Apolda, Eiermannbau

Empty architectural icon becomes Open Factory

The small town of Apolda, located between Jena and Weimar, was an important industrial site for decades. Since the beginning of the 18th century, the population has lived off textile production, first of stockings and later of knitted and woven fabrics. Only a few of the former 6,000 jobs, which existed solely in the textile industry, have been preserved since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Therefore, many of the city's large-scale production sites are now empty, one of which was the Egon Eiermann building. Since 2018, the IBA Thüringen has been developing this industrial monument into the Open Factory.

The Eiermann building is the only building in Thuringia designed by the architect Egon Eiermann. Originally built as a weaving mill, fire extinguishers were produced on site from the 1930s to 1994. Eiermann expanded the industrial building of the Apolda architect Hermann Schneider from 1938 to 1939, sensitively and attentively continuing the existing building structure while also incorporating the functional and aesthetic requirements of his time. Egon Eiermann is considered one of the most important German architects of post-war modernism. He was also a furniture designer and a professor at the Technical University of Karlsruhe. Logic, purity, and clarity were his architectural maxims.

Appropriation and development concept Open Factory

Apolda Eiermannbau innen Schneiderteil
Since 1994, the Eiermann building has been largely unused, offering around 6,000 square meters of floor space and a two-hectare plot of land. The IBA Thüringen activates the listed property under the motto ›How much is enough?‹ and thus also follows Eiermann's principles.
Apolda IBA Campus 2016 Zeltmotiv
In the summer of 2016, the first public IBA activities took place in the Eiermann building. From June 15th to 30th, 2016, in cooperation with the Wüstenrot Stiftung, the IBA Thuringia organized the IBA Campus 2016 - ZukunftsWerkstatt Eiermannbau. Around 30 students and graduates developed the Open Factory concept, which forms the basis for the further development of the IBA project.
IBA Campus Hotel Egon_Open House
In the summer of 2018, 50 creatives lived, learned and worked for two weeks during the second IBA Campus in the Eiermannbau. During the 14-day design-build workshop, they created furniture and surprising accommodation options, which now serve as amenities for visitors and guests of the Eiermann building.
IBA Pressekonferenz 'Es geht auch anders' im Eiermannbau
Based on the financing and usage concept for the Open Factory developed by the IBA Thuringia in 2016, LEG Thüringen acquired the Eiermann building in December 2017. The two state-owned companies IBA Thuringia and LEG Thüringen work together using the ›Anhandgabe‹ form; until 2023, IBA Thuringia is the developer of the project. This form of cooperation is intended to serve as a model for dealing with vacancies.

First use and expansion

The IBA Thuringia is the developer and placemaker of the Eiermann building. As the first user, it already moved into the industrial monument on a provisional basis in the summer of 2017. The IBA wants to motivate others to discover the place and work here as well. To this end, the IBA developed a prototypical expansion and utilization concept for 750 square meters in the Eiermann building from February to October 2018. In the fall of 2018, the IBA team finally moved into the cost-effective and functional, yet artistically sovereign office with greenhouses on the second floor, which can be replicated using a do-it-yourself guide  issued by the IBA. Thanks to the house-in-house solution, it is possible to use two climate zones throughout the year.

IBA Büro mit Gewächshäusern, Foto Thomas Müller
The IBA office is an experimental pilot project for simple construction. The most important goal of the IBA expansion was to serve as an example for other users. Through self-construction, new standards in usage type and intensity, as well as a consistent building technology concept, the IBA team and its visitors quickly turned it into an inspiring work and event space. In 2020, the IBA office was nominated for the DAM Prize 2021.

To enable year-round rental of the Open Factory, the Eiermann building was further expanded in 2021: the previously missing building technology was added to all floors. Partial spatial expansion also took place. This allows small rental units to be offered in some of the 250 to 400 square meter halls. In addition, a framework plan for the future use and activation of the two-hectare outdoor area was developed in 2021.

In March 2023, the Open Factory in the Eiermann building was officially reopened. In May, the IBA's final presentation will begin with a central exhibition in the Eiermann building.

The project is funded by the ›Nationale Projekte des Städtebaus‹ program of the Federal Ministry of the Interior and Community (BMI) as well as the Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture.

Impressions of the renovation from 2021 to 2023

Eiermannbau mit Gerüst 2022_Foto Thomas Müller
Dachsanierung Eiermannbau_Foto Thomas Müller
Fenstersims Eiermannbau_Foto Thomas Müller
Umbau des Eiermannbau 2022_Foto Thomas Müller
Einbau rückbaubare Teeküche_Foto Thomas Müller
Bau von Gewächshäusern für den Eiermannbau 2022_Foto Thomas Müller


Open Factory Eiermannbau
Auenstraße 11
99510 Apolda

Project Sponsor


Building Participants since 2018

IBA Contact Person

Katja Fischer
Telefon +49 3644 51832-11

Dorothee Schmidt 
Vermietung und Vermarktung 
Telefon +49 3644 518 32-06‬‬

Alexander Stief
Projektmitarbeiter Open Factory
Telefon +49 3644 518 32-03


Feierliche Wiedereröffnung des Eiermannbaus und Aufnahme des Projektes in die IBA Abschlusspräsentation
Textilworkshop mit Apoldaer Schüler:innen
Stand der Projektentwicklung ›Open Factory‹ im Apoldaer Stadtrat vorgestellt
Umbau des Eiermannbaus beginnt
Freiflächenkonzept der Open Factory fertiggestellt
Informationen zur Freifläche am Tag der Architektur 2021
Ressourcenschutzkonzept der Open Factory fertiggestellt
Probenutzung 2020: #eintrittfrei
Eiermannbauentwicklung wird gefördert durch Bundesprogramm ›Nationale Projekte des Städtebaus‹
Probenutzung 2019: ›Hotel Egon‹ im Eiermannbau
Fertigstellung: Ausbau IBA Büro im Eiermannbau
IBA Campus 2018: Ausstattung für Gäste und Besucher
Öffentlicher Start der Entwicklung als Open Factory
Zwischennutzungen im Eiermannbau 2017
IBA Campus 2016: Leitbildentwicklung Open Factory
Vorprojektphase: Gebietskulisse Bahnhof Apolda

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