In 1710, August Hermann Francke founded the world's first Bible Institute together with his friend and supporter Carl Hildebrand von Canstein (1667–1719). In 1743, a warehouse was built to store the numerous printed Bibles. Shortly afterwards, this building was converted into a print shop and remained in use until 2010. It is one of the functional and utility buildings that line the Black Road on the south side and was one of the last unrenovated historic buildings in the core ensemble.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a wing with large machine rooms was added to the building. Here we have now installed modern rolling shelving as additional magazine for our cultural-historical archive and library holdings, as well as storage areas for our custody. The Francke Foundations' publishing magazine is located in the basement.
The staircase in the east side of the building from 1743 could be preserved thanks to the careful renovation. The well-worn steps reflect the everyday life of the many people in the building. Up and down the stairs were carried the materials of the printer's trade with vast quantities of paper and finished, elaborately produced printed matter. Later, the residents of the building and, most recently, music students used the staircase.
This is where the LeoLab, a new space for cultural education and outreach, is being built. Above it is a spacious light-flooded lecture hall with up to 135 seats, which we have named Georg Heinrich Neubauer (1666–1725), Francke's closest colleague in the second row.
In the course of the redevelopment, the courtyard in the south has been transformed from a traffic space between the buildings of the print shop into an open space for young people. We look forward to seeing how the new space will come to life in the future.