HfG Ulm

Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

  • year of construction / construction time 1953 — 1955
  • architect Max Bill

  • year of construction / construction time 2009 — 2013

building typology

Also known as: Ulm School of Design

The Ulm School of Design (HfG) was founded in the mid-1950s and enjoys a world-renowned reputation even today – 50 years after its closure. Its founders were Inge Aicher-Scholl, Otl Aicher and Max Bill, who was also responsible for the architecture of the school building. As a former Bauhaus student, he applied the Bauhaus philosophy to his design for the campus buildings, creating a purist, functionally sober ensemble with a workshop character.

The multi-building complex consists of five elements. The architecture here is adapted to the hilly landscape and takes advantage of the sloping terrain. Laid out as a campus that encourages collaborative work and social coexistence, the facilities included not only administrative and teaching spaces but also workshops, a student dormitory, a canteen and a series of semi-detached houses for the teachers. The individual buildings of varied heights were connected along a long corridor.

In his choice of materials, Max Bill was bound to a tight budget and donations of materials from industry. The buildings were ultimately constructed of in-situ concrete. Thus the buildings of HfG Ulm are among the first in Germany to be built with frames of reinforced concrete. Wooden doors and windows along with the exposed concrete surfaces of exterior and interior walls gave the ensemble a uniform appearance.

Max Bill consciously decided against the normal building conventions of the day, rejecting the idea of creating representational architecture to outwardly communicate the status of an institution of higher education. The buildings were instead exceedingly fit for use, and with their sober architectural language, reduced palette of materials, and renunciation of pathos and opulence, they conveyed the tenets behind the teaching at the HfG.

Thanks to the quality of the architecture, the buildings still seem timeless today. Over the years, they have undergone two careful renovations to adapt them to changing use requirements and new tenants. Today the buildings house not only the HfG archive, but also private companies that primarily work within the design sector. In 1979, the ensemble was granted protection as a cultural monument of special importance.


Contact and opening hours


Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm
Am Hochsträß 8
89081 Ulm

Opening hours

  • Montag : Uhr
  • Dienstag : Uhr
  • Mittwoch : Uhr
  • Donnerstag : Uhr
  • Freitag : Uhr
  • Samstag : Uhr
  • Sonntag : Uhr
  • Karfreitag : closed
  • Heiligabend : closed
  • 1. Weihnachtstag : closed
  • 2. Weihnachtstag : closed
  • Silvester : closed

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

Nächstgelegener Bahnhof der DB: Ulm Hauptbahnhof
Nächstgelegene Haltestelle ÖPNV: "Oberer Kuhberg" oder "Schulzentrum"

conveying formula

Die Liegenschaften der HfG Ulm sind im Besitz der privaten Stiftung Hochschule für Gestaltung HfG Ulm. Alle Kosten, die das Objekt betreffen, werden von der Stiftung HfG Ulm getragen.

Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

This place is part of the tour:

Tour 1

Explore the avant-garde

Stuttgart, Ulm und Karlsruhe

The modern metropolis reimagined: experience the Weissenhof housing estate in Stuttgart, the testaments to modernist university architecture in Ulm, and the Dammerstock housing estate in Karlsruhe.

Show tour details
Tillmann Franzen, tillmannfranzen.com © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018