Himbeerpalast officially handed over to FAU
The keys to the Himbeerpalast building in Erlangen were handed over to FAU in December. Now, the building has officially been handed over to FAU at a ceremony attended by President Prof. Dr. Joachim Hornegger, Bavarian science minister Bernd Sibler, the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Hermann and the CFO of Siemens, Prof. Dr. Ralf Thomas. The first letter of the Siemens lettering was removed symbolically from the building during the ceremony, making room for the FAU logo in future.
According to FAU President Dr. Joachim Hornegger, ‘removing the lettering from the Himbeerpalast marks an important milestone. From now on, everyone who passes by can see that this building which is so important for the future development of our university now belongs entirely to FAU. The Himbeerpalast building will house our new Humanities Centre, making FAU even more attractive for students and leading academics from across the globe.’
‘We have been pulling out all the stops to renovate the Himbeerpalast building ever since we took it over from Siemens in December,’ explains FAU Chancellor Christian Zens. ‘This is now visible to anyone passing the building. We have already launched a European architecture competition to find a solution for renovating the building to meet the needs of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology at the same time as taking town planning aspects into account.’
Sibler emphasises the importance of the latest developments. ‘The Himbeerpalast offers valuable space for the continued development of FAU, in direct proximity to Erlangen city centre. The official handover marks the beginning of a new era. In future, the building will be home to a central part of the new Humanities Centre – a place of creativity and collaboration where innovative ideas are born, following in the tradition of the building’s original purpose. I already look forward to seeing which solutions architects come up with for this complex project involving one of Erlangen’s best-known landmarks: renovating the building in line with preservation requirements whilst adding a new extension to bring the building firmly into the future. I am confident that the perfect conditions will be created, benefiting not only the 7000 students at the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology but the university family as a whole.’
A new centre for the humanities
After the renovation, refurbishment and extension is complete, the Himbeerpalast will be used as a seminar, office and library building and will house most of the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Theology, in other words more than 7000 students and approximately 1000 members of staff. The new Language Centre, a cafeteria, and a central service centre for all students at FAU will also be located in the building as well as the Centre for Teacher Education. Part of the complex construction project involves building a modern library as an extension to the existing listed building. Further information on the Himbeerpalast building is available in this press release.
Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann said, ‘Making Friedrich-Alexander Universität even stronger than it already is, making Franconia fit for the future as a location for cutting-edge research – that is what today is all about! That is why the Free State of Bavaria is willing to invest a considerable amount of money in the new Humanities Centre in the Himbeerpalast. Thanks to generous investments from the Free State of Bavaria, the renovation of the Himbeerpalast can now begin. Strengthening science and research is central to the community in Erlangen and is one of the most important pillars in our flourishing economy.’
For Prof. Dr. Ralf Thomas, CFO at Siemens, it was a pleasure to hand over the former company headquarters to FAU in the official ceremony. ‘For a long time, the Himbeerpalast was one of our most important buildings in the region, and we couldn’t wish for a better successor than FAU and its students. Siemens and FAU have been working together as partners for 70 years now, leading to lots of pioneering research and publications. However, that is not all. Each year many more than 100 FAU graduates start their career with us at Siemens. That is something I personally am very pleased about, as the FAU is my own Alma Mater and this is the path I took.’
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