Apolda, Eiermannbau

Apolda, Eiermannbau

Open Factory: Collective reactivation of a disused architectural icon

Somewhat hidden along a side street in Apolda, the Eiermannbau is no more than a 10-minute walk away from the railway station. The iconic building from the 1930s is now a modernist monument and exemplifies the design principles of its architect Egon Eiermann: logic, purity and clarity. Initially a weaving mill and later a fire extinguisher factory, the building has stood vacant for many years. Today, its large blue-framed windows still look out over industrial wasteland where production works once stood, the view extending as far as the allotments and slab blocks in the distance.

In Jena or Weimar, a building of this calibre would not stand empty, but the demolition of the historical monument was out of the question. From an ecological and economic standpoint, options need to be explored – conservation, reuse, conversion or recycling – that can recast vacant property as a valuable resource for the future, also in locations like Apolda.

In 2017, the LEG Thüringen State Development Agency took over ownership of the Eiermannbau. The LEG has experience of tackling the problem of vacant property throughout the region. Together with IBA Thüringen, it is pursuing an innovative approach in Apolda: by granting an exclusive option period, it has given the IBA Thüringen the opportunity to gradually and successively develop a concept for the building by 2023. The aim is, in the direct vicinity of the booming towns of Weimar and Jena, to establish the Eiermannbau as a lighthouse project for the sustainable reactivation of vacant buildings that can serve as a model for other locations and buildings in Thuringia. By asking how much, or how little, is enough, the IBA aims to reappraise the assumptions of prevailing building standards and usage models: What investments are really necessary? How can rents be made affordable? And, how can a modernist architectural icon be turned into a diverse environment for creative minds and makers – into an Open Factory.

As developer and placemaker of the Eiermannbau, the IBA was also the first user to move temporarily into the industrial monument in the summer of 2017.  In order to entirely move their office to the Eiermannbau, the IBA developed a prototype expansion and utilisation concept for 750 square metres of the building from February to October 2018. In autumn 2018, the IBA team finally moved into the cost-effective, functional and at the same time well-designed office with greenhouses on the second floor. Thanks to the house-in-house solution, it is possible to use two climate zones throughout the year.

In 2019, the IBA Thüringen hosted the IBA interim presentation in the Eiermannbau. Some 10,000 visitors used the opportunity and got to know the Eiermannbau and appreciate its qualities through guided tours, events or the ‘StadtLand’ exhibition. 

In the coming years the entire site, including two buildings with a gross floor area of around 7,500 square metres and a two-hectare plot of land, will be developed and expanded step by step. Grant funding amounting to 5.31 million euros from the Federal Ministry of Building as part of the National Urban Development Projects programme has been secured through the town of Apolda with the support of the IBA Thüringen, and will be used to implement measures to enable sustainable use of the building as an open factory and to ensure good accessibility to the site. The Eiermannbau is owned by the State Development Corporation (LEG) of Thuringia, and the IBA is its first tenant. It will continue developing the former fire-extinguisher factory until the final year of the IBA Thüringen in 2023. The IBA Thüringen is working hand in hand with the city of Apolda and the LEG Thüringen to develop the site.


Momentan keine Termine

Auenstraße 11
99510 Apolda

Reichmann Gebäudetechnik, Bad Berka
Zehnder Group Deutschland GmbH, Lahr (Vertrieb Erfurt)

  • Building and construction of IBA greenhouses:
  • Students of the Bauhaus-University Weimar
  • Tobias Grabowski
  • Hannes Heitmüller
  • Simon Martini
  • Nicolas Schüller
  • Till Teubner
  • ​Katharina Wittke
IBA Project Coordination

Katja Fischer
Project director
Telefon +49 3644 51832-11

Christoph Grube
Project Collaboration Open Factory
Telefon +49 3644 51832-04

Dorothee Schmidt 
Renting and Marketing 
Telefon +49 3644 518 32-06‬‬

Alexander Stief
Project Collaboration Open Factory
Telefon +49 3644 518 32-03

Links / Further Information about the Project Process