympic Games were also a great boost for the city of Barcelona. New highways were built, the city was opened to the sea, and the Olympic Village helped create a new neighborhood, among other great achievements. The Olympic area, where the Olympic Stadium is located, is located in Montjuic and would be the equivalent of Olympic Park. Although some activities have been maintained, from my point of view, an integration with citizens as close as in Munich has not yet been achieved.
Archery, lifting weights, wrestling – which unique sport would you most like to master at Olympic level?
Reaching an Olympic level of Marathon would be ideal for the times when I have to spend all day walking and taking photos. The photographic marathon, walking all day with photographic equipment while taking photos, should be eligible to be an Olympic sport!
What did you take from your visit?
I got a deeper impression of Munich – a more complete vision of the city where the old and the contemporary are naturally integrated. Where the weather changes throughout the day, and ultimately, this gives you different opportunities.
What would you like to experience on your next visit?
I would like to see the Kreativquartier, where living, working and the arts are supposedly mixing in innovative ways. Also and of course, I’d love to see new buildings and how they are being integrated into the city.
Which photo of Munich got the best response from your followers? And which photo do you personally like the most? Why?
I think the photos from the rooftop of the Olympic Stadium caught the attention of some followers. But surprisingly, people also noticed the series of photos of the Siemens headquarters, which is a simpler and more contained architecture.
Personally, more than liking a specific photo, the photos I took take me back to the moments of the captures. And I had several good times taking photos in different locations throughout this trip. One of those moments was walking through the Olympic Village and discovering its different spaces. The relationship between the buildings and the vegetation, the access to the homes, the public spaces… I photographed it a second time from the Olympic Park very early one day. It looked like it was going to rain, but in the end it didn't, and I was able to verify those relationships at another time of day and from different angles.
Obviously, walking on the rooftop of the Olympic Stadium and having views of the landscape and the roof itself was a moment in which I could enjoy photography. In the case of the Siemens headquarters, it is a very quiet space, but I also visited on a weekend, so I think I had the opportunity to transmit that calmness in the series of photos.
And last but not least: What do you think people from Munich mean when they say “Betthupferl”? Any ideas?
It sounds a bit like “better”... Maybe it means better luck next time?
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Nicanor García, and I’m a photographer, although I previously worked as an architect and professor of architectural design. I specialize in photography of architecture, spaces and culture, capturing the essence of what I see. This focus makes me travel all over the world, photographing different cities and places.
Instagram: Nicanor García
Where do you get inspiration for your work?
Curiosity and looking inspire me as a photographer. I need to understand the place I am photographing, especially from a visual point of view. This leads me to look at and photograph a site from different angles until I understand which frames explain it best.
What’s the biggest challenge in your job?
The main challenge of my work as a photographer is to understand and explain what I see through photography. When I achieve this goal, my photographs can facilitate other people’s understanding of a place, space or building. Somehow, through my work I try to be a filter that helps others see the world in a special way.
Thank you, Nicanor!