Rethink, repurpose and reenergize The Eiermannbau building in Apolda, Germany
The annual IBA Campus brought together experts from different disciplines and nationalities as a temporary international collective to reimagine the function of the locale.
A special monument of industrial modernism that survived 22 years of disuse, the Eiermannbau building has been standing the test of time. In line with a variety of initiatives that seek to give second life to abandoned buildings in context of societal and immigrant needs in Germany.
Process & Results
For two weeks in June 2016, 26 young people from Germany and abroad made the Eiermannbau their home. The venue was transformed into a campsite with accommodation spaces, leisure, design and research studios, a workshop space and a communal kitchen.
The group includes a variety of disciplines ranging from architecture to design and public art. Despite a highly politically charged context, we successfully worked and lived together alongside the local urbanity through a friendly dialogue and a desire to reactivate the space.
This experience was not only inspirational in its embodiment, but also a catalyst in shaping the framework of our conceptual thinking. Our approach was defined by everyday usage, then projected onto the situation, tested and re-iterated.
The final proposal relaunched the Eiermannbau as an ‘open factory’ that suggests communal engagement: locals, apprentices, students and collaborators will work, study and transform the space. What opens the factory is not just the re-use of the massive space, but also the many complementary fields coming together: education, production, cultural and social.
Both the inside and outside of the open factory will operate as an off-campus workspace for the educational institutions in the Thuringia region and across the world. It will be a shared factory for the producers and manufacturers from Apolda and its surroundings. Above all, it is positioned as a common ground for residents and local businesses who will adopt the space for pop-up cinemas, specialized and temporary local production, wood workshops, exhibitions, conferences and shared meetings.
What was previously an assembly line is now a collaborative, self-sustaining economy providing possibilities for Apolda and Thuringia.
Fieldwork is always a challenge and a debatable topic within the creative industries especially at times when social design is being misused as a cover-up for self-promotion amongst designers.
I believe in working within real contexts and learning from found examples rather than projections; the IBA campus was opportunity for an exchange of knowledge, bridging my interests in urbanism and socio-politics with my background as a designer coming from the Middle East.
Organized by IBA Thüringen and Wüstenrot Stiftung
Helena L. Pooch
Natalia Irina Roman