Saalfeld, Beulwitzer Straße

Space for Arrival

The residential area at the old barracks in Saalfeld is the most colorful and youngest neighborhood in the Saalfeld-Rudolstadt district. The location between the city and the countryside offers residents a wide view of the landscape between the Saale river and the Thuringian Forest.

Since the 1990s, the Beulwitzer Straße has increasingly become a social hotspot. In 2012, the district established a communal accommodation for asylum seekers here. The demand for social support, education, and integration has increased and changed due to immigration from various global regions. In order to improve living conditions and opportunities in the neighborhood, the city of Saalfeld/Saale applied for the ›Zukunftsstadt 2030+‹ competition of the Federal Ministry of Research and Education in 2014. Surprisingly, the residents reported positively about their neighborhood, particularly the scenic quality of the residential area. The administration realized that the planned development into an industrial area did not meet the local needs. In addition to business settlements, spaces were required to strengthen the local community and provide refugees with opportunities for participation, education, and work.

The ›Arrival StadtLand‹ project call came at just the right time: in response to the flight of around two million people from war and crisis areas to Europe, the IBA Thuringia was looking for actors who wanted to strengthen the culture of welcome in their spatial context. With their application for the Beulwitzer Straße neighborhood, the city of Saalfeld/Saale became a candidate for the IBA Thuringia. Since then, the city and its partners have consistently pursued neighborhood development with the support of the IBA. In just two summer weeks in 2017, residents and volunteers brought the ›Space for Arrival‹ on the barracks site to life by building a covered seating area made of recycled materials and pallets. Various workshops and activities invited people to plant herbs together, repair bicycles, and sew clothing, among other things.

In the sewing workshop, women and children designed several dresses that they showcased in a fashion show.
The summer workshop in 2017 marked the beginning of Urban Catalyst's conceptual study for the development of the neighborhood and the definition of the construction task.
Within two summer weeks in 2017, local residents and volunteers brought the ›intermediate space for arrival‹ on the former barracks site to life by building a covered seating area out of recycled materials and pallets.
In addition to printing and sewing, bicycles were repaired together in a workshop.
The covered seating area made from recycled materials and pallets was embellished from the outside by local children.
There was a linocut workshop.
A herb garden made out of tetrapaks was created.

To further promote urban development, the IBA Thuringia commissioned Urban Catalyst from Berlin to conduct an idea study in 2017. During the summer workshop, the planners explored the space together with the residents. Initially on a large idea wall, and then also in the field, they marked the favorite and conflict areas, which led to further discussions and ideas. Finally, the vision for the Werkhaus was created from several variations. This multifunctional, modular building should contain spaces for building and repairing, cooking and sewing, encounters and education, but also areas for a resident-operated café and small-scale trade. Differentiated outdoor areas, including gardens, sports, and games, should extend the interior spaces. An action space concept from nonconform updated the construction field in 2020 and specified the functional allocations in the neighborhood. 2021, the architectural phase began. In a participatory process, the consortium ifau, Jesko Fezer and projektbüro formulated the urban framework and the architectural concept for a modular spatial system along a pergola. Sigmaplan® Weimar further developed the approach to a simple wooden skeleton construction for execution. IHLE Landschaftsarchitekten Weimar planned the outdoor areas. In the spirit of the IBA motto ›How little is enough?‹ the building structure and equipment are reduced to a minimum. At the same time, the Werkhaus is open to future renovations and expansions in accordance with the dynamic development in the neighborhood. In September 2022, the construction phase began. Under the guidance of the Werkhaus manager, the residents participate in the construction and equipment. Recycled materials from an inner-city demolition project are also used. The topping-out ceremony and initial uses are planned for 2023. Users of the 570 square meter indoor and covered outdoor space will be the neighborhood management, educational and social institutions, clubs, and initiatives from the neighborhood.

Spatenstich Werkhaus Saalfeld_Foto Thomas Müller.jpg
Residents of the neighborhood, Dr. Bertram Schiffers, project manager of IBA Thuringia, Hanka Giller, head of the Department of Youth/Sports/Social Affairs of the city of Saalfeld/Saale, Dr. Steffen Kania, mayor of the city of Saalfeld/Saale, Dipl.-Ing. Jan Weyh, architect at SIGMA PLAN WEIMAR, Christoph Majewski, managing director of the Bildungszentrum Saalfeld, and Laura Köppen, employee of the Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture (from left), at the groundbreaking ceremony of the Werkhaus on Beulwitzer Straße in Saalfeld/Saale. Picture: Thomas Müller

The Werkhaus combines several innovative approaches: the participatory planning process, the flexible spatial program, the connection with the open space, the modular wooden construction, the use of recycled materials, and the self-building phases with the residents. With the Werkhaus, the city of Saalfeld/Saale, together with the district of Saalfeld-Rudolstadt, the Bildungszentrum Saalfeld, and other partners, responds to the challenges and opportunities of migration as well as the deficiencies, needs, and potentials in the residential environment. At the interface between urban and rural, housing and commerce, origin and future, youth and work, a much-needed social infrastructure is being created here. As a hinge and springboard, the Werkhaus aims to make talents visible, promote dialogue, and activate self-help.


Werkhaus Beulwitzer Straße
Prinz-Louis-Ferdinand-Str. 1
07318 Saalfeld

Project Sponsors

Stadt Saalfeld/Saale

Project Partners

Action Area Concept

nonconform, Wien/Berlin

Planning Werkhaus


Werkhaus Manager

BAU WERK 13, Saalfeld/Saale


GETA Saalfeld

Fire Protection Planning

Ingenieurbüro für Brand- und Explo-sionsschutz, Kaulsdorf

IBA Project Manager

Dr. Bertram Schiffers


Gespräch mit Hanka Giller_IBA Magazin 2022.pdf [pdf]


Werkhaus Beulwitzer Straße Saalfeld/Saale im IBA Finale 2023
Spatenstich für Werkhaus
Modellbauworkshop visualisiert Werkhaus
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt IBA Projektstatus für Beulwitzer Straße
Arrival StadtLand Kongress
Sommerwerkstatt Zwischenraum zum Ankommen 2017
Studierende zur Sommerwerkstatt eingeladen
1. Ideenwerkstatt für den Zwischenraum zum Ankommen
IBA Fachbeirat empfiehlt Kandidatenstatus für das ›Werkhaus Beulwitzer Straße‹

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