The other-worldly architecture of Rudolf Steiner

The first Goetheanum (1913–19), an odd mix of temple, dance hall and conference centre, was a double-domed timber and concrete structure looking like a hilltop observatory. Steiner’s philosophic-religious system, anthroposophy, was intended to be expressed through art and movement; its dance, eurythmy – then a massive fad – was fundamental to its practice. The Goetheanum’s halls, intersecting like a compressed figure eight, were designed to accommodate these theatrical movements; the dome of the first building was a garish multi-coloured globe, as if the heavens were awash in a dancing spectrum. That building burnt down, mysteriously, in 1922. Steiner immediately set about designing a more ambitious, more solid structure. Even before it was completed – in 1928, three years after he died – it became a sensation. Visiting architects were awed by this radical structure shrouded in complex scaffolding, its emergent form visible within.

The second Goetheanum building in Dornach, Switzerland, designed by Rudolf Steiner after the first Goetheanum burnt down in 1922, and completed in 1928. Photo: Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Source: Architecture -


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