Note: the slides accompanying this lecture are not
January 23, 1920
As a sort of episode inserted
between the lectures now being given, I should like to-day to bring
forwards a few things about our building, so that our friends may find
in what will be said, a sort of foundation for their own work. We shall
have, in the near future, to take strong measures in different directions
for the benefit of the cause, so that the Dornach Building, the “Goetheanum”,
should be made the centre of the movement for Spiritual Science from
the point of view of Anthroposophy for which we intend to work. It would
be of great importance if the Goetheanum could also be made known to
the outer world, so that those who have not at present an opportunity
of seeing it, may become acquainted with it. The very way in which this
building is put before the spiritual culture of the present time may,
if brought to the consciousness of our contemporaries in the right manner,
work in the direction, which we consider is the needful direction for
the age. So to-day, when I have said, I wish to provide a foundation
for that which others will carry forth into the world, I will once more
give you a little of what I have already expounded here in other connections,
so that from what is contained in these episodic lectures, a complete
conception of the whole may be formed.
To begin with, it must be
stated that the Dornach Building has grown out of the Anthroposophical
conception of the world. The Building was able to grow forth from this
for the very reason that when this conception is rightly understood,
it will itself possess the inner force with which to create its own
artistic forms and figures. Once again, I should like to repeat what
I have said before in other connections, that if any of the spiritual
tendencies of the present, which with their various programmes come
before the world to-day, had at any time required a building of their
own, some architect or other, and some artist or other would have been
approached, who would have built a house in such and such a style, in
which the movement it was built for could have been carried on. There
would have been an external relation between what went on within it
and the building itself, which might be either of the Renaissance period,
or of ancient Gothic style.
There must not be any such
merely external relation between the conception of the world which is
to be given forth at Dornach and that which encloses its activities.
The relation between them is to be an inner one. Every detail connected
with the housing of our activities, every detail of form and figure
had to proceed from the impulses of this world-conception itself. If
you bear this in mind, you will see, that this is connected with the
position Spiritual Science or Anthroposophy claims in the whole development
of mankind. The life of modern humanity has become simply intellectual;
it has become so because for centuries modern humanity has hardly received
any other education than that of thought. When forms have to be created,
people turn to those already existing to some one or other of the old
styles of architecture; just as when they wish to make anything artistic
or such-like, they do not turn their minds to the conception of the
world, but to something which has been substituted in its place. What
actually brought this state of things about? You see, in everything
of note in human culture there have always been two streams flowing
together. The presence of those two streams can be traced far back in
the historical development of mankind. One of these, which has achieved
its greatest intellectual development in the last few centuries, can
be traced back to what we may call the Old Testament outlook on the
world. We must never lose sight of the fact that one of the essential
tenets connected with this was the command: “Thou shalt not make
to thyself any graven image of the Lord, thy God”. The pictorial
representation of that which is of a spiritual nature, was lacking in
the one stream of human development. And this still holds good up to
the present day in the modern development of this stream.
Many schools of thought
and of philosophy, many different sciences and popular conceptions of
the world have been built up, but none of these have, of themselves,
succeeded in creating artistic forms. All that has been achieved is
the establishment relationship with the inartistic element of the present
day conception of the world. Our modern age is not concerned with creating
new forms, or with giving shape to what is capable of representation.
But really there are two
entrances into the world of the spirit; it may be entered in the intellectual
way in which it is penetrated by the monotheistic religions, in which
case the thought element, the intellectual, is principally developed.
