It occupies a former machine parts factory in Ottensen, in the Altona district. The building dates from the Gründerzeit , and consists of a large, nave-like central hall with wooden girders, overlooked by running galleries on the two upper floors. An old crane still hangs over the entrance as a memorial to the building's industrial past.
The Fabrik was founded in 1971 by the painter Horst Dietrich and the architect Friedhelm Zeuner. Dietrich, who died in 2014, was the director until 2012. He was awarded the 1993 Max Brauer Prize, given by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation. Zeuner received the senate of Hamburg's architecture prize for the renovation, The Fabrik burned down in 1977, but was rebuilt as before in 1979.
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