Unclassifiable architectures: the “Goetheanum” (R.Steiner, 1926-28) | Rodrigo Almonacid

Interior of the Goetheanum (c) Rodrigo Almonacid [r-arquitectura]

Unclassifiable. Indescribable. Inabarcable. Inaprensible. In-“not-I know-how many-things”…

The GOETHEANUM is one of these works of Modern Architecture that destabilizes the spectator, already be profane or learned this one in Architecture. Not uselessly, estimated reading, it is the this one of these big works ignored by the big priests of the Historiography of the Modern Movement as Giedion, Pevsner, or Hitchcock, for whom to have included this work in his magnificent “Histories of the Modern Architecture” had supposed not alone an anomaly but an inadmissible erosion to his concept of Messianic Modernity that they proclaimed with audacity in the period between the wars. More recent authors like Frampton or Benevolent at least they mention of spent neither this building nor to his author; only William Curtis does minimal justice to him with an image and a lapidary phrase, saying that is a “another cardinal omission of the first historiography of the modern movement”, on having referred to the Expressionism in which this one acts remains labelled.

The building is really surprising and developer, alive representation of the Anthroposophy, branch of thought split of the Teosofía de H.Blavatsky, to which there is in the habit of being defined as a movement scientist – filosófico-espiritual that there embraced painters as fantastic as avant-gardists of the height of Kandinsky or Mondrian. Impeller of this movement to half a way between the esoteric thing and the religious thing, we owe the construction of the “Goetheanum” to Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925), both in his first version of double dome (pasture of the flames in the New Year’s Eve of 1922-23) and in the definitive one, the second version that Steiner started constructing the year of his death (1925) and finished in 1928. Chronologically he is a contemporary of the villa Stein (Him Corbusier), of the Pavilion of Russia in the expo of Paris (Melnikov) or of the Weissenhofsiedlungen of Stuttgart (Mies…), and previous to Paimio’s Sanatorium (Aalto), to the skyscraper neoyorkino Chrysler (They van Allen) or to the international exhibition of Stockholm (Asplund …). Nevertheless, anyone we might assign it to the architecture brutalista of the postwar period; or, on the contrary, to interpret it as the sediment of other proto-racionalist experiments as the Werkbundtheater de Henry van de Velde (1914), Hans Pöelzig’s certain industrial works. In end, as it was announcing initially, arara avis certification for any exercise taxonómico of certain rigor.

Principal access to the Goetheanum in the winter of 2004 (c) Rodrigo Almonacid

Rarely an architect constructs a dream, this way, literally. In the first decades of the past 20th century, the longings transgressions never gave place to notable episodes of fantastic architectures, completed. Probably because, in the bottom, they never had the will to be projected to finish turning into built-up matter. One feels that always it had been a less interesting the finished construction than the drawings of the project that remain of works for all known: Sant’Elia‘s futurist cities, the Utopias constructivistas of Tatlin or Lissitzky, the dreams expressionists of Mendelsohn or even proposed of symbolic places of worship like Terragni‘s “Danteum” (the whole praise to Dante for major glory of the patriotic fascism of Mussolini’s Italy). Rudolf Steiner did not want it this way, wanted to come out of the plane of the ideas, arranging the only matter to manage to give him his physical corpus: the reinforced concrete.

The building, on a large scale monumental to all lights, loses his inflexibility and programmatical symmetry on having received life in his elements. Porticoes without columns, trapezoidal windows (there are never two equal meetings), windows with trampantojos and of great chromatic intensity, stairs that seem not to go nowhere, a cover so facetada as a shell of a crustacean or so it lasts as a crust of basalt … When I visited it does already almost 10 years I remained perplex after the visit, chance as that traveler who finished shocked on having remained caught in Nosferatu‘s castle. And even more after walking between the architectures that accompany the Goetheanum de Dornach, where there grew a colony replete with the strangest pieces that one could imagine, I praise undoubtedly to the figure of this Fausto who wakes up in the second part of the text written by Goethe where the personal pathos of the first part comes out of the more universal, really tragic one, which one faces without mufflers since it has sold the soul to the devil before. You have here, reading darling, a video like virtual visit for the building (accompanied by Beethoven’s music), so try to describe the spaces and details of this building with fixed photos does impossible task to itself:

Probably Rudolf Steiner saw his soul lost on having seen inflamed the delicate domes of wood of his first Goetheanum, and decided to sell his soul to the devil in the shape of impregnable rock of concrete to be liberated to him itself and to all those they were following the anthroposophy for then (not few ones, and very influential). I remain here, in the earthly thing, there where my eyes remain amazed imagining the complexity of the encofrados of planks for the concrete or open-mouthed before an unexpected bath of colored light (it is enough to see the image of the end of this post), real spiritual ablution for the soul of an irreverent architect and unconformist as me, I admit it.

Principal foyer of the GOETHEANUM (c) Rodrigo Almonacid

Rodrigo Almonacid [r-arquitectura] · doctor architect

valladolid. november 2013

(Teruel, 1974). Licenciado en Arquitectura (1999) con premio extraordinario y Doctor “cum laude” en Arquitectura por la Universidad de Valladolid (2013), compagina su actividad académica como profesor doctor de la E.T.S. de Arquitectura de Valladolid con la profesional al frente de su propio estudio [r-arquitectura]. Es autor de dos libros: Mies van der Rohe: el espacio de la ausencia (2006); y El paisaje codificado en la arquitectura de Arne Jacobsen (2016). Colaborador habitual en blogs de actualidad y crítica arquitectónica.

Proyecto edificios singulares y sostenibles en mi estudio [r-arquitectura] desde el año 2000 con la colaboración un equipo multidisciplinar de especialistas de acreditada experiencia profesional. [Especialidad: Sector Terciario].

Asesoro en el desarrollo de estrategias de comunicación 2.0 y marketing digital para actividades relacionadas con la Arquitectura: identidad digital corporativa, branding arquitectónico, community management, planifico y redacto contenidos para blogs/webs.

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