Dortmund: Hommage to the SPRING Pavilion

For some the building was synonymous with the institution it accomodated: the SPRING pavilion. Generations of SPRING students studied and during those intense workshop weeks almost ‚lived‘ in it. And no SPRING year in Dortmund without group pictures in front of that  wodden ‚box‘ with the white SPRING letters on the blue roof girdle.

Pavilion 5 (its proper, technical name) was donated by the ‚Friends of the University of Dortmund Association‘ in 1971. In 1984 the newly founded SPRING programme moved into the building, which previously accomodated the Faculty of Spatial Planning‘s research unit IRPUD. For the next 23 
years the pavilion became the ‚academic home‘ for over 500 students during their first year of SPRING. Likewise several generations of SPRING lecturers had their offices in the building.

In 2002 a more permanent, brick building was built right next to it, mainly for the public relations unit of the university‘s administration. Nevertheless, some offices on the ground floor were dedicated to SPRING as well. Therefore the head of SPRING Dortmund, the managing director and their secretary could move out of the SPRING pavilion and make room, among others, for the internet cafe and student kitchen.

In August 2007 SPRING finally moved out of the SPRING pavilion completely. This was due to a major restructuring of the Faculty of Spatial Planning‘s office space and SPRING‘s desire to become more integrated into the faculty (the SPRING pavilion had always been a somewhat remote ‚outpost‘). Thus SPRING was able to move into the completely rehabilitated GB I building (the first of the three lined-up office buildings on the university‘s South campus). For a second time SPRING followed in the footsteps of IRPUD, which had previously occupied most of the third floor of GB I. However, the rehabilitated building even has a new fourth floor, which houses the Faculty of Spatial Planning‘s library. Thus, in many ways SPRING has moved into a more favourable location - and the modern offices are, well, more than 30 years more modern than the old ones.

Nevertheless, the old SPRING pavilion had a charm of its own and 25 to 32 students and 7-10 staff (including student assistants) crammed into a small space created a sense of community that was a unique hallmark of SPRING. And for sure, those that studied or worked there will be remembering that sense of community when they see the old SPRING pavilion. First ‚pilgrims‘ who after many years just had to come back and visit ‚SPRING‘ (the institution and the building) have already been spotted (see picture).