|Interview with Claus Anderhalten, Anderhalten Architects
The Berlin-based firm Anderhalten Architekten has designed inspiring architecture that resonates with future designers. They
were tasked with renovating and expanding the industrial design building at the University of Art and Design in Halle. Claus
Anderhalten relates how creative working on existing buildings can be.
Question: You were tasked with renovating and expanding the industrial design building in Halle. Was it especially challenging to design
architecture for young designers?
Answer: It was great that we got to know the people who would be using the building from the beginning. We consciously involved professors
and students in a really creative planning process. Our task was to build a building they could identify with, a building,
which outwardly suggests that design work is being done inside, industrial design work in particular. It was difficult to
balance the requirements of the local building authority and the desires and requirements of the institute, which standard
rooms couldn’t accommodate. There also had to be enough exhibition space to accommodate large three-dimensional works. Students
needed more air and light in the rooms.
Question: The façade is particularly striking, what was the idea behind it?
Answer: The designers were previously housed in a former laboratory building, which was an addition to an art nouveau style villa.
The artists at the institute have always been in Burg Giebichenstein, but the designers needed to become a more visible part
of the city. The imposing façade is supposed to say “Here we are!” Something more conventional would not have worked. The
gold-colored, three-dimensional structure is an eye-catcher. We built the façade with industrial pre-fabricated aluminum components
in only three formats, appropriate for industrial design and mass production.
Question: Have you gotten feedback from the institute‘s students and professors, if so, what have you heard?
Answer: School administrators, assistants and students participated in the planning from the beginning. Therefore, they were able
to identify with the building very early on. It made me happy that the first annual exhibition took place there just after
the windows were installed even though the structure was still just a shell. And it was exciting to see how the students interpreted
the architecture. We’ve also gotten very positive feedback from the school administration.
Question: Your architectural firm specializes in the restoration and conversion of historically protected buildings, what role does
design and creativity play in your daily work?
Answer: Construction on existing buildings transfers the whole process of architectural application analysis to the construction
site itself. You really see the problems and details when you’re on site and working on the building. Valuable monuments require
art to explore the potential of the old building and to provide a contrast in order to combine old and new into a new unity.
Besides expertise, creativity and discussions with the architect of the old building are needed.
Question: Do you have any advice to help future designers on their way?
Answer: They should resolutely pursue their own goals and not allow themselves to be sidetracked. Discussions and input from others
are important, but you can’t lose sight of your goal in the process.
Thank you very much for a wonderful conversation!
Anderhalten Architekten was founded in Berlin in 1993. They specialize in the restoration and conversion of prestigious historically
protected buildings. Claus Anderhalten and his team were tasked with the renovation and expansion of the industrial design
building at the University of Art and Design, Burg Giebichenstein, Halle.