The Bonn Office

The BMBF's Bonn Office is located between Bonn City and Bad Godesberg.

The cross-shaped buildings in Bonn. © Stefan Josef Mueller

In 1974, two identical cross-shaped buildings were erected in Heinemannstraße, one 11-storey structure and a second of 14 storeys. The original plan was to accommodate all the Federal Ministries in seven such cross towers. The plan was abandoned, however, so that today's premises include the two cross towers, four smaller buildings, an ensemble of three small pavilions, a gate and the square between the buildings with two basement floors underneath.

Initially, the premises were planned to be open to the public. But on completion, the complex had to be fully fenced in for security reasons so that access was only possible via two guarded gates. The original concept of transparency and openness was only realized in rare instances.

The 14-floor building serves as today's headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and accommodates around 750 of its total staff of roughly 1,000. The basement houses the Ministry's library and printing shop, a cafeteria and meeting rooms. Various sculptures and other works of art from the 1970s and 80s can be found on the generous green open space.

When designing the building, the idea was to make the building's structure visible from outside which is why exposed concrete – popular in building construction at the time – was used in both inner and outer walls. The cross towers rest on four visible concrete pillars each bearing a load of 6,000 tons. The concrete base of the entrance supports 20,000 tons.

The BMBF's Bonn Office has undergone extensive refurbishment. This included measures to improve fire safety and energy efficiency which resulted in a much lighter carbon footprint.

Bonn Science Region

Short distances facilitate cooperation with other institutions in the Bonn science region. The most important institutions are the Caesar Foundation, which is establishing a science and engineering research centre focusing on emerging technologies, the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, the Centres for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and for Development Research (ZEF) of Bonn University, and the Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn. Other important science and education-related institutions in Bonn include the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (BIBB), the Joint Science Conference (GWK) and the Secretariat of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK).