Construction diary east wing

Visualisierungen Heinle, Wischer und Partner

The east wing at the Festspielhaus is brought back to life

On 16 November 2018, Minister of the Interior Prof. Dr. Roland Wöller and Dresden’s Lord Mayor Dirk Hilbert signed an urban development agreement in HELLERAU. With this, the Free State held out the prospect of funding for the state capital from the federal-state programme “Urban Planning Monument Protection”. The funds will be used for the complex renovation and conversion of the east wing of the Festspielhaus Hellerau as well as for the design of the open spaces on the site, including the inner courtyard. As a centre for contemporary art with a clear focus on dance, music and theatre, HELLERAU is one of the leading centres for contemporary performing arts in Germany. To welcome artists from all over the world, the former East Barracks, a listed building on the festival grounds, is now being converted into a hostel and rehearsal centre. On this page we will keep you regularly informed about the progress of the conversion. Follow the development of the East Wing on the grounds of HELLERAU – European Centre for the Arts. 


Photos: heinlewischer

The time has come! The first of the two large halls of the east wing, where rehearsals and performances will take place from 2024, has been completed in its raw form. In May, the ceiling and the last remaining walls on the ground floor were removed – now the space is lit via a total of 16 windows on two levels in four building axes. The assembly of the steel trusses above the second hall, the studio stage, has also been completed. Now the demolition of the walls and ceilings will follow. With a length of seven building axes, this hall will be almost twice as large as the rehearsal studio.


Photos: heinlewischer

The construction progress in April already gives an idea of the future dimensions of the new rehearsal studio in the east wing. After the new lattice girders in the attic had already been erected at the beginning of the month, the ceiling underneath could be suspended from them. Freed from their load, the load-bearing walls on the 1st floor were then removed. The entire width of the east wing can now be experienced for the first time. When the ceiling and the load-bearing walls of the ground floor are also removed in the coming weeks, the rehearsal studio will be finished in its raw form. Parallel to this, the new steel trusses of the second large hall, the studio stage, are being built.

Photos: Heinle, Wischer und Partner Freie Architekten 

The new interior walls for the two large halls, which extend over two stories, are now being built on the foundations constructed in February and March. In order to be able to bear additional loads, the exterior walls of the east wing are being reinforced from the inside with wall pillars made of reinforced concrete. In April, assembly and erection of the new steel trusses for the test studio will begin. The individual parts of these trusses have already been delivered and lifted into the roof space of the building. Nesting opportunities for bats and building-dwelling birds are being created along the entire eaves length of the roof, and an entire bat roost is being created in the cold roof on the north side. 


Photos: Heinle, Wischer und Partner Architekten

With the demolition of the screed in the attic, the demolition work on the east wing is now almost complete. The roof tiles have also been completely removed in the meantime and the roof is now temporarily protected against the weather by a tarpaulin. 
However, the most exciting changes are currently taking place on the ground floor and in the basement. Everything is being prepared there so that in the coming months the floor ceilings and load-bearing interior walls can be removed in the area of the new “rehearsal studio” and “studio stage” rooms, which are being built to the left and right of the foyer respectively. The ceilings of these two large two-storey rooms will in future be suspended from steel trusses resting on newly constructed load-bearing walls. New foundations are currently being built for these walls or the existing foundations are being reinforced.

Photos: Heinle, Wischer and Partner Architekten

The first snow fell just in time for Christmas, covering the roof of the now scaffolded building with a delicate white. In the new year, demolition work inside the east wing continues to progress, filling the huge blue and red containers in front of the west façade with construction debris. The door openings of the load-bearing interior walls are being adapted to the new planning and, if necessary, reinforced in the lintel area. On the outside, roofers have begun to remove the roof tiles. These will be stored and reinstalled after the installation of the new dormers and the application of the insulation.


There is a lot of noise and dust in the east wing of the Festspielhaus. The demolition work that began in the central foyer in October is now taking place on all levels of the house. Before the new rooms are created, the east wing will first be completely restored to its shell condition, which means: all non-load-bearing walls will be removed and the plaster surfaces on the interior walls and ceilings as well as the floor superstructures will be taken down so that only the load-bearing elements and layers remain.

At the moment, three companies are working simultaneously on the site (technical development, light demolition and structural demolition). BAUHAUF GmbH is providing the main construction work, i.e. most of the demolition work, and will subsequently also carry out the steel construction and carpentry work. The demolition work on the upper floors of the east wing will extend into the spring of the new year.

Photo: Stephan Floss

At a press conference, Dresden’s Lord Mayor Dirk Hilbert kicked off the start of construction for the repair and modernisation of the east wing of the Festspielhaus. The façade has been scaffolded over the past few days, and the building has been connected to all media (water, electricity, etc.) in advance. After light demolition work to create building space, the shell of the building is now beginning with extensive demolition work in the new central foyer. A crane will be erected on the site by the end of 2021 to transport building materials into the building and to dispose of demolition materials from the building. The old wall on the east side of the festival area was already removed some time ago. This area (access from Heinrich-Tessenow Weg/ Valeria-Kratina-Weg) will be secured by a construction fence during the entire construction work.