»Positive interactions«

Dr. Holger Niedenthal
Chairman of the Friends of the HfG

It is by no means an ordinary process when an entirely new campus is created for a university. The timelines for this architectural design challenge and the corresponding configuration of content are akin to cleaning the Augean stables. The transformation that is so crucial for research and teaching also has to be anchored in the process of development. Digitization and sustainability as well as interdisciplinarity with increased interweaving of the art and design departments were among the goals set, and all this now culminates in the awarding of the contract to XDGA and Topotek 1.

This is not merely a functional building or an expressive architectural creation, but rather a new premises with a clear design vocabulary. The reinforced concrete structure with the various infill panels, including glass as fully transparent or translucent surfaces alternating with other materials, give this building complex its lively and changeable appearance.

The new building meets contemporary architectural standards and is being designed as a “healthy building” with energy-efficient and resource-saving energy management. This environmentally oriented architecture is designed to be long-lasting rather than iconic. Experience has shown that functionally successful and aesthetically pleasing buildings leave their mark on the collective memory.

The glass façades reflect both the calm waters of the harbor, on the one hand, and the lively Hafenallee, on the other. This interplay gives the building envelope a special dynamism all of its own, enhanced by the interiors that are suffused with daylight. Particular architectural features, such as the foyer with its large, multifunctional staircase, the patios, and the bridge, form a harmonious element of the overall concept. The workshop character is expressed with the roller shutter doors and logistical considerations.

This is not simply a gesture to global climate trends, but fulfills the task of creating a healthy environment for users and the urban surroundings alike. With the HfG Offenbach new build, the university’s time spread across multiple locations in the city is finally coming to an end. This goes hand in hand with improvements in communication and cooperation, as well as coordination for the university as a whole. The new building is not inconsequentially located somewhere in the suburbs, but is embedded in the old, existing Nordend district and the newly emerging, modern harbor quarter. The structure, with its distinctive kink and the subtractions of the building volume as well as the recesses for the axis of Ludwigstrasse, embodies an opening both inwardly and outwardly. This enables important urban integration of citizens in the town and the region, on the one hand, while also making it possible to include people from the adjacent city districts in the lives of the students and staff, the teachers and researchers. Positive interaction is to emerge here, in keeping with the credo of the Friends of the HfG.

The Friends of the HfG see themselves as interfacing the university and surrounding society. They have now been supporting the university in various ways for 50 years, not only in financial or material terms, but particularly also as mediators and multipliers. The mutual appreciation helps to boost the university’s reputation within its immediate social environment and beyond, and with this in mind we will continue to support projects, campaigns, and talents and are available as a point of contact. We look forward to seeing the progress of construction and will continue to support it as best we can. Inspiration, creative ideas, and mutual understanding form the framework for future collaboration – after all, we are the HfG! The Friends of the HfG wish the university all the best in successfully implementing its plans.