With peaks and valleys echoing the nearby Alps, the vast canopy of the Munich Olympic Stadium has been a local landmark since the opening of the 1972 Olympics for which it was designed. Intended to present a new face for post-war Germany, the stadium—strikingly Modernist in character—was meant to stand in harmony with its surroundings. Despite these modest intentions, however, controversy surrounded the project from its outset, which centered on skyrocketing costs, the erosion of local heritage, and the grim specter of the country’s own recent past.
The decision to hold the 1972 Summer Olympic Games in Munich held considerable political significance for the republic of West Germany. The international spectacle of the Games was one of the nation’s best chances to build a new image for itself.. The fact that the 1936 Olympics at Berlin had been a showcase for the Nazi regime gave the organizers of the Munich games even greater impetus to demonstrate that Germany had consigned that particular era to the past. As a result, and in contrast to the monumental facilities at Berlin, the Olympic site at Munich was to be more modest and subdued.