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  Design in teaching, research and practice
The design school zollverein in Essen focuses on corporate co-operation

The design school zollverein (d/s/z) is being established in the northern suburbs of the German city of Essen on the site of the Zollverein coal mine, which was shut down in 1986. The intention is that the d/s/z will become a key part of the restructuring of the Zollverein world heritage site under the patronage of the Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft Zollverein (EGZ, Zollverein
Development Association). It will combine professional design training with multidisciplinary research projects and transform research findings into concrete application scenarios. In close co-operation with regional universities and colleges such as the Essener Hochschule, it will offer Masters degrees and doctorates.
Together with companies in the region, the d/s/z will train students by means of practical projects. This means that companies can direct queries to the design school or allow their employees to participate actively in research and development projects. The d/s/z will also prepare its graduates for setting themselves up in business. The d/s/z vision is that its graduates will open up offices and establish companies and consultancies close to the design school in the so-called ‘creative village’.
The € 15 million start-up capital for the d/s/z for the next five years was provided by European Union funds, the German Land North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Essen. After five years, the academy will be run as a Public Private Partnership. Companies will then be able to sponsor individual projects and provide teaching staff. An international architecture competition will determine the design of the future d/s/z building.

"In today’s globalised business world, it is important that a company and its products and services are noticed and stand apart from those of the competition,"says Professor Ralph Bruder, founder and head of the design school zollverein (d/s/z) in Essen. "This means that design decisions are becoming increasingly important for market acceptance. Decision-makers within companies must systematically come up with creative design solutions."
In line with the motto 'Managing as Designing', the d/s/z organises training seminars for decision-makers faced with challenges such as these. In addition, the d/s/z prepares employees working in creative jobs (e.g. designers, media designers or architects) to take the step of setting themselves up in business and supports them throughout the start-up phase.

Closely linking design and business

Before being offered a place at the d/s/z, applicants will have to work their way through a multistage application process. They must be able to provide proof of their qualifications because the d/s/z is intended to be an institute of further education for people who are already working. This is what sets the d/s/z apart from other design schools.

The d/s/z will offer two masters degrees. One is aimed at just under 100 actively employed people in creative jobs and seeks to prepare them for the move into a management position. A second degree course is aimed at entrepreneurs who have to evaluate the quality of different design solutions, make their own design-related decisions, and initiate and coordinate design processes. The annual fees for each of the masters courses will be approximately € 15,000.

In addition to these courses, there will be room for ten doctoral candidates in special programmes at the d/s/z. The intention is that they will work on research and development projects with employees from co-operating companies and external project managers. The doctoral candidates will be funded by research projects awarded to the d/s/z by external companies.
The d/s/z also plans to arrange workshops and lectures on selected topics for a broader public. The first seminars and an international workshop on ‘Design and Business’ are planned for next year as part of a summer university. Practical lectures by guest speakers (managers, media designers, computer experts, film makers, philosophers or scientists) will round of the

The Humboldt ideal

The main focus of the d/s/z curriculum is on linking practical instruction with teaching and research. In this way, the academy goes beyond Humboldt’s ideal of combining teaching and research. For example, the students at the d/s/z will be asked to elaborate design solutions for concrete projects proposed by the private sector. In addition, appropriately qualified employees working at co-operating companies will be able to take part in research and development projects at the d/s/z. Teaching will be practical and the lecturers and teachers will be drawn from companies and international colleges and universities. A small, permanent team of
employees will be charged with the co-ordination of the teaching, research and start-up sectors.

International orientation is one of the design school zollverein’s top priorities. The degree courses and doctorates will all be international in nature. To this end, the d/s/z will conclude co-operation agreements with global training and research institutes such as the Harvard Design School in Cambridge, Mass., the Bartlett School in London, the Rotterdam School of Management or the Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule in Zurich. It also hopes to co-operate with international companies. This will ensure that the school’s design research will not only be practical but will also come in contact with new ideas from around the world.

The architecture competition that will determine the concept and design of the future d/s/z building is also international. In the spirit of the Bauhaus tradition, the concept for the building will reflect the thematic orientation of the d/s/z. Consequently, the architects from all over the world who are taking part in the competition have been called on to develop their own ideas for the design school concept.

