The tanner district

Telltale balconies

The striking half-timbered house is one of the most remarkable buildings in Blaubeuren's old town. As was common in the Middle Ages, this house also had a descriptive name before house numbers were introduced: Hoher Wil means “steep roof”. Built directly against the city wall in the 15th century, the house was rebuilt into its current form in 1625 and, in its integrity, represents an exemplary tanner's house. The workshop with the tanning vats embedded in the floor was located on the ground floor. Above this were the living quarters of the tanning family and on the upper floors, thanks to the high roof structure, there was plenty of space for stretching and drying the tanned hides. The wooden balconies, the so-called arbors, are characteristic of the tanners' houses on Aachgasse. Here the rinsed leather hides were allowed to drain before they were brought into the house to dry. In 1988, as part of the renovation of the old town, the city acquired the house and completely renovated it. Today, Hoher Wil houses rental apartments and a day nursery.


The tanner's house from 1444 has housed many people with different professions during its almost 600-year existence. All owners and their professions since 1457 are known. After leather tanners came sour bakers, yarn makers, paramedics, surgeons, linen weavers, gravediggers, monastery box servants and bakers. The house was most recently known as “Aachbäck” and was used as a residential building with several individual apartments. In 2015, architect Markus Gebhardt purchased the house and began renovation work. On the one hand, the aim was to use the house in the future as an “architectural office for monument protection” and thus to show new principles and models of thinking for future renovations in line with listed buildings and economic requirements.
The guiding principle of the renovation work was to renovate the building structure to the relevant time layers. All “cultural traces” of the last centuries have been preserved. Only static and technical ingredients were reversibly added to make the house usable. Thermally, the office works with a “house-in-house” concept. Historical facades were left original inside and out and new thermal facades were installed in the building with usable spacing.

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