The First Goetheanum as a community building

The First Goetheanum as a community building

09 December 2022 Sebastian Jüngel 5897 views

A hundred years ago, in the New Year‘s Night 1922/1923, the First Goetheanum was destroyed in an arson attack. Events in and around the Goetheanum will be devoted to the commemoration of this loss. The building was intended as a response to the social crises of World War I and the needs of that time: a spiritual impulse for cultural renewal.

That the First Goetheanum touches people to this day has to do with its profound connection with the human being. Christiane Haid, head of the Visual Arts Section at the Goetheanum, explains this effect also with the theme of metamorphosis in the First Goetheanum. “The forms reflect the principle of human evolution.” Because every stage can be derived, not in a linear but formative way, from the previous one, the step to the next stage has to be actively created. “This inspires creativity – and may encourage us to take on social tasks.”

In order to facilitate an experience of the spiritual reality described in Anthroposophy, new artistic forms of expression and new techniques were developed for the construction of the First Goetheanum. They include carving techniques for wood and glass. The building concept and most of the creative methods were based on Rudolf Steiner‘s indications, sketches and models and executed in collaboration with many local experts and artists from around the world. Christiane Haid explains that “The idea of a gesamtkunstwerk has been realized here in a unique way, in the harmony of all art forms down to the newly created art of eurythmy.”

Thanks to a collaboration between the Goetheanum, the Rudolf Steiner Archives and the Trigon Foundation‘s Kunstschaudepot (art display depot), original design sketches, studies, casts, salvaged parts of the building, reconstruction drawings and models are on display.

Web Exhibitions (website in german)
Goetheanum: With original design drawings, models and objects, until 10 April 2023
Rudolf Steiner Archives: 15 December 2022 to 10 April 2023
Kunstschaudepot: Juraweg 2-6, Dornach/SO, Switzerland, until 10 April 2023

The Building Impulse, Burning and Future of the First Goetheanum. Christmas Conference, 27 December 2022 to 1 January 2023
A Night of Culture, 31 December 2022, 10 pm, until 1 January 2023, 10 am

Video series
✪ The first Goetheanum as a total work of art (subtitles in English)

English by Margot M. Saar

Image First Goetheanum, Dornach/SO, Switzerland, Before the fire, n.y. (Photo: unknown)