Responsible for this built manifesto of the avant-garde was none other than the brothers Hans and Wassili Luckhardt – who later became famous for their white houses at Rupenhorn – in collaboration with the architect Franz Hoffmann. And they pulled all the stops, with angular, crystalline spaces, strong, contrasting colors, interiors by expressionist artists such as Oswald Herzog and Moriz Melzer, and a garden unlike any other in Berlin. Flowerbeds pointed like arrows toward the house; the lawn was sown in the shape of a maple leaf. The clients and residents of the building were the art-loving Jewish couple, Eugene and Thea Buchthal. Their art collection adorned the walls, and included works by Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, Emil Nolde, and many others. But just a few years later, the family with their three children had enough of living in a work of art.
“Expressionism and New Objectivity”
November 23 – 6 December, 2016
The building’s first comprehensive remodeling was carried out by Ernst Ludwig Freud, son of the founder of psychoanalysis and student of Adolf Loos, who, in the style of New Objectivity, liberated the building from all corners and edges. Inseparable from the history of the house is the fate of the Buchthal family, who had to emigrate from Germany after 1933, selling both their villa and art collection. Further structural changes were made after 1945 by the next owner, the opera singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.
The story of the house was discovered by accident. In 2015, Ursula Seeba-Hannan (Lenzwerk Holding GmbH) was commissioned with the renovation of the house, which was in need of refurbishment. Her ensuing research led her deep into archives in Berlin and London, where she carefully unearthed the building’s historical layers. The multifaceted findings were then integrated into the renovation plans. Upon initiative of Lenzwerk Holding and with the support of all stakeholders, it was possible to weave the historical fragments into a dazzling mosaic that illuminates the importance of this exceptional property and its former inhabitants.
Not only does this exhibition recount the fascinating story of this house and its complex architectural history. Additionally, it sheds light on its residents and their guests from various eras. With historical photos and plans, as well as images documenting the current renovation process, it poignantly demonstrates the exemplary handling of a significant monument, which in its original form was a fascinating icon of Expressionist architecture.
An Aedes catalogue will be published.