Goetheanum

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Goetheanum
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Goetheanum
General information
Town or city Dornach
Country Switzerland
Coordinates 47°29′10″N7°37′13″E / 47.48611°N 7.62028°E / 47.48611; 7.62028 Coordinates: 47°29′10″N7°37′13″E / 47.48611°N 7.62028°E / 47.48611; 7.62028

The Goetheanum, located in Dornach, in the canton of Solothurn, Switzerland, is the world center for the anthroposophical movement.

Dornach Place in Solothurn, Switzerland

Dornach is a municipality in the district of Dorneck in the canton of Solothurn in Switzerland.

Canton of Solothurn Canton of Switzerland

The canton of Solothurn, also canton of Soleure is a canton of Switzerland. It is located in the northwest of Switzerland. The capital is Solothurn.

Switzerland federal republic in Central Europe

Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a sovereign state situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided between the Alps, the Swiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning a total area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.

Contents

The building was designed by Rudolf Steiner and named after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. [1] It includes two performance halls (1500 seats), gallery and lecture spaces, a library, a bookstore, and administrative spaces for the Anthroposophical Society; neighboring buildings house the society's research and educational facilities. Conferences focusing on themes of general interest or directed toward teachers, farmers, doctors, therapists, and other professionals are held at the center throughout the year.

Rudolf Steiner Austrian esotericist

Rudolf Joseph Lorenz Steiner was an Austrian philosopher, social reformer, architect, economist and esotericist. Steiner gained initial recognition at the end of the nineteenth century as a literary critic and published philosophical works including The Philosophy of Freedom. At the beginning of the twentieth century he founded an esoteric spiritual movement, anthroposophy, with roots in German idealist philosophy and theosophy; other influences include Goethean science and Rosicrucianism.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 18th/19th-century German writer, artist, and politician

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer and statesman. His works include four novels; epic and lyric poetry; prose and verse dramas; memoirs; an autobiography; literary and aesthetic criticism; and treatises on botany, anatomy, and colour. In addition, numerous literary and scientific fragments, more than 10,000 letters, and nearly 3,000 drawings by him have survived.

Anthroposophical Society

The General Anthroposophical Society is an "association of people whose will it is to nurture the life of the soul, both in the individual and in human society, on the basis of a true knowledge of the spiritual world." As an organization, it is dedicated to supporting the community of those interested in the inner path of schooling known as anthroposophy, developed by Rudolf Steiner.

Both the present Goetheanum building and its precursor have been widely cited as masterpieces of modern architecture. [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Modern architecture broad type of architecture

Modern architecture, or modernist architecture was based upon new and innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel and reinforced concrete; the idea that form should follow function; an embrace of minimalism; and a rejection of ornament. It emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II until the 1980s, when it was gradually replaced as the principal style for institutional and corporate buildings by postmodern architecture.

The Goetheanum is open for visitors seven days a week and offers tours several times daily.

First Goetheanum

First Goetheanum First Goetheanum.jpg
First Goetheanum

The First Goetheanum, a timber and concrete structure designed by Rudolf Steiner, [7] [8] was one of seventeen buildings Steiner designed between 1908 and 1925. [9] It was intended as a Gesamtkunstwerk (the synthesis of diverse artistic media and sensory effects), infused with spiritual significance. [10] Begun in 1913 to house the annual summer theater events of the Anthroposophical Society, [11] it rapidly became the center of a small colony of spiritual seekers located in Dornach and based around Steiner. [12] Numerous visual artists contributed to the building: architects created the unusual double-dome wooden structure over a curving concrete base, stained glass windows added color into the space, painters decorated the ceiling with motifs depicting the whole of human evolution, and sculptors carved huge column bases, capitals, and architraves with images of metamorphoses. [9] [13]

Gesamtkunstwerk "total artwork" making use of many or all art forms

A Gesamtkunstwerk is a work of art that makes use of all or many art forms or strives to do so. The term is a German word which has come to be accepted in English as a term in aesthetics.

Already during the construction, musicians, actors, and movement artists began performing a wide variety of pieces in a neighboring workshop. When the Goetheanum hall was completed, in 1919, these performances moved onto the stage located under the Goetheanum's smaller cupola. The auditorium was located under the larger cupola.

