Erich Spahn 2018


  • 1967 — 1969
  • Walter Gropius, Alex Cvijanovic, The Architects Collaborative (TAC)

building typology


Glass Cathedral, Glassmaker’s Cathedral, Rosenthal Glass Factory, Thomas Glass Factory, Thomas Glassworks

The Glassworks in Amberg is Walter Gropius’s last built work. This spectacular industrial workplace – which, because of its religious-like futuristic design is also known as the “Glass Cathedral” – was completed in 1970, one year after Gropius’s death. The Bauhaus founder designed the project together with his Boston architectural firm, The Architects Collaborative (TAC), and his partner Alex Cvijanovic. It was commissioned by factory owner Philip Rosenthal. Three years earlier, Gropius had already built a porcelain factory for the Rosenthal corporation in the town of Selb. Both of Gropius’s buildings for Rosenthal rank as visionary models of industrial architecture and important exemplars of the Bauhaus in Bavaria.

The entire site lies within a dell. Only the roofs of the low-rise buildings and the imposing gabled hall rise impressively above the surrounding greenery of Amberg’s Bergsteig district. The 100-metre-long smelting furnace hall – the “central nave” of the Glassmaker’s Cathedral – forms the heart of the complex. The stepped-back roofs of light-grey concrete and the ribbon windows terminate in a massive triangular gable that bestows a sacral quality to the building. In front of it are single-storey buildings for storage, shipment and processing, as well as a canteen (meanwhile disused) with an atrium.

The radically modern architecture of the Glassworks was the result of close collaboration between Gropius and Rosenthal. Both men advocated a holistic approach towards the question of architecture’s social role. Thus an industrial building should not only be efficient but also aesthetically pleasing, so as to guarantee humane working conditions with ample light, air and openness.

Now operating under the name “Kristall-Glasfabrik Amberg”, glass products are still produced in the building. In Amberg’s municipal museum, visitors can see a special exhibition about the Gropius building and the glassware manufactured there. [KM/DK]


Contact and opening hours


Rosenthalstraße 12
92224 Amberg

Opening hours

The site and the buildings are only accessible from the outside.
The tour "Experience the Amberg Glass Cathedral" is offered by appointment. Registration possible at
Please inform yourself about the current opening times and applicable access and hygiene regulations on site.

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

Nächstgelegener Bahnhof der Deutschen Bahn: Amberg
Nächstgelegene Haltestelle ÖPNV (Bus, Straßenbahn o.ä.): Rosenthal-Straße

Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism

Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.

Glassworks, Amberg
Stadtmuseum Amberg
Glassworks, Amberg
Glassworks, Amberg
Stadtmuseum Amberg
Glassworks, Amberg