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ECLA's residential campus was designed as a frame for a close-knit intellectual community. The buildings comprised 8 renovated former DDR embassies, each with a wonderful garden, as well as three properties acquired in 2012 (including a former factory) projected to be developed in subsequent years. The embassy buildings, designed in the neo-bauhaus style by Eckart Schmidt functioned as comfortable dorms, spacious teaching offices, a library, studios and performance space, and administration buildings. No building or garden (and so no event) on the ECLA campus was ever more than a short walk away.

Plans for developing the ECLA Campus further were undertaken in 2011 with Deborah Berke & Partners Architects from New York.