to järna with love (vii)


21 thoughts on “to järna with love (vii)

  1. What a wonderful conjunction of roof form and wall, giving the possibility of such variation in light and shadow. That Steiner kid must have something going for him! ( I know this building was probably Eric Asmussen, but he was operating according to Steiner’s aesthetic).
    I can think of only one other architect who made such good use of light playing round the forms – Le Corbusier with the chapel at Ronchamp.

  2. Yep, it’s Asmussen. It’s the building called ‘Almandinen’, from the early 70s. You’re correct about the buildign shapes and shadows. I would have preferred a plastered facade. The picture is black and white, and I suddenly realize why I have such a good reason for it — the wood is painted in the exact same colours as the waldorf school buildings were when I was a kid in grade 1 to 3. It’s a bit spooky to me. A kind of pink bordering in lilac. (I think Asmussen designed the school as well.)

  3. to my eye it looks like a cross between Scandinavian wooden domestic architecture & a teutonic war-helmet.

    But I used to have a cat called Mies*, so you can tell the kind of modernism I like.

    *apologies to my guru

  4. The top roof actually does look like a helmet. Correct about the wooden architecture too, but the colours are ‘un’-scandinavian.

    A different colour on the house itself and a copper roof (turned green) instead of the painted tin roof — that would be great. The copper would be great actually. But you can’t have a pinkish-lilac wooden building with a green copper roof. (Although it isn’t by far as bad as having a cat. Says mr D.)

  5. Does the roof open to the heavens like the Greenwich Observatory? To the tune of Wagner? With Steiner rising upwards on a small, wooden hill, rotating slowly, gnomes turning the handles of this extraordinary deus ex machina in the full glare of an astonished world media?

    And would it make all the difference if it did?

  6. Zooey,

    Is this a photo of the famous “Seminariet” Building or is it the House of Anthroposoophy, or what? All of them making Jaerna the “Dornach of Sweden” according to this review of a Russian book “Architecture and Anthroposophy”

    Danish architect Erik Asmussen’s “With All the Senses,” opens this part of Sokolina’s volume. Asmussen, another of Steiner’s successors, was the founder of the Rudolf Steiner Seminariet (established 1966), which has become the Scandinavian center of Anthroposophy in the Swedish village of Järna, on the Baltic Sea. Like Dornach, Järna is considered a “new world” of and onto itself, and it reflects Asmussen’s theory that all architects would perforce gravitate to organic forms if they just took the time to address the function of the form itself.

    The true scholars of Asmussen’s work at Järna, American professors of Architecture Gary Coates and Susanne Siepl-Coates, explore some fantastic examples of Asmussen’s work, both practical and divine, in their “Spiritual Functionalism in the Architecture of Erik Asmussen.” Little known are Asmussen’s hospital (in which rooms are painted according to Steiner’s color theory) at Järna and his magnificent auditorium, the House of Anthroposophy.

    Be sure to check out some of the sample pages here:

  7. Tom — it’s the ‘Almandinen’ (see: and I think this must be what’s referred to as the house of anthroposophy — Kulturhuset —, that’s another building.

    Thetis — well, of course. Huge difference. Nobody would be able to say ‘gnomes don’t exist’ anymore. Plus, nobody could claim to be the reincarnation of Steiner anymore, if he turned up in person in this magic merry-go-round.

  8. Thetis said: “Does the roof open to the heavens like the Greenwich Observatory? To the tune of Wagner? With Steiner rising upwards on a small, wooden hill, rotating slowly, gnomes turning the handles of this extraordinary deus ex machina in the full glare of an astonished world media?”

    Snort! Now that is a fabulous idea.

    We could knit a life size Rudolf Steiner, Nobody would know the difference.

  9. There’s an entire dissertation in German on Steiner’s spiritual architecture. It’s downloadable from somewhere I think. Unfortunately I can’t remember who wrote it or the title. Or where to get it. I think it had spiritual architecture in the title, or something similar, and Steiner’s name. It has lots of interesting and entertaining pictures — among them one anthroposophical car. There are also many examples of how Steiner changed the designs in the process, after receiving drafts from others. Supposedly to increase the spiritual level of the furniture, buildings and items.

  10. [re chubby Rudi with pinchable cheeks] Oh, yikes. I can’t imagine that. Those who want to check out the latest puported but very unlikely reincarnation of Steiner can go to facebook and search for a certain Reinstein lady, who claims to be ‘it’. (H/t again

  11. Re dissertation — nope. I had to dig out the file on my computer now.

    Reinhold Johann Fäth:
    Rudolf Steiner Design
    Spiritueller Funktionalismus

    Uni Konstanz, 2004

  12. fascinating video Tom. I have to say I find Steiner’s aesthetic repulsive, which isn’t to say it isn’t interesting or without merit, it’s a visceral dislike which may have been the same before understanding more about anthroposophy and has something to do with – the ugliness & squatting toadness of the buildings, the sheer naive teutonic heaviness. The chairs too look as if they might wake & eat you, if they cared enough.

    I can’t stand the baroque either but go & look at it frequently, retreating as if suffocating.

    Still, at this moment I want a Wren spire, and won’t be happy until I have one. This is St Brides, which is both lovely & ridiculous, somehow positive & cheerful:

    if that’s a madrigal in stone, Steiner’s work is a Grimm’s fairy-tale in wood & concrete.

  13. Which tier? I really don’t mind. You could sit in the top tier, lit up but hidden in a spark of the London skyline, at dusk, reading & every so often reaching out absent-mindedly through a window for a slither of icing.

  14. That would be nice. I guess the view is pretty great from anywhere in a tower like that.

    I’m always envious of people who live in apartments with tower rooms. There are lots of those buildings around here. Ok, it’s not a spire, but pretty good anyway.

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