The building was built in 1924 as a washhouse and operating building for Westphalia shaft and was later used as an office building for Westfälische Wohnstätten AG, as the administrative headquarters of Deutsche Edelstahlwerke, and most recently by the University of Applied Sciences for Design.

Students from this school occupied the building and fought for its current status, self-administration. In 1987, the Künstlerhaus was renovated and rebuilt with funds from the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the City of Dortmund and the Sparkasse Dortmund.