Fagus Factory

Fagus-Werk, Alfeld
UNESCO-Welterbe Fagus-Werk;
Fagus-Werk, Alfeld

  • year of construction / construction time 1911
  • architect Walter Gropius, Adolf Meyer

  • year of construction / construction time 1984 — 2004

building typology

Also known as: UNESCO World Heritage Fagus Factory

The Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Lower Saxony, ranks internationally as one of the masterpieces of modern architectural history. It is the first building ever built by Walter Gropius, the later founder of the Bauhaus. The factory building, where shoe lasts and other products are still manufactured today, set new standards not only in industrial construction. Built in 1911, this factory is today considered one of the origins of modern architecture.

The shoe-last manufacturer Carl Benscheidt commissioned the young architect Walter Gropius, who was still unknown at the time, to design the building. For both the businessman and the architect, it was important for the architecture to factor in the needs of the people working in the building. At that time, it was a revolution in industrial architecture.

At the heart of the ensemble is the workshop building, with its striking and extensive glass curtain wall façade that stretches over three storeys. An absolute innovation at the beginning of the 20th century was the complete lack of supporting piers for the glass fronts at the corners of the building. This was made possible by a specially developed structural solution – the so-called “Gropius knot” – and the radically modern skeletal construction.

Thus, instead of a windowless and dark production hall, Walter Gropius and his colleague Adolf Meyer created a bright and humane work environment. The window panels extend from floor to ceiling on three sides of the building, allowing daylight to flow into the production hall. The building and its clear cubic shapes appear light and almost weightless. Gropius intentionally made it narrow to avoid the impression of monumentality. Glass and steel are the dominant materials, complemented by yellow clinker brick at the base. The forms are reduced to the essentials.

The lavishly refurbished and modernised building complex has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2011. To this day, the Fagus Factory remains the only World Heritage Site in the world in which manufacturing still actively takes place. It is open daily to visitors and offers guided tours and exhibitions in the company’s visitor centre.


Map legend

  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours


UNESCO-Welterbe Fagus-Werk
Hannoversche Straße 58
31061 Alfeld

Opening hours

  • Neujahr (01.01.) : closed
  • Heiligabend : closed
  • 1. Weihnachtstag : closed
  • Silvester : closed

01.04. bis 31.10.: täglich 10:00 - 17:00 Uhr geöffnet
01.11. bis 31.03.: täglich 10:00 - 17:00 Uhr geöffnet

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

Nächstgelegener Bahnhof der Deutschen Bahn: Alfeld (Leine), 10-Minuten Fußweg zum Fagus-Werk
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
Fagus Factory, Alfeld
UNESCO-Welterbe Fagus-Werk
Fagus Factory, Alfeld

This place is part of the tour:

Tour 1

Tour World Heritage Sites

Hannover, Celle, Alfeld und Goslar

Experience three world heritage sites in Germany. The Chilehaus in Hamburg, the Fagus plant in Alfeld and the Rammelsberg mine in Goslar.

Show tour details
Photo: © Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com