A central lecture hall building for the Stadtmitte campus

TU Darmstadt reopens “Hexagon” with around 870 seats


The striking “Hexagon” lecture hall building of the TU Darmstadt, an architectural testimony to post-war modernism from the time of the reconstruction of Darmstadt's city centre, has been renovated and carefully extended in keeping with its status as a listed building. A large part of the etit department's courses take place in the building. The costs for the five-year construction phase amount to around 18 million euros.

Not only the students and lecturers are pleased: From now on, they will find around 870 seats and state-of-the-art media technology for lectures in three lecture halls in the refurbished “Hexagon”. The lecture hall building, which was built in 1962 according to plans by the then University Construction Office and was praised for its sober, functional appearance, will once again become an important centre for studying and teaching in the middle of Darmstadt's city centre after extensive renovation: 580 events with a total of around 50,000 participants are already planned in the listed building for the summer semester of 2023.

“The renovation of the Hexagon was a challenge: the rooms were to be refurbished and equipped with modern technology without losing the charm of the historic building,” says Minister for Science and the Arts Angela Dorn. “I would particularly like to emphasise the clear focus on students in special situations – be it with disabilities or because they are travelling with children. In this way, we are also structurally enabling many bright and creative minds to have the best possible conditions and fair opportunities in their studies.”

Professor Dr. Tanja Brühl,
President of the TU Darmstadt

I am pleased that with the Hexagon we can once again use and revitalise a central lecture hall building on the Stadtmitte campus. Here, interaction can succeed in a historic building. My sincere thanks go to all those who have contributed to this successful renovation.

Picture: Klaus Mai

Barrier-free access

All floors are barrier-free accessible. In the two lecture halls with the largest capacities (467 seats and 247 seats), there are two “family seats” in the last row for parents with prams. Wheelchair spaces are provided in the front area. The neighbouring buildings of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology are also accessible barrier-free via two newly and stylishly added ramps.

The state of Hesse financed the majority of the renovation: the Higher Education Pact 2020-INVEST Phase III programme and other state funds provided around 15.5 million euros, with the TU Darmstadt contributing the rest.

The lecture hall building remained unchanged until the start of the refurbishment, except for minor architectural adjustments and renewal of the building technology due to operational reasons. At the time, the building was deliberately designed to be flat like a pavilion in order to keep a generous distance from the Residence Palace opposite. For this reason, two lecture halls and the technical facilities are below ground level.

Weighing up preservation or replacement

A view into the largest lecture hall of the “Hexagon Building”.
A view into the largest lecture hall of the “Hexagon Building”.

After more than five decades of operation, however, fire safety regulations, energy deficiencies, outdated equipment and the condition of the façade took their toll. Preservation or replacement had to be weighed up for all the structural elements that characterised the building. The renovations that were due – from the glass and metal façade to the seating in the lecture halls to the ventilation, heating, sanitary and media technology – were carried out in such a way that they corresponded to the character of the historic building and combined modern function with historic construction and appearance.

At the same time, it was possible to retain existing elements – such as the wooden wall panelling in one lecture theatre, desks for electrical engineering experiments, high-quality light-coloured terrazzo flooring in foyers and corridors, interior staircases and railings, handcrafted radiator strips behind the glass facades.

The outdoor facilities around the “Hexagon” are to be redesigned and refurbished in the course of the year. Directly opposite, where the TU's years of renovation work on and in the Residence Palace are coming to an end, other ongoing construction sites of the university can be seen: including the construction of a new “International House” and the renovation of the Hans Busch Institute.

A Sculpture of Light: New Artwork “Alignment Future” at the "Hexagon

Sculpture “Alignment Future” by Tobias Kammerer
Sculpture “Alignment Future” by Tobias Kammerer

A sculpture by the artist Tobias Kammerer has been installed at the reopened lecture hall building “Hexagon”. The large-format work of art made of glass can now be seen opposite the darmstadtium and along the Erich Ollenhauer Promenade. Kammerer is an internationally active artist with a focus on “art in architecture” and comes from Rottweil in Baden-Württemberg.

The installation of the artwork “Alignment Future” goes back to an initiative of the former TU Chancellor Manfred Efinger. The curator of the TU Art Forum, Julia Reichelt, and representatives of the Department of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology were also involved in the selection. Efinger thanked the artist and all those involved for their good cooperation.

Kammerer explained the effect of the artwork: “Working with glass is working with the phenomenon of light. (…) Every time of day and season reshapes the sculpture with its light.” The sculpture is figural in its construction and is “condensed, linked, tense and interwoven by paintings, like a graceful crystal it stands in front of the new hexagon of the TU Darmstadt”.

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