Peter Kapos


Inge Scholl (educationalist) and Otl Aicher (graphic designer) found the Ulm Adult Education Centre, or Volkshochschule (vh).



Scholl, Aicher and writer Hans Werner Richter make plans to expand the vh. Designer, artist and

architect Max Bill later joins. Already a prominent figure, Bill argues for a focus on (implicitly social) design. Richter withdraws from the project.



The American High Commission pledges half the construction costs of new buildings for the school. The Geschwister Scholl Foundation (in reference to her siblings executed by the Nazis) is established by Scholl to support the endeavour.



The HfG Ulm is founded. The first courses are run from the vh Ulm. Bill is appointed Rector of the school. Construction begins of new buildings designed by Bill on a hillside overlooking Ulm.



Aicher and industrial designer Hans Gugelot develop product designs and a visual identity

scheme for the Braun Company. Bill, Gugelot and Paul Hildinger design the HfG stool.



Opening of the HfG buildings. Former Director of the Bauhaus Walter Gropius delivers the keynote

speech at the inaugural ceremony.



Designer and artist Tomás Maldonado demands a revision of curricula and course structure, arguing for a critical revaluation of the teaching methods carried over from the Bauhaus. In response to this,

Bill resigns as Rector of the HfG.



As deepening differences with younger staff members prove irreconcilable, Bill leaves the HfG.


Furniture manufacturer Bofinger extends Gugelot’s M 125 range of storage and furniture

systems, the first comprehensive flat-pack fully modularised system of its kind, originally

issued in 1950 by the Swiss manufacturer Wohnbedarf AG.



First implementation of the ‘Ulm Model’, developed by Aicher, Gugelot, Maldonado and industrial

designer Walter Zeischegg. The Foundation Course is revised by Maldonado along more scientific lines. Development Groups are established within the school through which students and freelancers work on corporate commissions under the supervision of instructors. Three co-Rectors are appointed: Aicher, Gugelot and Maldonado.



Hans Roericht submits a design for stackable tableware, TC 100, as his diploma project. (Rosenthal AG puts the design into production in 1961.)



Bitter dispute erupts over the question of the relative proportion of design and science subjects within the curriculum. Mathematician Horst Rittel, journalist Gert Kalow and sociologist Hanno Kesting, brought in on Maldonado’s recommendation, begin teaching a science-oriented syllabus. The less theoretically inclined designers Aicher, Gugelot, Maldonado and Zeischegg are forced into retreat as the school begins to be transformed.


Work for the Hamburg U-Bahn subway system is undertaken by Gugelot, Herbert Lindinger, Helmut Müller-Kühn, Aicher and Peter Croy, setting new standards in rail vehicle engineering. Maldonado and Ettore Sottsass collaborate on the design of the Tekne 3 electric typewriter for Olivetti.



By an administrative coup, the board of governors is dissolved, and Aicher appointed Rector.

A new constitution is drafted (unconstitutionally). It stipulates that only a designer may be Rector.

Courses in the social sciences are developed, whilst the number of technologically scientific

courses is reduced.


The Film department secedes from the Visual Communication department. From 1963 the department is headed by Alexander Kluge and Edgar Reitz.


Gugelot’s Development Group E 2 moves off campus and is re-established under the name Gugelot Institute for Product Development and Design. Profits are channelled to the Scholl Foundation.


Aicher’s Development Group E 5 commences work on a comprehensive visual identity for the airline Lufthansa.



Members of the deposed scientistic contingency, Rittel and Kalow, depart the school under a cloud.

National current affairs magazine Der Spiegel carries a hostile report on the HfG, focusing on

infighting amongst faculty members.


Gugelot’s groundbreaking slide projector design for Kodak, Carousel S, enters production.



Maldonado assumes the position of Rector from Aicher, who becomes his deputy.



Gugelot dies from a heart attack aged forty-five.


A prototype of the Autonova fam, a family car designed by Fritz B. Busch, Michael Conrad and Pio Manzú, is exhibited at the International Automobile Exhibition in Frankfurt. A formal anticipation of the Renault 5, the design is some twenty years ahead of its time in prioritising functionality instead of using North American styling to communicate status.



Debts of the Geschwister Scholl Foundation mount. Cutbacks are made to HfG teaching posts and programme.


Aicher departs for Munich to begin work on his magnum opus, the visual identity of the 1972 Olympics. In his absence direction of the Visual Communication department is taken over by Herbert W. Kapitzki.


Working through Development Group E 3, Zeischegg adds a file-card box and stacking ashtray to a range of office organisational equipment already in production by Helit.



Maldonado departs the HfG following a scandal in the press over his criticism of the war in Vietnam.


The Film department becomes a legally autonomous entity, the Institute for Film Design.


Herbert Ohl, Head of the Industrialised Building Department, becomes Rector of the HfG.


The regional State funding body of Baden-Württemberg calls for the HfG to be amalgamated with the Ulm School of Engineering, part of the University of Stuttgart. The HfG reject this proposal, whereupon the Federal government subsidy to the school is cancelled.



Debts of the Geschwister Scholl Foundation continue to mount. The HfG (teachers, technical staff, assistants and students) votes to dissolve rather than accept the funding conditions imposed

by the legislature.


Relations between students and staff become fraught. The students refuse to cooperate with the Scholl Foundation, and rename the HfG ‘Karl-Marx-Schule’. The school can no longer afford to pay instructors, who withdraw their teaching.


Finally in agreement, students and staff accept the legislature’s conditions for the renewal of its support to the school. Despite this, the legislature votes to close the HfG.