‘…a work of art is only justified if it
in some way transcends nature’.
Rudolf Steiner, 1888

The Goetheanum

is in Dornach, Switzerland; an organically formed, concrete building which houses the School for Spiritual Science. It is the second building in this place by Rudolf Steiner, a student of the work of Goethe and founder of Anthroposophy. Steiner’s mission was to create the building “out of the same inner laws that generate [everything that is performed there]. Everything presented… must ring through the auditorium or assume visible shape in such a way that the very walls give their assent, the paintings in the dome add their approval, as a matter of course; that the eyes take it in as something in which they directly participate.” I will begin with a brief description of the first Goetheanum .

    The first Goetheanum was built as a place for the Anthroposophical society to show the Mystery Dramas written by Rudolf Steiner. These were to present “that which anthroposophical spiritual science must convey out of its inner nature…” The form of the building, and particularly the stage, was directly influenced by the needs of these plays.

    The building was made of wood and cast in place concrete, the latter forming a plinth for the ornately carved wooden building. Viewed from the outside, the original building consisted of two interpenetrating rotundas of unequal diameter constructed in timber. Resting on these cylindrical elements were two corresponding cupolas roofed with slates. At their juncture two swings extended towards the north and south, and a vestibule projected to the west, also built in timber.

    Much energy was put into visibly expressing the ‘upward-striving’ and the ‘downward-bearing’ forces and how they


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