By this means great progress can be made along the lines followed in
our most recent times. Or, on the other hand, the element which is to
be found in the imaginative may be cultivated, the element of vision,
of life in course of formation. modern humanity has not much living
relation with this latter element. It revives bygone styles, old methods
of artistic representation, but never identifies itself with them. Indeed,
things have gone so far that, on the one hand those who wished to create
artistically had an actual fear of every kind of philosophy, for it
is quite reasonable to stand in some sort of fear of the modern world-conception,
which is imaginative an intellectual. Put on the other side this has
been a great disadvantage in another sense to the development of modern
humanity. This disadvantage itself is the sign of decadence of recent
Some time ago in this very
place, I drew attention to the fact that in all the present struggles
of humanity there is something of the Jehovah-striving of the Old Testament,
that in a sense an endeavor was being made to make each individual people
what the Old Helm wanted to make of themselves and that Christianity,
as such, has not fully entered the hearts of modern humanity. And so
a certain intellectual thinking, an intellectual feeling concerning
humanity as a whole, has in a one-sided way grown up round our social
life. But man as man, 0r man as a community, can never be understood
from a purely intellectual standpoint.
What man is, that in him
which enables him to take his place in social life, can only be understood
if we rise to imaginative conception. Anyone who is acquainted with
the law to which such things are subject, is aware that even the Fairy
Tales, the legends and various mythologies contain more wisdom concerning
the real nature of man than does modern science, which does not even
possess the means of giving man an explanation as to himself. People
are afraid of the inpouring of the spiritual, which can only manifest
in our human civilisation in the form of pictures; they dread it. But
our civilised life will never be raised until men's hearts are once
again filled with a conception of the world not only capable of forming
from itself thoughts, but of creating forms and permeating the whole
of life. We want to make a beginning, yet in its own way it is intended
to show all that can be accomplished by a really creative conception
of the world at the present time and more especially what it must do
in the future. In a sense you see before you, in a picture, all that
is characteristic of the conception of the world which is studied here,
when you are confronted with that which is meant to be representative
of it, when you see the Goetheanum on its hill, at Dornach.
If we wish to describe in
a few words the special characteristic of this conception of the world,
it is this: The realisation that in this age a new spiritual life must
be revealed to man. And as we approach the building which is to stand
for the spreading of this new spiritual life, we cannot but feel that
a new revelation is to he made. Anyone who draws near to it cannot help
feeling that something will reveal itself here, something new in the
development of humanity. The very shape of the building impresses you
with the sense of something new making its way into the development
of man. Two cylinders of circular shape, in neither of which is the
circle complete, covered with hemispheres equally incomplete, expresses
the duality of that which is revealed and of that which comes to meet
it. The very predominance of the two domes conveys an impression to
the observer, as he draws near, that something is enclosed herein, something
enclosed but which intends to make itself known.
Do not take what I an now
saying in a symbolical sense; take it in an artistic sense and you will
then develop the right understanding for it. I shall have to speak further
about these things, but this evening we will begin by making a survey
of the different effects produced by the contours of the building, seen
from without. Let us begin by supposing that someone approaches if from
the North-East from any point around the hill on which the Goetheanum
is erected. He
1. would then see a Building
(1st. Picture) which could be in no other form. This is the feeling
which ought to be experienced, when directly confronting that which
stands as the representative of a new world-conception.
2. The next picture (2nd).
Seen from another side the Building presents this aspect.
A more distant view seen
from the neighbourhood.
It is first of all necessary
to study the different forms.
It was in 1908 that the
thought first occurred to me to erect a building with twin domes. But
much of the original plan had to be altered, for it had originally been
intended to put it in a city, in Munich, where it would have been surrounded
by houses, where the outer architecture would not have had to be so
much considered. When the building had to be remodelled to stand upon
present hill, it became
of course necessary to so plant the outer architecture that it might
produce the right effect from the different points of view in the neighbourhood.
Here let us begin by noticing that the building stands on a sort of
platform, not absolutely on the ground.
4. The next picture (4).
The next picture (4A) and
the next (4B). We now draw rather nearer to the Building and this is
a picture of the principal entrance. Kindly observe you begin by entering
the substructure and that, as we shall see, the staircase by which we
ascend to the auditorium belongs to the substructure of the Building.
