Goethe's Gartenhaus

Dow Jones Architects participated in a special anniversary edition of the Forum, an academic publication of the Dutch architects society Architectura et Amicitia (AetA) which was founded in 1855. For this edition, AetA asked DJA to look at the idea of extending Goethe’s Gartenhaus in the Park an der Ilm in Weimar.

The Goethe Gartenhaus is an archetypical house–like form of bright white render, which has a particular relationship to the landscape. It occupies a slight rise in the ground beneath an escarpment, framed by dense forest. The combination of its powerful form and striking material provide a poetic counterpoint to nature.

The one anomaly to the parti is a rough stone battered pier, emanating from the south-west corner of the building. It is unique in the composition as it has a material presence that speaks of nature; it also alludes to the idea of a pre-existing structure or deeper layer of memory that the house is concealing.

Our proposal takes this raw material and uses it to extend the ground of the house, and to create a broader topos of interpretation. On this new ground we have placed a pavilion that is a simulacrum of the house. Being explicitly about the relationship between Goethe and nature we have used the material language of the timber trellis, which wraps the house, to form the structure of the pavilion.

This new pavilion is inspired by the story that, at the Gartenhaus, Goethe used to sleep outside in order to lie under the stars. The new pavilion provides a place for ebing closer to nature. The result is a primal form that echoes the original Gartenhaus and connects the building through nature to the oeuvre of Goethe.