The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering has been located at 1 Goethestrasse for more than 100 years and is one of the oldest faculties of the FH Aachen. Its history dates back to 1902, when the "Königliche Höhere Maschinenbauschule Aachen" (Royal Higher Mechanical Engineering School Aachen) was founded, and is closely linked to the industrial development of the region in the 19th century. Aachen and its region had beed attached to Prussia and the industrial revolution was spreading from England over Belgium to Germany.
Steam boilermaking, heavy industry, glass production, railway vehicles and textile machinery manufacturing are only a few examples of industrial settlements that have left their traces in Aachen. On 1st October 1902, the Royal Higher Mechanical Engineering School Aachen was founded to cover the regions need for praxis-oriented engineers. The school building was constructed on the Goethestrasse in 1907 and has been the location of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering till today.
The smooth functioning of the school stopped after the heavy bombing raid on Aachen on 11th April 1944. The school building had beed hit hard and was completely destroyed. All school activities were moved to Ilmenau and stayed there till the end of the winter semester in 1944/45. Some lecturers and students tried to rescue still useable teaching material from the ruins. Thanks to them, the school could be reopened in the severely destroyed Aachen building already in May 1946.
The first challenge after the destruction was to build a laboratory for machine tools. After the new building was completed on 4th October 1952, the repair of the main school building followed. Study enrolments nearly tripled their number in comparison to the pre-war period. In 1955, the Aeronautics and Aircraft Construction department was founded, and in 1957, the General Electrical Engineering department followed. Laboratories were housed in the newly built section of a building on Habsburger Allee.
The increase in student enrolments required another extension to satisfy the demand for space. A new building was constructed at 6 Hohenstaufenallee in 1969. Thus the localities of the engineering school were substantially extended and excellent laboratories were set up, e.g. also for (aero-)engines construction.
In 1971, the FH Aachen - University of Applied Sciences was founded. The FH Aachen integrated the former departments of the engineering school as faculties of Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Technology, and Electrical Engineering.
In 1964, Vehicle Construction was passed to the Engineering School Cologne (Ingenieurschule Köln). Study programs such as Aerospace Engineering and Computer-integrated Production Technology were added to the course offerings at the end of the 80ies. Student enrolments again had tripled and rised to more than 2000. This led to another extension building at 70 Eupener Strasse in 1995, to which the major part of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering was relocated.
Although the three departments mentioned above offer their study programs separately, the close link between mechanical and electrical engineering causes interdependent course offerings. Course offerings of all three faculties are combined in the degree program Mechatronics, which was introduced in 1998. It is also housed on the Goethestrasse and has led to an extension of the faculty's name to " Mechanical Engineering and Mechatronics" in 2000.
Not only the building at 1 Goethestrasse, but many things and ideas from the former engineering school have been maintained over the years. The close contact between lecturers and students and an education with a strong practice-orientation are further significant examples for it.
The pace of time called for technological innovations, of course. For example, the drawing boards were replaced by CAD systems.
All lecturers, however, still attach particular importance to one task: Training young people to become qualified, responsible engineers, who are open to criticism and able to handle and solve problems on their own.
The high number of student enrolments and placements of graduates in the industry is an evident proof that our faculty is still on the right track - even 100 years after its foundation as engineering school.
Many thanks to Ingenieurfreunde FH Aachen e.V. for providing text and images!
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