A small town around a green campus: With this idea, the Brussels architects Xaveer de Geyter Architects together with the landscape architects Topotek 1 (Zurich/Berlin) won the competition for the new building of the Hochschule für Gestaltung (HfG) at Offenbacher Hafen.

On Friday, the Hessian Science Minister Angela Dorn (Die Grünen) presented this and three other excellent designs together with HfG President Bernd Kracke and Offenbach Mayor Felix Schwenke (SPD).

The competition was headed by the internationally renowned architect Kees Christiaanse.

Jochen Remert

Airport editor and correspondent Rhein-Main-Süd.

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However, it is not yet certain whether the winners of the competition will ultimately also build the new art and design college in Offenbach.

The actual bidding process is yet to come.

However, experts assume that the chances for the people of Brussels and their partners are good.

A central urban planning requirement was to design the university in such a way that a "view through" from Ludwigstrasse beyond Hafenallee and the north ring to the harbor is retained.

The new campus is being built on two parts of the property, with the open space between the two building complexes serving both as access for students to the campus and as a passage for the residents of Offenbach's north end to the port.

New construction and reestablishment of the university

140 million euros have been made available for the project.

According to Dorn, the country is currently calculating costs of 125 million euros.

However, since prices in the construction sector have recently risen significantly, 15 million euros should serve as a buffer, as the minister said.

Dorn did not want to name a possible date for completion.

Work at the university, which will accommodate around 800 students, is scheduled to begin in 2026.

For HfG President Kracke, the new building for the art and design college, which he has headed since 2006, is more than just a new building, he speaks of a new founding of the university and a project of the century.

Because the new port campus is realizing what the university, the state government, the student union and the city of Offenbach have been working on for a good decade and a half.

For the first time in the history of the HfG, all disciplines, studios, workshops and laboratories will be brought together on one campus.

According to Kracke, the winning design ideally meets the requirements of the competition to develop a process-oriented, robust architecture with a workshop character, which arranges the rooms in such a way that many different uses are possible.

The second prize in the competition went to the group led by Robertneun Architekten GmbH, Berlin, third place went to a working group led by Kim Nalleweg Architekten from Berlin.

The cooperation between Henn GmbH, Munich, came fourth.

Kracke went on to say that the new university building at the port brings his house closer to the creative scene in Offenbach, which has established itself less in the city center and more in the north end with more affordable spaces.

For creative people, the north end will become the new center of the city, so to speak.

Minister Dorn did not want to comment on what could happen to the university buildings in the city center that would become vacant after the move.

The HfG President suggested that the state should provide studios, offices and workshops there at affordable prices for HfG graduates and start-up companies.

The country does not have to raise any money to upgrade the buildings for other purposes.

In fact, Offenbach's successful work on the image as a city of creative people is increasingly leading to the fact that affordable rooms that can also serve as studios, workshops or start-up offices are becoming scarcer and young creative people who are just starting out cannot find any quarters because there is not enough money.

The acquisition of globally successful companies such as the valve and control technology manufacturer Samson and the biotechnology shooting star Biospring is on the one hand crucial for the financial recovery of the city, but there is much to suggest that rents in Offenbach will tend to rise as a result.

Irrespective of this, the HfG, as an art school of international standing, is not just a major boost to Offenbach's image, said Schwenke.

Rather, it also fulfills a decisive function as a strategically central cooperation partner for the promotion of the creative industries in Offenbach.