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Artist's House in Vorspeda ("Cheese Bell")

Architecture, 1926

Description of the artwork «Artist's House in Vorspeda ("Cheese Bell")»

The German city of Vorspwede is famous throughout the country and even beyond its borders thanks to the art commune that was formed here at the end of the 19th century and still exists. Now about 130 artists, sculptors and artisans are constantly living in the city, although almost the whole of Vorspved can be called an artistic commune, since most of its inhabitants are somehow connected with art.

The history of the commune dates back to 1884, when the daughter of a local shopkeeper, Mimi Stolte, met in Dusseldorf a young artist student, Fritz Mackensen, and invited him to spend a vacation with her family in Vorspved. In the end, Mackensen settled in the town, and his company was made up of other artists - Hans am Ende and Otto Modenson. Over time, the commune increased, not only artists began to join it, but also poets and writers, including Thomas Mann and Rainer Maria Rilke. The second wave of creative settlers was followed by the second, the population of the commune was periodically updated and changed, but the spirit of this place remains the same to this day.

There are many interesting places in Vorspved, but one of them has become a real attraction. This is a residential building built by writer Edwin Keneman according to the architectural design of Bruno Taut. For its unusual shape, the locals called the building a “cheese bell” because of its resemblance to a glass lid, which usually covered cheese plates.

Young Edwin Keneman came to Vorspeda in 1908 to become an artist. He did not succeed in realizing this dream, but Keneman became a guide and then a writer. Once he was presented with a rare edition of the magazine, in which he published the project of the building of Bruno Taut - a single-family house, in the shape of a needle. The architect already used a similar form for the Glass Pavilion in 1914 - it was part of a series of post-war architectural experiments of the early 1920s. Taut believed that the shape of the igloo provides people living in such a house with a sense of comfort and security. The architecture of the building assumed an organic natural form without additional decor and applied academic rules. The main axis of the house is formed by a chimney, around which there are stairs leading to separate rooms, which makes the interior of the building look like a snail shell.

Keneman built his "bell house" in 1926, taking as a basis the draft drafts of Taut from the same magazine. At the same time, he made sure that during the construction of the external facade all the technical requirements of the architect were observed. Small changes were made only in details - for example, in the form of small windows. The house with a unique layout turned out to be so spacious that Keneman rented rooms on the second floor to the guests. The building became popular and turned into a kind of house museum during the lifetime of its owner. It is noteworthy that Bruno Taut himself often visited Vorspved and probably saw the “cheese bell”, but it is not known exactly how he treated this “plagiarism”.

The fact that the house was built according to the project of Bruno Tauta was found out many years after the death of Keneman. The local organization Friends of Vorspede acquired a dilapidated building in 1994 and organized a large-scale restoration. Despite the deplorable state, the house was restored in its original form. The interior of the house and the original Keneman furniture were also preserved. The Cheese Bell was opened to the public in 2001 and is now a working museum.

Author: Evgenia Sidelnikova
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About the artwork

Art form: Architecture

Style of art: Art Nouveau

Date of creation: 1926

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