This building was destroyed by arson on New Year's Eve, December 31, 1922 – January 1, 1923. [13] [14]

Arson property crime

Arson is the crime of willfully and maliciously setting fire to or charring property. Though the act typically involves buildings, the term arson can also refer to the intentional burning of other things, such as motor vehicles, watercraft, or forests. The crime is typically classified as a felony, with instances involving a greater degree of risk to human life or property carrying a stricter penalty. A common motive for arson is to commit insurance fraud. In such cases, a person destroys their own property by burning it and then lies about the cause in order to collect against their insurance policy.

Second Goetheanum

Second Goetheanum, western front and north side at dusk Dornach - Goetheanum4.jpg
Second Goetheanum, western front and north side at dusk
Second Goetheanum, south side view Goetheanum von Suden.jpg
Second Goetheanum, south side view
Performance hall showing carved columns, stained-glass windows, and painted ceiling Dornach - Goetheanum - Grosser Saal3.jpg
Performance hall showing carved columns, stained-glass windows, and painted ceiling
The Representative of Humanity, a sculpture by Steiner on view in the building (detail) Groupeenbois.jpg
The Representative of Humanity, a sculpture by Steiner on view in the building (detail)
The boiler house, showing its unusual decorative chimney stack Dornach - Heizhaus1.jpg
The boiler house, showing its unusual decorative chimney stack
Octocopter flight over the Goetheanum

In the course of 1923, Steiner designed a building to replace the original. This building, now known as the Second Goetheanum, was built wholly of cast concrete. [15] Begun in 1924, the building was not completed until 1928, [11] after the architect's death. It represents a pioneering use of visible concrete in architecture [16] and has been granted protected status as a Swiss national monument. [17] Art critic Michael Brennan has called the building a "true masterpiece of 20th-century expressionist architecture". [4]

Concrete Composite construction material

Concrete, usually Portland cement concrete, is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time—most frequently in the past a lime-based cement binder, such as lime putty, but sometimes with other hydraulic cements, such as a calcium aluminate cement or Portland Cement. It is distinguished from other, non-cementitious types of concrete all binding some form of aggregate together, including asphalt concrete with a bitumen binder, which is frequently used for road surfaces, and polymer concretes that use polymers as a binder.

The present Goetheanum houses a 1000-seat auditorium, now the center of an active artistic community incorporating performances of its in-house theater and eurythmy troupes as well as visiting performers from around the world. Full remodelings of the central auditorium took place in the mid-1950s and again in the late 1990s. The stained glass windows in the present building date from Steiner's time; the painted ceiling and sculptural columns are contemporary replications or reinterpretations of those in the First Goetheanum.

In a dedicated gallery, the building also houses a nine-meter-high wooden sculpture, The Representative of Humanity, by Edith Maryon and Rudolf Steiner. [18]

Architectural principles

Steiner's architecture is characterized by a liberation from traditional architectural constraints, especially through the departure from the right-angle as a basis for the building plan. For the first Goetheanum he achieved this in wood by employing boat builders to construct its rounded forms; for the second Goetheanum by using concrete to achieve sculptural shapes on an architectural scale. [19] The use of concrete to achieve organically expressive forms was an innovation for the times; in both buildings, Steiner sought to create forms that were spiritually expressive. [20]

Steiner suggested that he had derived the sculptural forms of the first Goetheanum from spiritual inspirations. [21]

Additional buildings

Steiner designed approximately 12-13 other built structures, including both institutional structures and residences in and around Dornach. [20] Steiner is one of very few major architects [22] who was never the pupil of another major architect. [23]

Architects who have visited and praised the Goetheanum's architecture include Henry van de Velde, Frank Lloyd Wright, Hans Scharoun, and Frank Gehry. [24]

Related Research Articles

Anthroposophy philosophy founded by Rudolf Steiner

Anthroposophy is a philosophy founded by the 19th-century esotericist Rudolf Steiner that postulates the existence of an objective, intellectually comprehensible spiritual world, accessible to human experience. Followers of anthroposophy aim to develop mental faculties of spiritual discovery through a mode of thought independent of sensory experience. They also aim to present their ideas in a manner verifiable by rational discourse and specifically seek a precision and clarity in studying the spiritual world mirroring that obtained by natural historians in investigations of the physical world.

Organic architecture Philosophy of architecture

Organic architecture is a philosophy of architecture which promotes harmony between human habitation and the natural world. This is achieved through design approaches that aim to be sympathetic and well-integrated with a site, so buildings, furnishings, and surroundings become part of a unified, interrelated composition.

