Tuesday | 04. April 2023

Art, Design, Media and Music at the Überseestadt in Bremen

The University of the Arts Bremen opens Speicher XI A

A press release from Melisa Lemcke

© Hochschule für Künste Bremen – Lukas Klose

On April 19th, at 5 pm the University of the Arts (HfK) Bremen will open Speicher XI A with a festive ceremony. The building complex will provide the HfK with a tailor made extension in the Überseestadt that the university had long be wishing for to tie tie and interconnect the Faculties for Fine Arts, Design and Music together even further. The opening will be capped by a grand sound- and light-installation entitled Polytope XIa.

Professor Roland Lambrette, President of the University of the Arts Bremen, observes: “By building Speicher XI A the HfK continues our contributions to the development of the Überseestadt, while showcasing the potentials of a contemporary university for the arts and music: A sheltered location is being set up in the urban space where teaching, artistic practices and artistic-scientific research enter an interdisciplinary dialogue. Lecturers and students will engage with pressing issues in our society at this special place and will carry their reflections and proposals into the wider public.”

Containing no internal barriers, the excellent, technical infrastructure and the outstanding architecture of Speicher XI A provide ideal preconditions for these efforts: Speicher XI A is about 100 meters long and contains some 2.000 square meters of space. The two factory halls at the location comprise studios that can be separated into individual areas, large walls and rooms for storage and offices, as well as an adjustable hall for events and exhibitions with some 400 seats. These features set Speicher XI A up to become a new locus for artistic engagement – in studies and teaching, as well as with the general public: Exhibits, presentations, media installations and performances will happen here, as well as concerts and opera performances.

Speicher XI A was built by the German-Chinese joint venture Portinvest GmbH. The company had already realised a transitory dormitory in the Überseestadt. The HfK Bremen is leasing the building complex for 30 years. The Science Department under Senator Dr. Claudia Schilling will cover the expenses of 300.000 € annually.

"The opening of Speicher XI A is a win-win situation for the university and its entire environment. The light-flooded and individually divisible studio and work spaces provide the students and lecturers of the faculties of art and design as well as music with urgently needed additional space, which is necessary for a high-quality education of the artists. The new event hall also opens up additional opportunities to give the urban society new impetus and food for thought on important issues of our time through exhibitions and performances," says Dr. Claudia Schilling.

The groundbreaking for the building occurred in August 2021. The edifice has extraordinary architectural qualities and has been designed by the firm GSP Gerlach Schneider Partner Architekten, who are residing at Speicher XI. The distinctive “shed roofs” echo the classic industrial and factory architecture of the harbour area. The plans were realised by the family owned construction company Alfred Brünjes from Loxstedt. The project has been coordinated by the Dr.-Hübotter-Gruppe.

Speicher XI A was the last project launched for the University by Professor h.c. Dr. jur. Klaus Hübotter before his passing in June 2022. Hübotter had been an eminent supporter of building projects and a honorary senator at the HfK. Time and again, he facilitated undertakings that faced seemingly impossible obstacles and thereby also made significant contributions to the cityscape of Bremen. Among other projects, Hübotter was responsible for the rehabilitation, as well as the alteration and extension of Speicher XI as the site of the University of the Arts and the private Harbour Museum in the Überseestadt.

According to Roland Lambrette: “The HfK community is deeply obliged to Klaus Hübotter for being able to work, teach, study and experiment at Speicher XI and Speicher XI A today. We are proud that the life´s work of Klaus Hübotter will continue in this sense with the efforts of our university.”

The opening ceremony will feature speeches and addresses by Professor Lambrette and Dr. Claudia Schilling, Senator for Science and Harbours, as well as other participants. Guests can also look forward to a special, artistic highlight in the program.

The opening will be accompanied by a major sound and light installation. Together with Dennis Paul (Professor for Interactions in Space), Kilian Schwoon (Professor for Electroacoustic Composition) and Lorenz Potthast (media artist, alumnus and lecturer), students at the Faculties of Fine Arts and Design, as well as the Music, have engaged with the “Polytope de Cluny” by Iannis Xenakis from 1972. Audiences experienced the original performances at the Roman baths of the Musée de Cluny in Paris. 50 years later the original sound track will undergo a reinterpretation on a setup of 3-D speakers, overlayed with a light installation that has been developed in Bremen specifically for the site of Speicher XI A. Additionally, new stereophonic compositions by students at the HfK reacting to the ideas of Xenakis will be heard throughout the event days.

Learning, teaching, working and experimenting have already commenced at Speicher XI A. Three professors at the HfK will enrich the building complex with their classes in the coming three years. Ingo Vetter, Professor for Sculpture with a Focus on Classic, Artistic Materials, and Alexander Sahoo, Professor for Fundamental Aspects of Design, have already moved in.    Füsun Türetken, Professor for Design and the Future, will join them. They share the theme of materiality that is being considered by different approaches at Speicher XI A – ranging from the construction of cargo bicycles to production design to sculptures.

To turn ideas and visions into a material reality, one needs work shops. Therefore, these also can be found at Speicher XI A. The workshop for electronic experiments is managed by our alumnus Felix Fisgus. Volker Grahmann runs metal construction and Markus Walthert leads the Interaction Lab that contains the 3-D printer, the CNC cutting plotter and the laser cutter, among other tools.

As an event space, Speicher XI A is taking center stage at the HfK. With their Werkschau I some 50 students at the Faculty Integrated Design already were able to present the results of their first three semesters at HfK at the new site. Students at Fine Arts have also presented their final works in the special environment of Speicher XI A. More events are already in the pipeline. It has become obvious that Speicher XI A will provide cultural enrichment for the Überseestadt in Bremen as a space for the arts, design, media and music.

Events start at 5 pm (premises will open at 4.30 pm)

  • Welcome Address – Professor Roland Lambrette (President of the HfK)
  • Speech – Dr. Claudia Schilling (Senator for Science and Harbours)
  • Group Address: Professor Katrin von Maltzahn (Dean of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Design, HfK), Professor Florian Edler (Dean of the Faculty of Music, HfK), Christina Scheib (Curator of Speicher XI A, HfK)
  • Acknowledgments – Dr. Antje Stephan (Chancellor of the HfK)
  • Speeches – Professor Kilian Schwoon, Professor Dennis Paul, Lorenz Potthast (teachers at the HfK / Polytope XIa)
  • Sound- and light installation Polytope XIa followed by a get-together.