Architects Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl

“Our buildings are medicinal”

The TUM Alumni Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl are considered revolutionaries of hospital architecture. With a multifunctional research building at the TUM Campus Garching, they have now also created the best conditions for top-level research.

From the beginning it was clear for Prof. Christine Nickl-Weller and for Prof. Hans Nickl that they would study Architecture. Both decided to study at TUM. Here they received, without knowing about each other, the training that ultimately brought them together – and gave the world some of the most beautiful and best healthcare buildings.

Hans Nickl had already completed his studies at TUM in 1969 and started working in an architectural offices in Munich. It was precisely this office that Christine Nickl-Weller chose in order to gain practical experience during her studies. At that time, the two had never thought that this collegial collaboration would become a bond for life – as a married couple, as well as an award-winning architectural duo.

A focus on people

Hans Nickl was enthusiastic about his work in the Munich architectural office from the very beginning. Already at TUM his intuition and talent in the area of large buildings had become evident, which he was now able to contribute to the planning of hospital buildings. What he found problematic in this work was the one-sided consideration of purely functional criteria. “I wanted to do it differently,” he says. “The focus should be on the human being.” In 1979 he founded his own architectural office and his designs were strongly oriented towards the scientifically proven interactions between the built environment and the physical and psychological well-being.

We’ve always intended to give something back to the world.

Christine Nickl-Weller had completed her studies at TUM in 1975, too and was now working in civil service. Designing hospitals, like her husband with his new and pioneering approach full of passion, was not what Christine Nickl-Weller wanted to do. But over the years her husband’s passion rubbed off on her. She decided to quit her employment in the public sector and joined her husband’s architectural office.

Healing rooms

Since 1989 they have been jointly managing Nickl & Partner Architekten and are both equally regarded as internationally recognised specialists for Healing Architecture. In their award-winning architectural concepts, the couple complement each other in their approach and knowledge. Whether they together design nursing homes, facilities for assisted living or psychiatric care – the entire spectrum of their work is focussing on the people who should live, work, recover and feel comfortable in these buildings. “Our buildings should be medicinal,” says Hans Nickl. “We have always intended to give something back to the world,” adds Christine Nickl-Weller.

Science district of the future

Christine Nickl-Weller and Hans Nickl also apply their scientifically sound planning approach for health care buildings to their research buildings. With their sustainable design for a new centre for teaching, life and lifestyle at the TUM Campus Garching, they were able to win the architecture competition. It could not have been better for the students and researchers at TUM’s largest campus: in summer 2019, the multifunctional hybrid building Galileo will be opened for them, and it will provide a completely new quality of life on campus.

The new building GALILEO at the campus in Garching.

The new center of Garching’s research campus: the 200-meter-long GALILEO extends parallel to the subway station in a north-south direction (Photo: Uli Benz/TUM).

The linear and transparent building houses TUM’s new main lecture hall, a congress, business, meditation, leisure, fitness and shopping centre including a hotel and guesthouse, as well as international culinary offers. “With our concept, we are creating a future-oriented science district,” says Christine Nickl-Weller. “It’s a cool feeling that we were able to design this building for our home university,” adds Hans Nickl with a laugh.