Eurythmy expressive movement art associated with Anthroposophy

Eurythmy is an expressive movement art originated by Rudolf Steiner in conjunction with Marie von Sivers in the early 20th century. Primarily a performance art, it is also used in education, especially in Waldorf schools, and – as part of anthroposophic medicine – for claimed therapeutic purposes.

Marie Steiner-von Sivers Anthroposophist

Marie Steiner-von Sivers was the second wife of Rudolf Steiner and one of his closest colleagues. She made a great contribution to the development of anthroposophy, particularly in her work on the renewal of the performing arts, and the editing and publishing of Rudolf Steiner's literary estate.

Albert Steffen Swiss writer

Albert Steffen was a poet, painter, dramatist, essayist, and novelist. He joined the Theosophical Society in Germany in 1910, and the Anthroposophical Society in 1912 and became its president after the death of its founder, Rudolf Steiner, in 1925. Steffen was chief editor of the society's journal, Das Goetheanum, from 1921-1963.

Sergei Olegovich Prokofieff was a Russian anthroposophist. He was the grandson of the composer Sergei Prokofiev and his first wife Lina Prokofiev, and the son of Oleg Prokofiev and his first wife Sofia Korovina. Born in Moscow, he studied fine arts and painting at the Moscow School of Art. He encountered anthroposophy in his youth, and soon made the decision to devote his life to it.

Karl Ballmer was a Swiss painter, anthroposophical philosopher, and writer.

Elisabeth Vreede was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and Anthroposophist.

Edith Maryon British artist

Louisa Edith Church Maryon, better known as Edith Maryon, was an English sculptor. Along with Ita Wegman, she belonged to the innermost circle of founders of anthroposophy and those around Rudolf Steiner.

Rudolf Hauschka was an Austrian chemist, author, inventor, entrepreneur and anthroposophist.

Walther Cloos was a pharmacist, alchemist, Anthroposophist, lecturer, researcher, inventor, author and pioneer in anthroposophical pharmacy.

Oskar Schmiedel was a pharmacist, anthroposophist, therapist, Goethean scientist and theosophist.

The American Eurythmy School is a four-year eurythmy training in Weed, California, near Mount Shasta. It was founded in 1984 by Karen Sherman McPherson, who studied under Ilona Schubert in the 1970s in Dornach, Switzerland, and is the second largest four-year eurythmy training in North America. The first graduation from the four-year program was held in 1990. There are many graduates of the School teaching in Waldorf schools and performing in the United States.

Jörgen Smit Norwegian, educator, anthroposophist

Jörgen Smit was a Norwegian teacher, teachers teacher, speaker and writer, mainly in the context of the Anthroposophical Society and the Waldorfschool Movement. He was the general secretary of the Norwegian Anthroposophical Society, co-founder of the Rudolf Steiner Seminar in Järna, Sweden and member of the Executive Council of the General Anthroposophical Society at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland.

Peter Selg is a German psychiatrist. He was born in Stuttgart and studied medicine in Witten-Herdecke, Zurich, and Berlin. Until 2000, he worked as the head physician of the juvenile psychiatry department of Herdecke hospital in Germany. Selg is director of the Ita Wegman Institute for Basic Research into Anthroposophy and professor of medicine at the Alanus University of Arts and Social Sciences (Germany). He lectures extensively and is the author of numerous books.

George Adams Kaufmann, also George Adams and George von Kaufmann, was a British mathematician, translator and anthroposophist. He travelled widely, spoke several languages and translated many of Rudolf Steiner’s lectures into English. Through his studies in theoretical physics he contributed to the expansion and development of the natural sciences as extended by the concepts of anthroposophy.

Rudolf Steiner wrote four plays that follow the initiation journeys of a group of fictional characters through a series of lives. These plays were intended to be modern mystery plays. Steiner outlined the plot of a fifth play to be set at the Castalian spring at Delphi, but due to the outbreak of First World War, this remained an unfulfilled project.

Frederick William Zeylmans van Emmichoven, was a Dutch psychiatrist and anthroposophist. From 1923 until his death in 1961 he was chairman of the Dutch Anthroposophical Society. He was a familiar figure in public life and had a considerable influence on the anthroposophic movement, particularly through his numerous lectures and his work as an author, which included the first biography of Rudolf Steiner.