Having ascended that, we then enter by the main door into the real Inner
Hall. The Building stands rather above the level of the actual surface
of the ground. It will be apparent to anyone who approaches the Building,
especially when he finds himself opposite the main door, that an attempt
has here been made to depart from the usual purely mathematical-geomatrical-mechanical
structure forms, and to discover organic ones. Of course those people
who are quite accustomed to the old conception and who believe that
the geometrical-dynamic can alone rightly hold a place in the art of
building and in architecture will have many objections to bring against
this introducing the forms of architecture into organic forms. All these
objections are known. But here we have actually dared to make the attempt.
Then, however, we had to think the whole thought of the Building as
of a living organism. No one will understand what I mean by this, unless
he himself really makes the endeavour — which very few people will
do as yet — to turn his feelings away from all that is symbolical
and intellectual, from everything merely mechanical and mathematical,
and allows himself to be carried into a really organic-artistic, a feeling
way of thinking. This does not imply that the form of an organic being
is symbolically expressed in the structural forms, it means that in
order to understand an organic being we must realise that a quite special
sort of intuitive thought-form is necessary. We shall have to become
accustomed to these intuitive forms of thought. And we then ought to
be able to find these architectural forms even coming of themselves
quite originally and elementally, out of the intuitive thinking.
I should like to draw your
attention to something of which most people in the present day have
no suspicion. It may be said that in nature there are organic forms.
Structural forms are made, more or less modelled on some such organic
forms in nature, structural forms which in a sense are a symbolical
expression of the organic forms of nature. But nothing of that kind
has been done. There is no direct prototype in nature of structural
forms here. And if a man seeks for such in nature, it only shows that
he has failed to understand the whole basic thought of what is in question
To be capable of understanding
an organism is a very different thing. For when a man really understands
a natural organism, he then possesses a kind of thinking which is able
to find organic structural forms quite independently of nature. But
such forms as these must be discerned in complete independence, they
must be created from out of their own form-essence. They will then,
if they result from a real living structural thought, bear the nature
of the organic. What then is the nature of the organic? Well, take as
an example the most complicated organism, man, and then take merely
the lobe of his ear; if you have the right intuitive thinking and feeling,
you will say that the lobe of the ear, situated where it, is, could
be no other than it is; in its place it must be just as it is. It is
the right width, the right height, and is properly rounded off, and
so on. And this must be so in every single form in this organically
conceived Building. Each detail, in that it represents a part of the
whole, must make evident in its own form that it is indispensable. The
very smallest appendage in the different parts of the Building must
be as manifestly indispensable as the lobe of the ear, or an arm or
a hand is to the human organism.
Nothing here has been copied
from nature. And if these forms remind anyone of this, that or the other,
it only shows that he is not judging of the Building from the standpoint
of Art, but that his opinions are inartistic. If the forms in the Building
remind one of anything — and what is there that people have not
been reminded of — human eyebrows and eyes and so on — that
only proves that he is judging of each thing on its own merit, especially;
whereas each detail in the Building only has a significance in its connection
with the whole and must be so understood.
5. The next picture shows
the same, a little nearer. Below we see the entrance; facing us are
the cloakrooms; and to the right and left, where the substructure extends
in a circular direction, is the well of the staircase. We then go up
the stairs and through the main door, by which we enter the inner building.
The motive which we encounter in the main entrance is one if
those organic motives to which we have been referring. If you take the
various motives that are to be found on the different sides of the Building
you will find that they are always formed in accordance with the organic
principles of metamorphosis, so that the one always grows forth as a
development of the other. For instance, look at the motive here, above
the principal entrance. If you can feel it in its forms, you will feel
the same form again in the motives of the window of the side-terrace,
which you can distinctly see here to the South. The motives of the windows
are apparently quite different. But in studying them you will see that
they develop out of that one over the principal Entrance in the same
way as, according to Goethe's principle of Metamorphosis, the different
organs of the blossom develop from the leaf. It is again a metamorphosis
of the same motive. We can only develop a living thought of the Building,
if we really inwardly and intuitively grasp the principle of metamorphosis.
6. The next picture. Another
view of the Principal Entrance.
7. The next picture. Principal
Entrance with side-terrace.
In what is attached right
and left of the Principal Entrance you can see that the attempt has
been made, just as it is in nature itself, to cause one motive to proceed
out of another; although there has been no copying of what is organic.