Consultancy, organisation and ambassadors

Representatives of the world of politics and business sit on the d/s/z advisory council. One of the advisory council’s key tasks is to build up an international network. In addition, the academy will also be advised by representatives of the four specialist areas (communication, design-oriented corporate culture, virtual learning, architecture and design). Under the chairmanship of Hartmut Krebs, secretary of state in the Ministry for Education, Science and Research of the Land North Rhine-Westphalia, the advisory body will also propose courses and co-operation projects for the d/s/z. As ambassadors of the design school zollverein, the advisory council will also tackle issues related to business start-ups and budget matters.

The d/s/z project will also receive support from Dr. Wolfgang Roters und Stefan Schwarz, the managing directors of the EGZ. The EGZ has been charged with enhancing and restructuring the Zollverein world heritage site.
Projekt Ruhr GmbH and its managing director Hanns-Ludwig Brauser have also become involved in the development of the design school zollverein by supporting the d/s/z as a model project for a Centre of Excellence for Design. Projekt Ruhr GmbH also guarantees the integration of the design school into the process of structural economic change in the Ruhr.

The majority of the funding for the d/s/z comes from the EU: the school has been promised € 15 million start-up capital between now and 2006. Half of the funding comes from the Objective 2 fund for structurally weak regions in the European Union. The German federal Land North Rhine-Westphalia and the City of Essen will also provide financial assistance for the establishment of the d/s/z. Starting in 2006, the d/s/z will be run as a Public Private Partnership. Sponsors and interested companies will then get involved in the funding of the school or will provide project managers and employees for teaching purposes.

Art, design and world heritage

Essen is a highly suitable location for the d/s/z because the Zollverein coal mine industrial complex to the north of Essen is increasingly becoming a centre of design. Today, the industrial complex¾including shaft XII of the Zollverein mine, the Zollverein coking plant and shafts 1/2/8¾is one of the most important industrial monuments in Europe. The complex has been run as an official UNESCO world heritage site since the middle of December 2001. The structural change that saw the Zollverein transform itself from a flourishing mining complex into a centre of culture and design is particularly striking here. The coking plant, coal washery and tipper shop have all been turned into exhibition halls and rehearsal rooms. Since 1997, the Design Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia has been located in the former
boiler house. All of these buildings were designed in the Bauhaus style by architects Fritz Schupp und Martin Kremmer and constructed in 1932. The intention is that the future d/s/z building will provide a link between modern architecture and the site’s industrial past.

The University of Essen with its Design and Art departments, which grew out of the Essen Folkwang Hochschule für Gestaltung (College of Design), is a strong argument in favour of Essen as a city of design. It was here that Design was first recognised in Germany as a legitimate university course. This, coupled with the fact that many of the graduates of the Folkwang
Hochschule established their own companies in and around the city, meant that Essen has become the place to be for creative people.

"'Art and Design at the Zollverein' is the pillar of the development concept for the restored building at the Zollverein industrial complex," explains Dr. Wolfgang Roters. "Over the past few years, about two dozen renowned institutes, offices and companies from the fields of art, culture, design and new media have set up shop here. This means that the location is becoming a real symbol of development in the Ruhr region. In this regard, the d/s/z is a milestone on the road to Zollverein’s future.

About the d/s/z advisory council
Representatives of the world of politics and business sit on the design school zollverein (d/s/z) advisory council. Members include:
secretary of state Hartmut Krebs; Kristin Feireiss of the Aedes Galerie and Architekturforum in Berlin; Klaus J. Maack, managing director of ERCO Leuchten GmbH in Lüdenscheid; Professor Thomas Rempen, of Rempen & Partner Werbeagentur GmbH in Dusseldorf; Dr. Oliver Scheytt, president of the Kulturpolitischen Gesellschaft and Culture Department of the City of Essen; Professor Dr. Gerhard Schmitt, vice president of the Eidgenössischen Technischen Hochschule für Planung und Logistik (Swiss Technical College for Planning and Logistics) in Zurich and Professor Axel Thallemer, head of the Design department at Esslinger Festo AG.
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