References

  1. Sokolina, Anna P. "Biology in Architecture: the Goetheanum Case Study." In: The Routledge Companion to Biology in Art and Architecture, edited by Charissa Terranova and Meredith Tromble, 52-70. New York and London: Routledge, 2016. 546p.
  2. Both Goetheanum buildings are listed as among the most significant 100 buildings of modern architecture by Goulet, Patrice, Les Temps Modernes?, L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, December 1982
  3. Rudolf Steiner Archived 2015-09-24 at the Wayback Machine , Great Buildings Online
  4. 1 2 Michael Brennan, Rudolf Steiner, artnet Magazine 3/18/98
  5. Hortola, Policarp. "The Aesthetics of haemotaphonomy: A study of the stylistic parallels between a science and literature and the visual arts". Eidos 2009, n.10, pp. 162-193
  6. Spirituelles Gemeinschaftswerk Das Erste Goetheanum in Dornach – eine Ausstellung im Schweizerischen Architekturmuseum Basel, Neue Zurcher Zeitung 10.5.2012
  7. Patrice Goulet, "Les Temps Modernes?", L'Architecture D'Aujourd'hui, Dec. 1982, pp. 8-17.
  8. Goetheanum I in The Great Buildings Collection, compiled by ArchitectureWeek. Great buildings online listing
  9. 1 2 David Adams, "Rudolf Steiner's First Goetheanum as an Illustration of Organic Functionalism", The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, 51(2), 182-204, June 1992. Abstract
  10. Eugene Santomasso, Origins and Aims of German Expressionist Architecture: An essay into the expressionist frame of mind in Germany, especially as typified in the work of Rudolf Steiner, Ph.D. dissertation, Columbia University, 1973, AAT 7616368. Dissertation extract Archived 2007-12-14 at the Wayback Machine
  11. 1 2 Beate Steinberg, Sculptural Architecture: Rudolf Steiner's Goetheanum at Dornach, from wood to concrete, Master's thesis, California State University, 1976, AAT 1308149.
  12. Anna Sokolina, ed., co-author, Architecture and Anthroposophy, "Part One: Origins", "Part Two: New Impulses", 1st and 2nd edition, M: KMK, 2001, 2010. 268p. 348 ills. 2001 ISBN   587317-0746, 2010 ISBN   587317-6604.
  13. 1 2 Bernadette (Becky) Schwarz, A Study of Rudolf Steiner's First Goetheanum, M.A. thesis, Michigan State University, 1983.
  14. "Home of Theosophy Burns", The New York Times, Jan 2, 1923.
  15. Sokolina, Anna P. "The Goetheanum Culture in Modern Architecture." [Kultura Geteanuma v sovremennoi architecture.] Science, Education and Experimental Design [Nauka, obrazovaniie i eksperimental'noie proiektirovaniie. Trudy MARKHI], edited by Shvidkovsky D.O., G.V. Yesaulov, et al., 157-159. Moscow: MARKHI, 2014. 536p.
  16. Dornach in German , French and Italian in the online Historical Dictionary of Switzerland .
  17. Hans Hasler, "A sculptural expression of harmony", Architects' Journal , S9(3), March 4, 1999.
  18. Paull, John (2018) A Portrait of Edith Maryon: Artist and Anthroposophist, Journal of Fine Arts, 1(2):8-15.
  19. Richard Reid, The book of buildings: Ancient, medieval, Renaissance & modern architecture of North America & Europe, ISBN   0-442-27805-5. Chapter title "Modern Architecture", subsection "Switzerland".
  20. 1 2 Werner Blaser, Nature in Buildings: Rudolf Steiner in Dornach 1913-1925, ISBN   3-7643-6541-2
  21. Rudolf Steiner, Ways to a New Style in Architecture, five lectures given at Dornach, Switzerland during the building of the First Goetheanum, 1914. Also published as Architecture as a Synthesis of the Arts, 1999, ISBN   1-85584-057-X
  22. Adolf K. Placzek, editor in chief. New York: Free Press; London: Collier Macmillan, 1982. ISBN   0-02-925000-5
  23. Garry Stevens in "The Favored Circle", 1998, MIT ISBN   0262194082
  24. Reinhold Johann Fäth, Rudolf Steiner Design – Spiritueller Funktionalismus Kunst, Diss. University of Konstanz (2004) (as PDF Archived 2005-05-23 at the Wayback Machine )