saai | Archive for Architecture and Engineering

Digital Collection Egon Eiermann

Hardenberg private residence


Hardenberg private residence

Egon Eiermann accepted the commission for this house only after some hesitation, as he had not designed any stately residential buildings since 1938. As he himself explained, his initial reservations were due to the highly subjective nature of the task, which required of the architect a thorough insight into the private lives of the client and his family. In-depth conversations with Count Hardenberg and his wife resulted in a concept for the design of an essentially single-story building on a T-shaped plan developed horizontally with relatively long and narrow wings. The different spatial groupings are lined up along the axes and open onto the garden on both sides, thus allowing for sufficient ventilation of all rooms in the hot summers of Baden-Baden. The central spaces of the house take up the entire width of the wings.

The Hardenberg private residence makes clever use of the site, dividing it into three different zones: the imposing driveway; the private court, closed off by raised banks planted with greenery; and the large playing and recreation yard complete with swimming pool. In planning this building, Eiermann was able to draw on his experience in the construction and design of previous projects and apply them in a formal way to the overall concept of a large private residence. One example of this is the gallery-like balcony which runs the full length of the house, and serves as a kind of intermediate or connecting zone–an element that would appear again, slightly varied in terms of construction and design, in subsequent administration buildings. Developing the idea far beyond the design aspect of creating a three-dimensional façade structure as in the German pavilions at the Brussels World's Fair, the galleries at the Hardenberg private residence provide not only protection from the sun but also serve as escape routes and as access for façade cleaning and maintenance. What is more, they also made it possible to create a kind of "green screen" of plants at a distance from the outer walls and windows of the house–a space that the architect thought of as a visual and climatic transition. Inserted between nature and architecture, this second skin was to overgrow the flat rooftops

as well in order to "dissolve the hardness of the built form," which was all the more important as the house, and the entire site, were open to view from the surrounding higher buildings. For this reason, the light tubular steel structure outside the galleries, a characteristic element of Eiermann's design, here takes on the function of a trellis.

The interior also stands out because of its detailed planning and execution. The architect designed almost all the furniture for the house. These chairs, beds, tables, wardrobes, and other pieces have all been preserved. The circular multicolored tiles of the floors–also used in similar form at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) in Berlin–are a striking feature. In the design for the Hardenberg private residence Egon Eiermann revived an aspect that already figured in his work in the 1930s. Even his first unimplemented drafts of 1938 for the Vollberg residence in Berlin were based an the idea of a T-shaped plan, a variation of which he had used in the design for the Steingroever private residence, also in Berlin, in 1936/37.

Clemens Kieser

"Egon Eiermann 1904-1970. Architect and Designer", Ed. Annemarie Jaeggi, Hatje Cantz: Ostfildern-Ruit, 2004, p. 179

Project-specific information

Project Hardenberg private residence
Persons involved
  • Egon Eiermann und Georg Pollich, Architektur
Project period 1958-1960

Object-specific information

Typology Einfamilienhaus, single-family dwellings

Site-specific information

Country Deutschland
City Baden-Baden