Rudolf Steiner and Architecture
Rudolf Steiner was an architect, with two major buildings and several smaller ones to his credit. His second Goetheanum building remains one of the most original large-scale uses of reinforced concrete in the history of architecture.
The First Goetheanum
The Second Goetheanum
The Stuttgart Eurythmeum (in a photograph from 1924) built from a design by Rudolf Steiner.
It was destroyed in World War II.
Dr Steiner was not only the creator of new architectural forms, producing the models, but also the inventor of completely new technical possibilities. He developed a particular sizing for the ground of the paintings on the cupolas, and gave directions for the preparation of the plant colours used to paint the two domes. Later, he also painted half of the small cupola himself, and carved the wooden statue of the Representative of Humanity - after having made the model for it with his own hands. He also designed the large glass windows in the main hall, for which he specified the machinery needed to carve them, as well as designing the "Glashaus" in which to make them. Amidst the building activity, he strode through the ranks of artists and workers in long boots like a youth, animating and encouraging them all.
Besides the regular, infinitely varied lectures which Rudolf Steiner gave, we had the good fortune to experience the growth of the building. The adjacent carpentry shop doubled as lecture hall; later, a temporary stage was built in it. Work proceeded incessantly, always with Rudolf Steiner in the lead. Whoever couldn't carve helped in sharpening chisels.
The building supervision lay in the hands of the engineer Englert, the former director of the Basel building association that had produced the special concrete base for the building. Dr Steiner gave Englert the task of anchoring the two cupolas at their section in such a way that they would mutually support each other. At first, Englert declared the problem insoluble according to his calculations. He was given some directions by Dr Steiner and, to and behold, a few days later he had solved what he had at first thought impossible.
Emil Molt. Emil Molt and the beginnings of the Waldorf School movement: Sketches from an autobiography. Edinburgh: Floris Books, 1991. Page 114.
Bayes, Kenneth. Living Architecture. Steiner Books, 1994.
Blaser, Werner. Nature in Buildings: Rudolf Steiner in Dornach 1913-1925. Stuttgart: Birkhauser, 2002.
Raab, Rex. Eloquent Concrete: How Rudolph Steiner Employed Reinforced Concrete. New York: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1979.
Steiner, Rudolf. Architecture as a Synthesis of the Arts. New York: Rudolf Steiner Press, 1999.