IBA Campus - Apolda / Thuringia 2016



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


Campus members

Marius Busch

Sofia Dona

Arild Eriksen

Jurek Fahrenholt

Martin Fink

Andreas Foidl

Katja Fischer

Frederik Fuchs

Imad Gebrayel

Christiane Haas

René Hartmann

Assaf Kopper

Andreas Krauth

Andreas Krüger

Suzanne Labourie

Andreas Lenz

Christof Mayer

Martje Mehlert

Tainá Moreno

Nina Peters

Helena L. Pooch

Natalia Irina Roman

Sina Schindler

Juliane Schupp

Lennart Siebert

Matthias Weis

Matthew Xue



Thomas Müller