Peter Cachola Schmal

Biographical Information

Peter Cachola Schmal, born in 1960 in Altötting, has been the director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM) in Frankfurt am Main since April 2006.

Schmal spent his childhood in Multan (Pakistan) and Mülheim an der Ruhr, graduated from the International School in Jakarta (Indonesia) and received the German Abitur at the LSH in Holzminden. After performing alternative civilian service in Baden-Baden, he studied architecture at the Technische Hochschule Darmstadt, during which time he also became a father with the birth of his son in 1985. After graduating, Schmal worked as an architect for Behnisch + Partner in Stuttgart in 1989, then for Eisenbach + Partner in Zeppelinheim from 1990 to 1993. From 1992 to 1997 he was an assistant professor in the department of building design and construction at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, and since then he has contributed regularly to professional journals and newspapers as a freelance writer on topics related to architecture. From 1997 to 2000 he taught design at Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences. Schmal became a curator at the DAM in October 2000 and held this post until April 2006, during which time he was responsible for the following exhibitions and projects, among others:

• “digital real, blobmeister. first built projects”, 2001; travelled to Tokyo
• “Secret of the Shadow. Light and Shadow in Architecture”  in collaboration with Christoph Geissmar Brandi, Ulrike Brandi, Hélène Binet and Raoul Bunschoten, 2002
• “leicht weit – Light Structures: Jörg Schlaich & Rudolf Bergermann”, in collaboration with Annette Bögle, 2003; travelled to many international venues, including Shanghai, New Haven, Venice, Nanjing, Milan, Brasília, Tokyo and Madrid
• “Kisho Kurokawa – Metabolism and Symbiosis”, 2005; travelled to Tokyo
• “Korea Germany Public Space Forum”, in collaboration with Kim Sung Hong, 2005
• “UNstudio – Development of Space”, 2006; travelled to New Haven

Having been appointed director of the DAM in 2006, Schmal has been particularly keen to broaden the museum’s international scope, developing initiatives such as a series of exhibitions focussing on the Guests of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair:

• 2007 “Patent Constructions – New Architecture Made in Catalonia”, in collaboration with Actar; travelled to Stockholm
• 2007 “Gaudì Unseen. Completing the Sagrada Família”, in cooperation with the University of Melbourne; travelled to Dresden
• 2007 “Megacity Network – Contemporary Architecture in Korea”, in collaboration with Korea Architecture Institute; travelled to Berlin, Tallinn, Barcelona and Seoul
• 2008 “Becoming Istanbul”, in collaboration with Garanti Galeri; travelled to Berlin and Istanbul
• 2009 “M8 in China – Contemporary Chinese Architects”, in collaboration with Liaoning Publishers; travelled to Berlin and Oslo
• 2011 “From Germany to Argentina. German Influences in Architecture”; travelled to Berlin
• 2011 “Iceland and Architecture?”; travelled to Berlin
• 2013 “Nove Novos. Neue Neue. Emerging Architects from Brasil”, in collaboration with Instituto Tomie Ohtake in São Paulo
• 2014 "Tropicality Revisited. Recent Approaches by Indonesian Architects"
2015 „Suomi Seven. Emerging Architects from Finland", in collaboration with the MFA Museum of Finnish Architecture in Helsinki

In 2007 Peter Cachola Schmal was the General Commissioner for the German contribution to the 7th International Architecture Biennial (BIA) in São Paulo, where he presented the installation “Ready For Take-Off – Contemporary German Export Architecture” in collaboration with Anna Hesse. Since then he has regularly served on the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) juries for the biennials in São Paulo and Venice. Schmal’s curatorial activities are frequently accompanied by publications, lectures and participation in professional juries. He sits on a number of committees, e.g. the BMVBS advisory board for “Kunst am Bau”, the Committee for the European Prize for Urban Public Space in Barcelona, the Steering Committee for the European Union Prize for Contemporary Architecture (organized by the Fundació Mies van der Rohe in Barcelona), and the Schelling Architecture Foundation, Karlsruhe. From 2007 to 2013 he was a member at the Goethe-Institut’s Advisory Board for Visual Arts.

In 2016 Peter Cachola Schmal is the General Commissioner for the German Pavilion of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia with the show „Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country“ in collaboration with Oliver Elser as curator and Anna Scheuermann as project organiser.

Below is a selection from around 100 exhibitions that have been mounted by the DAM since 2006:

• “Custody. Places of Surveillance”, presented in the former police custody facility at Klapperfeldstrasse 5, Frankfurt am Main, 2007
• “Claus Bury. Low Tide – High Tide”, 2007
• “NEU BAU LAND. Architecture and Urban Restructuring in the former East Germany”, 2007; travelled to Leipzig
• “New Urbanity. The European City in the 21st Century”, 2008
• “Simon Ungers. Heavy Metal”, 2008
• “Heterotopia. Works by Willem van Genk and others”, 2008
• “TV Towers – 8,559 Meters Politics and Architecture”, in collaboration with Raumtaktik Berlin, 2009
• “Pavilions – Architectural Enjoyment and Polemic”, in collaboration with Johan Bettum, 2009
• “Urban Green. European Landscape Architecture for the 21st Century”, 2010
• “Ernst May (1886–1970). New Cities on Three Continents”, 2011; travelled to Wrocław
• “WOHA. Breathing Architecture”, 2011; travelled to Taichung and Taipei
• “Architectural Model – Tool, Fetish, Small Utopia”, 2012
• “Think Global, Build Social! Architectures for a Better World”, co-curated by Andres Lepik and Dietmar Steiner, 2013; travelled to Vienna

Further articles

Peter Cachola Schmal
Peter Cachola Schmal
Peter Cachola Schmal
Director | Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main

Urban Development 

Peter Cachola Schmal