The University of Coburg, specifically the Design Faculty, has the opportunity to create an exhibition piece for Bienalle 2021. The exhibition piece has an emphasis on the curriculum subjects of Bachelors in Architecture and Interior Design, as well as Masters in Design (focus heritage design).

Heritage Design

The title stands for sustainable development and design of our architectural heritage – existing building fabric. As a small University in the rural region of Upper Franconia, with its comprehensive portfolio concerning historical building fabric, we feel the responsibility to act accordingly. The analysis of the existing structures and environments takes priority in our teaching of design. Recycling, upcycling, and reuse of the existing building fabric as a resource stands in the foreground. In view of planning and designing, we are trying to keep the authentic image of the existing structures and convert them in a contemporary manner. Concerning the architectural implementation, we are trying to inspire the students to accept the traditional values of sustainability, as well as elementary and adequate building methods in relation to material use and craftsmanship.

The Faculty of Design identifies itself through distinct interdisciplinary collaboration within the Faculty Departments. In addition, the Faculty offers a Master´s degree in cooperation with the Institute for Heritage Conservation, as with the Competence Centre for Heritage Conservation and Digital Technologies in Heritage Conservation of the University of Bamberg.

Exhibition concept

The exhibition piece shows in an abstract form the cultural landscape of the Upper Franconian region with the existing architectural structures in a new arrangement. The two exhibited projects are an example of the Faculty´s teaching methods that show the conversion and further development of the valuable existing heritage sites in rural environments. It is important to us to sustainably strengthen the rural region and make it more attractive to counteract the population decline caused by demographic change.

One project shows possibilities of developing the historic neighborhood in Gräfenberg. This collection of half-timbered houses, most of which arose during the reconstruction phase after the Thirty Years’ War, represents a collection of exceptional structural, architectural, and cultural-historical importance. Various planning and functional concepts for the individual houses that did justice to the location and its importance were developed during one semester based on a detailed analysis by the students of the Bachelor’s degree in Architecture and the Master’s degree in Design. The focus was on the bond between dwelling and working to create a lively blend.

The other project shows a further development of the old sheep farm in Ahorn near Coburg. Up until the 1930s, around 500 sheep were housed in this building during winter. After the sheep farm was abandoned, the buildings fell into disrepair until the 1970s. In 1973, the registered association Coburg District Tool Museum decided to develop the old sheep farm and establish the representative museum under the same name. The collection has grown to around 60,000 objects, making it the most important antique collection for the former Duchy of Coburg. The students of the Bachelor’s degree in Architecture, the Master’s degree in Design and Heritage Conservation developed concepts to reorganize the exhibition and to expand the building structure without impairing the historical building collection.

The abstractly depicted cultural landscape was illuminated by the students from the Interior Design Bachelor’s degree.

biennale 2021

Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Germany
Faculty of Design

The University of Coburg excels in all fields of applied sciences, including those in humanities, engineering, as well as social and natural sciences. The University is especially well-known in the field of design, with undergraduate courses in architecture, interior design, integrated product design, and civil and structural engineering. It has an established interdisciplinary master’s degree in design, in addition to master’s level courses in preservation of historical monuments, which are offered in cooperation with the University of Bamberg. The University of Coburg continues to receive national recognition for its commitment and dedication to sustainable planning and design.


The University, founded in Coburg, Germany, in 1814 by a ducal architect Friedrich Streib (1781-1852), started as a private school for “civil architecture”. The school´s initial purpose was to prepare builders of the time to attain the title of “Meister” (master craftsman). After the death of Friedrich Streib, the school was known as the Ducal School of Architecture, and later the State Architecture School. After the Second World War, the school continued, as Bavaria’s first State School of Architecture. In 1959, the disciplines of mechanical and electrical engineering were added to form the State Polytechnic Coburg. In 1971, the State Polytechnic Coburg was extended to become the Coburg University of Applied Sciences. At that time, the range of disciplines was further expanded to include the fields of business and social work. With the introduction of an interior design program, 1975 marked the beginning of what has come to be known as Design Coburg. The product design program was ultimately added to the curriculum.


The Coburg University of Applied Sciences is situated in the Upper Franconia region, in northern Bavaria, near the former inner-German border with Thuringia. The surrounding region is characterized by a high concentration of manufacturing businesses, which provide numerous and diverse employment opportunities. At the same time, regional demographic changes are predicted to result in a double-digit population decline. The region that shaped its cultural landscape over centuries, went through a modest development and transformation since the Second World War. It is still characterized by its genuine consciousness and commitment to tradition and sense of identity.


The Faculty of Design strives to develop and implement strategies that display and increase the attractiveness of the local historic centers and their environments by working on interdisciplinary projects in close cooperation with the local government and non-government institutions. The goal of these projects is to emphasize and maintain a sense of identity in the architectural and cultural qualities of the existing context, counter the consumption of land through single-family housing developments, thereby preventing the appearance of featureless architecture in the local town centers. That is why the preservation of buildings and their technical restoration play a major role in these programs. Our curriculum also focuses on sustainable development and expansion, including recycling, upcycling, and reuse of existing buildings and designs. The basis of our work lies in the extensive analysis of the existing building fabric, which plays a significant role in all courses of the Faculty of Design and brings them together.

Get more Information about the University of Coburg.

Curators: Prof. Markus Schlempp, Lect. Ph.D. Tijana Vojnović Ćalić, Lect. Michael Müller

Students on the project: Luisa Abram, Maximilian Allstadt, Hanna Dietel, Vanessa Dietz, Til Frank, Anna Friedrich, Marius Gruss, Yannick Herzmansky, Thilo Kästner, Pinar Mautzka, Bruce Müller, Fabian Oppermann, Aaron Peetz, Sarah Schmitt, Noah Schneider, Josefina Seibt, Sarah Andrea Stein, Philip Swoboda, Claudia Thiess, Astrid Weil Helmbold, Tim Wiener

Special thanks to Prof. Ph.D. Christiane Fritze (president), Maria Knott-Lutze (chancellor), Prof. Ph.D. Holger Falter (dean), staff members of the Faculty of Design, especially the Departments of Architecture and Interior Design, as well as the Faculty workshops

Making of



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Coburg University – School of design
Department Architecture and Design

Am Hofbräuhaus 1
96450 Coburg

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Hochschule für angewandte Wissenschaft Coburg
Studiengang Architektur / Master Design
Fakultät Design
Am Hofbräuhaus 1
96450 Coburg

Telefon: +49 9561 317 0
Telefax: +49 9561 317 273
E-Mail: heritagedesign@hs-coburg.de

Die Hochschule Coburg ist eine Körperschaft des Öffentlichen Rechts. Sie wird durch ihre Präsidentin Prof. Dr. Christine Fritze gesetzlich vertreten.

Aufsichtsbehörde: Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Bildung und Kultus, Wissenschaft und Kunst. Salvatorstraße 2, 80333 München

Verantwortlicher für den Inhalt gemäß §55 Abs. 2 RStV:
Prof. Markus Schlempp

Telefon: +49 9561 317 353
E-Mail: Markus.Schlempp@hs-coburg.de

Design & Composing:
Til Frank

Konzept & Text:
Prof. Markus Schlempp, LbA. Dr. Tijana Vojnovic

Realisierung & Hosting:
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