Introduction - The School of Art and Design Berlin
The School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee was set up in 1946 as the "Northern Art School" in a Berlin that had been completely destroyed but not yet divided. It is was founded by artists associated with the Bauhaus. Teaching began with some 500 students in the summer of 1946. The School's first director was the metal sculptor Otto Sticht (1901 - 1973). One year later the Soviet Military Administration issued the School with the necessary licence to gain state recognition as a university of art. From that time the School was called "University of Applied Art". Otto Sticht was succeeded as director in 1948 by the ceramics artist Jan Bontjes van Beek (1899 - 1969) who, however, was forced in 1950 by political difficulties to cede the office to the architect and designer Mart Stam (1899 - 1986). Mart Stam left an impression on the Art School which can still be felt today. For example, he was the initiator of the joint interdisciplinary foundation course. He was dismissed for political reasons in 1952 and left the GDR shortly afterwards. Today the School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee commemorates this pioneering director with its support association, the Mart Stam Association. Mart Stam's successors as directors and later rectors of the Art School in Weissensee were the painter Werner Laux (1952-1956), the painter Bert Heller (1956-1957), the social scientist Gustav Urbschat (1957-1961), the painter Fritz DĂ¤hn (1961-1968), the painter Walter Womacka (1968-1988) and the graphic designer Rudolf GrĂĽttner (1988-1990). In 1953, the Art School was renamed the "University for Fine and Applied Art", and from 1969 it was called the "Berlin Art School". In 1991 the name "Weissensee" was added.
Restructuring 1991 â€“ 1993:
Shortly after the end of Germany's division in 1990, a two-year restructuring process began. Following the resignation of Rudolf GrĂĽttner as rector, a general assembly voted the designer and professor at the School, Alfred HĂĽckler, to the position of rector in the spring of 1991 (he remained in this office until 1996). Also in the year 1991, the Government of Berlin decided to extend the School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee. The number of student places offered by the Art School was to be increased from 260 to 550. The number of professorships was increased accordingly. All professorships at the KHB were re-advertised by a specialist commission made up of members from within and from outside the university. This structure and appointments commission (external members: Professor Dr.-Ing., Dr.h.c. Gerd Albers, Professor Klaus GrĂ¶zinger, Professor Dr. Wieland Schmied) consciously filled half these positions with teachers new to the School; the other half were awarded to teachers already working at the Art School , whose political background was unblemished. This was an attempt to test a particularly intense form of integrating "East" and "West". The School's name was extended to include the "University of Design" to underline the existence of the design subjects. However, the tight budgetary position of the Federal State of Berlin made cost cutting necessary from 1993, which has delayed further expansion of the Weissensee University.
Expansion 1993 â€“ 2004:
1993 saw the beginning of work to modernise the main buildings of the School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee, some of which were in dire need of repair. First of all, the photography workshop was renovated and newly equipped. The extension of the computer studio in the loft of the former administration building was completed in 1996. This was followed by work to replace the workshop buildings, some of which were contaminated with asbestos. In 1999 the first building was occupied. In November 2002, the other two buildings of the workshop complex were completed. The former rector, the architect Rainer W. Ernst (rector from 1996 - 2004) planned and designed the expansion of the KHB premises. Further construction work is planned: among other things, furnishing of a multi-functional lecture hall, the extension of the library, an extension of the sculpture workshop, a new building for the sculpture and painting workshops as well as a modernisation of the main hall.
The KHB today:
The School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee has been in a period of restructuring since 2004. Following an examination of all the city's art schools, an expert committee assembled by Berlin's Senator for Science drew up proposals in 2003 for how Berlin's art school situation should be changed. Among other things, this committee highlighted the valuable, independent profile of the School of Art and Design Berlin Weissensee. As part of the implementation of the expert committee's proposals, the KHB was given the status of a so-called contract university. Prof. Dr. Hartmut Dorgerloh, General Director of the Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg; Matthias FlĂĽgge, Vice-President of the Berlin Academy of Arts; Dr. Gabriele Knapstein, independent curator for the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art, among others, and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Dieter Simon, President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences became members of the newly constituted University Council which advises the directors of the KHB. Further members of the University Council are, the Senator for Science, Research and Culture, Dr. Thomas Flierl, and Prof. Gerhard Strehl as the Rector of the KHB.
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