Faculty of Life Science
The Fachhochschule Bergedorf, a striking example of Brutalist architecture, was constructed in 1972 in Hamburg and stands as a masterpiece designed by architects Graaf + Schweger. The building is a testament to the architectural ethos of the time, showcasing the Brutalist style with its long, imposing structures amidst a serene suburban landscape. The architects’ vision is evident in the raw, unembellished concrete surfaces of the building, adhering to the Brutalist principles of béton brut.
The structure, initially dedicated to Production and Process Engineering and now the Faculty of Life Science, is likened to a colossal spaceship fleet. Its interior, particularly the vast entrance hall, is an overwhelming display of Brutalist aesthetics, featuring raw concrete walls, pillars, coffered ceilings, and staircase sculptures—all forming a cohesive, rough-hewn spatial artwork rarely paralleled in Hamburg. The architects paid meticulous attention to detail, exemplified by the integration of metallic handrails seamlessly into the machined slots in the concrete staircase railings.
Despite its architectural significance and the preservation of its original state, the Fachhochschule Bergedorf faces an uncertain future. Plans to relocate the university to Oberbillwerder are driven not by functional inadequacies but by the assertion that an energy-efficient renovation is unfeasible. This decision has sparked criticism from preservationists, such as the Hamburg Heritage Association, who emphasize the importance of considering alternative uses for the building and maintaining the public sector’s role in sustainable urban development.
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FH Bergedorf: Uncertain Future for a Brutalist Masterpiece
During the 1970s, a golden age for university construction merged engineering schools into applied science universities.
Designed by Graaf + Schweger and completed in 1972, Fachhochschule Bergedorf stands as an architectural marvel.
Despite societal significance, relocation is considered due to energy-efficient renovation challenges, sparking opposition.
The Heritage Association urges a climate-friendly approach, recognizing the value of existing resources.David Altrath oversees architectural projects from conception to final construction.
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