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A brief history of HTWK Leipzig

HTWK Leipzig was founded on 15 July 1992. The University's roots, however, extend as far back as 1764, when its earliest predecessor, the Academy of Painting, Drawing and Architecture, was established. The Academy was the first in a long tradition of technical institutes and schools for librarians, book traders and museologists that make up HTWK Leipzig’s institutional and intellectual ancestry, reflecting Leipzig's reputation as a city of books and its ongoing importance as one of Germany's major centres of trade and commerce.

The University's most recent precursors include Leipzig Technical University (Technische Hochschule Leipzig), which itself was formed in 1977 by a merger of the Leipzig School of Civil Engineering (Hochschule für Bauwesen Leipzig) and the Leipzig School of Engineering (Ingenieurhochschule Leipzig). Some of HTWK Leipzig's older roots, which laid the foundation for technical education in Leipzig, are highlighted below.

leipzig academy of painting, drawing and architecture

The Leipzig Academy of Painting, Drawing and Architecture (Zeichnungs-, Mahlerey- und Architektur-Academie zu Leipzig) opened its doors in 1764. The painter Adam Friedrich Oeser, best remembered today as Goethe’s drawing teacher, served as the Academy's first director. The architecture department was headed by J.P. Habersang, whose academic approach involved the practical application of insights from mathematics and science. With the introduction of a degree programme in architecture at HTWK Leipzig two centuries later, architecture education in Leipzig has nicely come full circle.

royal saxon School of construction

From 1823 onwards, the architecture department was lead by architect and builder Albert Geutebrück. Based on his plans, the Royal Saxon School of Construction (Königlich-Sächsische Baugewerkeschule) was founded on 13 July 1838 in Leipzig, and Geutebrück was appointed its first director. Alfred Geutebrück, who was also the city's master architect, identified the need for enhancing the training of architects and builders with an academic orientation. From 1876 to 1881, architect Constantin Lipsius, best known today for his controversial design of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts and Exhibition Building in Dresden, served as the school's director. With their designs and buildings, the School of Construction’s professors left the city of Leipzig with many reminders of their work. For more than 60 years, the Academy and the School of Construction shared the same facilities and resources.

leipzig municipal trade school

In 1875, Academy professor Ludwig Nieper established the Leipzig Municipal Trade School (Städtische Gewerbeschule zu Leipzig), which became the foundation of engineering education in mechanical and electrical engineering. Its establishment was based on the realization that traders and business persons needed profound technical training in addition to general higher education. The Trade School, therefore, in combination with a craft workshop, was designed to provide technical instruction based on practical training in the crafts.

From 1877 through 1892, August Föppl was one of the trade school’s important teachers. His theoretical explorations of technical processes were groundbreaking achievements, informed by observations from engineering practice and experimental findings. His six-volume Lectures on Technical Mechanics was published in Leipzig between 1898 and 1910. Föppl is also known for his influential introduction to Maxwell's theory of electricity and for his calculations of the cast-iron truss constructions supporting the roof of Leipzig's covered market hall.

More information on the history of HTWK Leipzig, especially regarding its evolution as a training institution for booksellers and librarians and its reconstitution as Leipzig Technical University, is available in a variety of print publications. Since 1954, these institutions of higher learning have produced more than 16,000 Diplom engineers and more than 1,200 PhDs in engineering.

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