Haus Schuurman has been home to Anthroposophy General Studies´ at the Goetheanum for the last 12 years. As it has hosted many generations of students, we already have a beautiful alumni community; it is from this space that the initiative to restore and repair our study house emerged.
As current and former students of Haus Schuurman, we see the true state of the house and how weather, passing of time and hosting many events has affected it. Thus we are determined to bring back stability and beauty to the building, hoping to host our studies for at least another 100 years.
The project has an input of effort and love from different amazing people, but in the front line, we are three; we leave here a little introduction, to get to know us!
I am a current student at the Goetheanum, from Australia. My background is in leadership, management and Human Resources. Before studying, I have been traveling and exploring this side of the world for the last two years.
I am a former student of the Goetheanum, and currently the head of the department of Study and Professional Development. My background is in teaching and cabinet making, but I am also a mother and love to see and discover development in all aspects of life!
I am a current student at the Goetheanum, from Chile. My background is in molecular biology and neurosciences, I am now developing my own research project about the interaction between sciences and the knowledge from different cosmovisions around the world.
Text by Susanne Böttge (Head of the Goetheanum Administrative)
Haus Schuurman is the last building designed by Rudolf Steiner. Situated to the east of the Goetheanum building, about 160 m from it and about 13 m above the ground, it forms the striking end of the ensemble situation on the grounds of the garden park. The residential house contrasts with the Duldeck house to the west of the main building in its very simple, angular design with flat surfaces and large rectangular windows. Between these two buildings of almost polar design, the huge breadth of form necessary in Goethean architecture is evident.
Origins and history
First design sketches 29 September 1924 by R. Steiner
Year of construction 1924-25
Fire 1976 Conversion from a single-family house to a speech formation school on the upper and lower floors with major fire protection measures and new staircase on the ground floor by Arch. Tschakalov and his colleague Matthias Ganz. Garden staircase in front, designed by Christian Hitsch
History of the building
The following information is taken from an oral report by Mrs. Ina Schuurman, published in Zimmer, Erich - Rudolf Steiner als Architekt von Wohn- und Zweckbauten, 2nd edition, Verlag Freies Geistesleben, Stuttgart, 1985 p. 232ff.
The musician Max Schuurman, a native of Holland, had come to Dornach in January 1915 with his wife Ina, who came from Koblenz (Mosel), originally to participate in the construction of the 1st Goetheanum.
Around August 1924 he planned to buy a house. When Rudolf Steiner heard about this he encouraged him to build his own house, as he was interested in building an inhabited house to the east of the main building and designing it himself.
The client's wish was in the direction of the wooden clinic building in Arlesheim for Dr. Ita Wegman, which had been built shortly before. Above all, they wanted a music hall with dimensions of 8 x 8 metres, oriented towards the size of the Goetheanum carpentry hall stage, which could also be used as a euythmy practice room. Rudolf Steiner had replied to this: "Then we must build the house 10 by 12 metres." Apparently he wanted a building that was not too small. In response to the owner's concerns that this might exceed his financial possibilities, he offered to make the land available. He also promised to compensate for the additional costs. This was also in order to be able to continue to employ and retain the craftsmen who had worked on the construction of the Goetheanum and surrounding buildings, such as the publishing house, and who was therefore specially trained for the construction method. In the following, he drew four design sketches.
▪️ Design variants
The commissioned director of the Goetheanum building office Ernst Aisenpreis, or more precisely his co-worker Mr von Baravalle, dealt with the realisation of the design. Four of Rudolf Steiner's hand sketches served as a basis. He created a first model that followed these as closely as possible. In the further editing process, a second model was created that comes closer to the current state. The most westerly changes are the shape of the roof with the original clear dynamic of movement from east to west and the change from four to three windows on the upper floor of the west façade.1
A fire starting in Mrs. Schuurman's kitchen on the upper floor in 1976 almost completely destroyed the interior design and finishing in the upper and attic floors. It was therefore decided to build a new extension for the language school and also to change the floor plan and the upper staircase. Residential use was added to the attic, bringing four more skylights to the four existing ones, the three larger ones on the east roof. In 1992, there was an electrical fire in the kitchen of the language school, which caused only minor damage.
Haus Schuurman is located behind the Goetheanum - by the East and on top of the hill. The biodynamic vegetable and flower gardens lie between Haus Schuurman and the Goetheanum’s East entrance.
The house was the last of Rudolf Steiner’s architectural drafts and the most plain of all.
Haus Schuurman was sketched by Rudolf Steiner for Max and Ina Schuurman on the 29th of September 1924, a day after his last speech for Michaelmas and its last overall. The couple were connected to the Goetheanum over the years through their work as a musician and eurythmist.
Five steps lead up to the entrance of Haus Schuurman and straight ahead - in the open vestibule - where you can see the main entrance for guests in earlier times. The left wooden door that leads into the interior of the house was the everyday entrance for the owners, which nowadays is the main entrance. Daylight streams through the windows to the East, South and West. The wood-paneled walls fill all rooms with warmth.
All rooms from the basement into the first floor are currently occupied by the Goetheanum Anthroposophical Studies. Many of the former students will remember their classes there. You can also find the office of Study and Professional Development on the ground floor.
With all the students coming yearly from all over the world, Haus Schuurman is still as busy and alive today as ever - filled with thoughts, insights, and encounters.
As you can see in the scatch on the left, above a quadratic floor plan rises a cubic construction, on which a complex roof is built. The corners of the roof resemble the edges of the entrance. The latter, with its inwardly offset side walls, already hints a certain movement into the interior.
From the turn of the millennium, I was a daily guest at Haus Schuurmann for three precious years. Coming from the USA, I first studied speech formation with a therapeutic focus at the Dora Gutbrod School in Aesch for a year, then I switched to the Goetheanum School for Speech Formation and Acting as an individual student, with Johannes Händler as a mentor for the years up to graduation - and at the same time in a free, inspiring connection to the existing acting course. This was something to experience! Molière's "The Imaginary Invalid" is particularly vivid in my memory, and was received with enthusiasm - and above all, hearty laughter - at the performance in the carpenter's workshop.
The daily practice: in a group, in individual lessons, and on one's own initiative; in the Schuurman house was qualitatively something completely different than in the large building in Aesch, which was professionally equipped for eurythmy and speech formation. There was a "flair" here, a real spiritual presence that connected me directly to the time the Goetheanum was founded. More and more it became clear how this also had an impact on the deeper motives of my stay at the Goetheanum: because at the same time as my studies I was able to make surprising discoveries in the etheric sheaths of the Goetheanum, in direct connection with Rudolf Steiner's landscape design and the geomantic foundation of the first Goetheanum. This included the Felsli, Rondell and Dragon's Tail on the southwest side - but also the counterpart in the east, i.e. the little wall that closes off the garden to the linden tree in four steps at the top point between Haus Schuurmann and the observatory.
The School for Drama and Speech Formation was clearly embedded in this ensemble of smaller structures erected by Rudolf Steiner, which were more than just "outbuildings", but clearly positioned bases within the supersensible organs of the Goetheanum parc.
May the awareness of these envelopes reawaken in these years - for the good of the Goetheanum and the people who strive for spiritual science here.
A few months ago - after 17 years of work in Norway - I returned to the Goetheanum. My research on the mistletoe flower essences and the sheaths of the Goetheanum has deepened enormously under the changed circumstances of the time. As a student of the newly established fundamental eurythmy therapy training, I pass Haus Schuurmann several times a day. In doing so, I extend my inner greetings and blessings to the house, to which I owe a lot. May it soon shine in new splendor!
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