In 1954 the academy moved into the first buildings designed by Sep Ruf (1908–1982), which were originally designed for 150 students. The transparent pavilion architecture successfully combined studios, workshops and facilities like the library, canteen hall and administration. With the extension of teaching to include in particular art education, lack of space could only be addressed by additional premises in the imperial castle in Lauf and since 1985 the academy and its around 300 students have been split between two locations. With the aim of enhancing educational synergies and efficiency, a new building was planned alongside the Ruf pavilion architecture and completed in spring 2013.
During the Second World War the academy was moved from Nuremberg to Ellingen. The academy was still in Ellinger Castle when Sep Ruf was appointed Professor of Architecture and Urban Planning there in 1947. The established architect was famous for his light-filled, south-facing buildings that harmoniously blended into their surroundings. In spring 1950 the architectural competition for the new academy building on the eastern edge of Nuremberg was won by Sep Ruf. Construction was then delayed by two years and the first building phase was only completed in 1954. The academy inaugurated and moved into the first part of the new building. In 1956 the Ruf pavilions on Bingstrasse were finally completed and the academy returned to Nuremberg.
Sep Ruf's design for the Academy of Fine Arts in Nuremberg was the first to display the idiom typical of his later work: lightness of appearance, minimised construction, transparent walls and streamlined roofs. The building prefaced the concept of the German Pavilion for the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels (1956–1958), which Ruf designed with Egon Eiermann and earned him international recognition.
Ruf's later work with his partner, the design engineer Wilhelm Schaupp (1922–2005), included the chancellor's residential and reception building in Bonn (chancellor's bungalow, 1963–1964), a work of perfected proportions and detail. Sep Ruf became Munich's foremost architect in the 1950s and 1960s, leaving an extensive legacy of residential, administrative, educational, commercial and representational buildings. In 1971, along with four colleagues (Alfred Goller, Helmut Mayer, Hanns Oberberger, Ludwig Thomeier) he founded an office partnership, which was continued after his death.
Having won the partially public call for entries in spring 2009, the prestigious architect's office Hascher Jehle Architektur designed the extension of the Nuremberg academy. The building opened for the summer semester 2013 after just two years' construction. So, for the first time, the degree courses for fine and applied art, art education and postgraduate programmes are united in one place.
The art academy on the outskirts of the city is surrounded by forest, into which Sep Ruf's single-storey 1950s complex, now a listed building, blends harmoniously. At a discreet distance to the existing buildings, the extension rounds off the complex to create a coherent architectural Iook for the new campus.
An elongated one-storey structure was built along Bingstrasse, its openings and floating roof recalling the architectural style of the existing buildings. The new studios and seminar rooms are housed in three separate pavilions in a roofed landscape. The centre of the new complex is formed by the communication pavilion with an area for large-format interdisciplinary works, a picture store and multifunctional area with stage and cinema. The entrance and new access to the grounds is an open courtyard, which leads off to the adjacent studio and seminar rooms. The studios of the art education students are located on the west side of the new building, grouped around an inner courtyard and – reminiscent of the Ruf studio pavilions – linked with one another by an open roofed passage. In the third section of the building, on the other side of the 'communication pavilion', seminar rooms are also grouped around a courtyard. However, in this case the passages are indoors, separated from the courtyard by large glass façades. Despite the different room heights, the even rooftop landscape is possible due to the natural incline of the grounds.
The materiality, in particular, underscores the atelier nature of the new building. Fair-faced concrete alternates with glass and steel plate elements to form the outer envelope of the building. The sliding metal-lath sun shields in front of the glass façade change its appearance according to how they are positioned. The materiality and surface qualities thus strike an intentional contrast to the Ruf architecture.
As the new building runs parallel to the historic pavilions and along the road, the architecture of Sep Ruf can now be seen in a new perspective. Visual axes and passages connect the two buildings, revealing both architectural similarities and original aspects. Together they form a campus that remains loyal to the democratic and logical architectural concept of Sep Ruf.
on Sep Ruf (selected)
Irene Meissner, Sep Ruf 1908-1982. Leben und Werk, Berlin: Deutscher Kunstverlag, 2013.
Irene Meissner: „Die Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg. Ein Hauptwerk der deutschen Nachkriegsarchitektur von Sep Ruf“, in: Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg (Hg.), 350. Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Nürnberg, Nuremberg: Verlag für moderne Kunst, 2012.
Winfried Nerdinger, „Sep Ruf - Moderne mit Tradition“, in: Winfried Nerdinger (Hg.), Sep Ruf, Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2008.
on Hascher Jehle architecture (selected)
Oliver Hamm (Hg.), Hascher Jehle Architektur, Thoughts and Buildings, Munich: Prestel Verlag, 2009.