Old School Tiefenbach

Hormuth Architektur

Guesthouse and events venue

It was more by chance, the ordering party explains, that he stumbled across a disused former school building in Tiefenbach while on the lookout for a garage in which to stable his food truck. The client’s vehicle is of French provenance, and the old school has now also led to his embracing Spain in no uncertain manner. In the course of overhauling the 1868-vintage building, he repurposed the ground floor as a bodega. A number of flatlets and rooms for holiday-makers have likewise been created.

Tiefenbach is a small rural community to the south of Heidelberg whose fate mirrors that of much of non-urban Germany – there’s no longer anywhere where people can congregate and spend time together. Hence, the act of refurbishing the dilapidated school can be said to have breathed new life into the place. It is also now possible to hire the Old School for functions. The school playground fronting onto the street is now used for outdoor catering services, whilst the holiday accommodation is accessed via the building’s inner courtyard.

Processes of refurbishing and repurposing buildings a century old and more invariably benefit from all the various trades involved having a say in how the work is to be planned. The specialist knowhow acquired and appropriated over the ages is seldom accorded the attention it deserves in modern-day building ventures. A different mindset seems to have prevailed where the Old School in Tiefenbach is concerned, however. Andreas and Oliver Hormuth, the architects who planned the building’s redevelopment, are fully aware of the merits of teamwork, as the outcome of their project clearly demonstrates.

Architecture and Object

Andreas and Oliver Hormuth,
Hormuth Architektur
Photo: Hormuth Architektur

“We firmly believe good architecture to be a collective achievement,” Oliver and Andreas Hormuth declare. “It was only by working with all involved on equal terms, for instance, that the Old School project could be completed in a way that does justice both to the building’s past and to its future.”

Spanning the divide between period context and modern addenda

The spaces fashioned derive their impact primarily from the materials used. Some sections of the walling have been left unplastered and the rough-and-ready texture of the crude sandstone is central to the visual effect achieved. The stone stands out against the white plastered walls and the new, smoothly ground timber floors. The impressive roof trussing in the loft has been stripped back and new, soberly styled dormer windows have been fitted to increase levels of incident light there.

The interior appointments have likewise been thought through in great detail and in some cases hand-crafted. The original cast-iron steel supports, which were no longer required following renovation, have been re-used to manufacture frames for the tables in the guest room. The architects designed these in cooperation with the company “about stein”. The latter specialises in producing distinctive table tops using wood from barn doors, wine presses or age-old bog oaks.

The FSB 1226 handle model selected spans the divide between period context and modern addenda. It could well be mistaken for a cast-iron handle of old, but is in fact one of several new items such as lamps and tiles added that merge most harmoniously with the existing fixtures and fittings. “This handle acts as a tangible interface with the building in general and in the hotel rooms and holiday flats, too,” the Hormuth architects state by way of explaining their approach. “Its ergonomic credentials and pleasant haptic qualities make guests feel at home and facilitate the act of arriving.”

Object Details

Photos: Nuno Fernandes Tomás


Alte Schule Tiefenbach

Hofstraße 3,
76684 Östringen,

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