The HfK is a an University of seeming differences: At the same time an academy for the fine arts and music, tied into her region and yet oriented to the world at large with firm determination. The HfK has made a home in diverse, urban settings and is extended across a number of sites in the city that could not be more different: ranging from facilities that are classicistic to floating and to contemporary. This special context has turned the HfK into an unique locus of encounters and cultural exchanges, providing manifold perspectives to be enjoyed by audiences far beyond the university community. By artistic practises and richly diverse cultural offerings, the HfK is giving impulses to the city and our wider society and has long become a cornerstone of culture life in Bremen.
Speicher XI is situated in the Überseestadt in Bremen, one of the largest projects in urban development all over Europe. The Überseestadt is a location of opportunities and change. This is a place where former warehouses serving the shipping industry have been renovated to sophisticated standards. They now meet new construction with a creative architecture. Here new and lively worlds for work and life emerge alongside historical structures that had once been built for diverse trades and the harbour. A University for the Arts and Music, the HfK has assumed a significant role in this development: Speicher XI is right there, in the centre of the harbour area. The historic warehouse building is under preservation as a monument and has become the address for the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, the leadership of the University, the administration, as well as for workshops serving artistic and technical needs. Formerly a warehouse for cotton, Speicher XI is steeped in history, but has also been reconfigured to accommodate new purposes. The unique architecture of the building provides amble space for exchanges and encounters. The Speicher XI has four storeys, each consisting of a wide corridor. The corridors connect studios, workshops, administration offices and a cafeteria. Radio Angrezi, the radio station of the HfK, and the Galerie Flut are also located at Speicher XI, providing additional opportunities for students to experiment. Colourful shipping containers in front of the building offer additional spaces for creative endeavours and hands-on work. One of the containers serves as home for the bicycle workshop and members of the university community cherish the opportunity to rent cargo bikes there.
Our location at Dechanatstraße is located in the heart of the city in Bremen, right next to the concert hall Glocke. This is where the Music Faculty made their home. Other important cultural institutions such as the Kunsthalle, the Theater Bremen, the Gerhard Marcks-Haus and the Wilhelm Wagenfeld-Haus are close by. Our facilities reside in a former school building once serving the Alte Gymnasium right between the neighbourhoods of Bremer Viertel, Schlachte and the downtown. The building was erected in late-classicist style and also is protected by historical preservation, providing halls for concerts and musical performances, as well as rooms for ensembles, teaching and practice sessions with modern equipment. An octagonal tower at the building rises above the roofs of the neighbourhood known as the Schnoorviertel, containing an historical astronomical observatory where a tower organ has been installed in 2010. The newly renovated music club Musikkeller and the cafeteria Mensa13 (opened in 2020) provide regular venues for concerts such as the HfK Jazzclub. By staging more than 300 concerts in all musical genres a year, the Music Faculty is contributing significantly to the cultural offerings in Bremen. These events open up the special atmosphere, as well as the many-faceted and diverse musical programme of the University to the urban community of Bremen.
The building complex of Speicher XI A sits directly adjacent to Speicher XI. The new building provided the HfK with a taylor-made extension in the Überseestadt the University had long wished for to mesh the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design and the Music Faculty even closer together. Highly visible, a protected space is emerging in the urban landscape where teaching, artistic practice and artistic-scientific research engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue. The building stands out due to an extraordinary architecture. The distinctive shed roofs tie the site into the classic architecture of the traditional industries and factories of the harbour area. Speicher XI A creates a new location for artistic engagement on some 2.000 square meters of space – in studies and teaching, as well as for encounters with the general public: Exhibits, presentations, media installations and performances are happening here, as well as concerts and opera performances. Due to the large windows at the site, Speicher XI A is not only bathed in light. The facility has also become a permanent display window that opens opportunities for incidental encounters with the arts to people of all stripes.
An extraordinary and moveable site of the HfK is (usually) floating on the river Weser: The “Dauerwelle”, a boat dedicated to exhibitions and events. Formerly used as a passenger vessel, the ship is 53 meters long and makes for a buoyant extension of the HfK in the urban environment. By removing the steerage, a large space flooded with light coming through two rows of windows lined on top of each other has been created that serves as a setting for exhibitions and events. The “Dauerwelle” is a special location: Here, performances, concerts and presentations gain a new dynamic through the particular environment. Instead of presenting their work in a white cube, artists show on an historic hull and with a water view. The vessel has been christened in a ceremony at the central anchorage on the Bürgermeister-Smidt-Brücke in May 2022. By being directly adjacent to the Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst and the Gesellschaft für Aktuelle Kunst (GAK), the mooring facilitates a intimate and direct interaction with key actors in the cultural scene of the city. As a swimming, nomadic space without firm ground, the “Dauerwelle” can carry the HfK-experience to other locations.