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From arsenal to faculty of design . München/DE

The light red exposed brick building in Lothstraße, Munich, shines from afar like a beacon to passers by. The former arsenal dating back to 1866 was pain­stakingly renovated by Berlin-based Staab Architekten over a period of ten years and now houses the Faculty of Design at Munich University of Applied Sciences. As the architectural gateway to Munich's creative district, it fits in seamlessly with the cityscape whilst also gaining a new identity as a central location for the design discourse of the city. 

 © Photo: Marcus Ebener, Oliver Jaist
 © Photo: Marcus Ebener, Oliver Jaist 

Over the years, the former arsenal of the Bavarian army has undergone many conversions and changes in use. The external appearance of the building, which is divided into one central structure and two wings, has largely survived unchanged. The room structure, which has, conversely, been heavily modified over the years, was to be largely restored to its original layout, updated to the latest technical standards and made fit for the complex usage requirements of contemporary design. The result is a harmonious dialogue between future-oriented design and historical building stock. 

The building is accessed through the main entrance (and former coach entrance), which the architects have given a modern interpretation in keeping with its original structure. This has created a puristic entrance area with restored arches, white walls and ceilings, grey screed and untreated aluminium panels in the stairwells. Three materials dominate throughout the building and emphasise the industrial character of the structure: in addition to the mill finish aluminium, floorboards and built-in furniture made from cement-bonded composite wood boards contrast with the white plastered interior.

The mill finish aluminium surfaces inside the building will intentionally show signs of wear over time, which will emphasise the workshop style of the space.
The continuous glass façade and the cantilevered roof set the extension apart from the existing building. The FW 60+ mullion/transom façade with the ADS 65 and ADS 80 FR 30 tubular frame doors and AWS 90 window profiles enables old and new to coexist in harmony. The sliding door system allows the pavilion to be opened up to the neighbouring creative quarter.

A corridor along the central axis leads into the glazed pavilion, which was created as a link to the side wings in the former courtyard. The extension is used as an exhibition space and stands out from the existing building due to its steel/glass construction and the cantilevered, angular roof. A wide gap highlights the point where old meets new. A steel bridge into the extension joins the building sections and leads through to the barrier-free stairwells and study rooms, workshops and studios behind. 

In the new building, all of the courses of study of the faculty are brought together under one roof for the first time. The result is an inspiring place that offers space to allow creativity to unfold and that is tailored to design as the central discipline for overcoming the challenges of our time. 


Fakultät für Design der Hochschule München




Staatliches Hochbauamt München 2


Staab Architekten, Berlin/DE

Project management

Hanns Ziegler, Jan Holländer

Date of completion


Total area

12.400 m2

Usable space

5.200 m2

Structural design

Barthel & Maus Beratende Ingenieure GmbH, München/DE

Façade restoration 

Steinwerkstatt Restaurierung & Denkmalpflege, Regensburg/DE

Schüco systems

ADS 65 / ADS 80 FR 30, AWS 90, FW 60+

Words: Tina Barankay 
Photos: Marcus Ebener, Oliver Jais

 © Photo: Marcus Ebener, Oliver Jaist
In the library in particular, the brushed aluminium, rustic floorboards and built-in furniture made from cement-bonded composite wood boards contrast with the white plastered interior.