In every line and surface you can see that they all proceed from the
same principle — like that same principle which causes the cheek
to be carried from the temple of the forehead in a human face. The evolving
of the cheek from the temple of the forehead might really be taken as
a subject of inner study. Only while doing so we must be free from the
purely intellectual ideas of the world. We must be able to view the
world in forms, without beginning to symbolise. We then shall be able
to see how one surface, one form, proceeds out of the other in such
a way that they might really have grown forth; and besides that, they
really belong to the place where they are. Now in the whole of this
building there is not a single thing that is mere symbol. At the time
when our movement still had many people in it who were full of sectarianism
and false mysticism — which tendencies indeed I had to fight over
and over again — but when there were these tendencies in the different
persons who came into our movement from co many different quarters,
persons of artistic natures who happened to come among us were often
horrified at this tendency to symbolise. These members valued a Rose-Cross,
a cross with seven roses, far higher than a really artistic motive.
Now in this building we may say that this has been definitely overcome
and that what is really creative in a conception of the world has been
expressed in forms without any transition though the symbolical.
8. Next Picture.
9. Next Picture.
I want you to notice that
in the forms, (though of course all this is only a beginning) an attempt
has been made so to shape the surfaces that they lean towards the corresponding
centres of support. (Kräfte-Lagen). For instance, if you
go in at the principal entrance of the substructure, you will see the
arches. If you study the forms of these arches you will find them so
constructed that their lines follow the distribution of weight of the
building. Towards the door, where the weight is less, the arch is wider;
where the arch curves towards the building it bends inwards, the curve
is arrested. Thus the forms of the arches correspond to the distribution
of weight. If you can feel the forms in this way, you have grasped a
10. We now obtain a view
of the North side. In the part between the principal entrance and the
one wing, you can see the motive of the principal entrance in metamorphosis.
There you can study the metamorphosis of the separate forms, which allows
for the motive of the side-wall which is to follow. When you go in at
the principal entrance the motive meets you, whereas here you pass it
by. An organic structural thought should express whether a motive is
one that is to meet the eye, or is to he passed by. It is the same motive,
in different states of metamorphosis. Similarly that which finishes
it above, which overhangs the motive — is only a metamorphosis
of that which is the motive of the main portal. it is differently formed,
but has only become different in the course of its metamorphosis; it
is the motive of the principal entrance.
11. The next picture.
Here you have the side-view
of the side-terrace. In the motive of these windows, you can study how
organic shapes are formed. The motive completing the windows above is
precisely the same as that you have just seen over the windows and the
motive over the principal entrance, only in an organic growth it is
the case that metamorphosis comes about through that which in the one
structure is wider and more forceful, becoming contracted and condensed
in the other; what in its earlier state as in a more primitive form,
extends to more ramifications. It is just in this that metamorphosis
consists, and here you can see it carried out. And I should like to
draw attention here to the fact that in the whole building the endeavour
has been made to develop structural truth, architectural truth. That
is actually very little understood in the world to-day. You can here
see the overcoming of the mere Renaissance idea. The setting of windows
is not merely decorative, but as you see it arises from below. In the
whole building there is not anything to be
found which does not convey its actual purpose.
Nothing in this building
lies, whereas in the present-day conception of architecture there is
an enormous amount of untruth and deception. In our civilisation there
is so much untruth in our forms that it can hardly be wondered at that
so much of what men say is untrue too. Here the endeavour has been made
that everything shall absolutely and truthfully express what it actually
is. This can never be the case in symbolism, which always contains something
arbitrary. I want you to take note of this.
12. The next picture
Here we have the facade
of the side terrace. You see in metamorphoses that which is above the
principal entrance. Of course, you must bear in mind that whatever you
see here is nothing but a new beginning. I always say over and over
again, to all who will listen, that if I had to construct the building
over again, it would be very different. This is just an attempt. But
in its different parts you can see what we really intended, how the
organic structural thought has been carried out, and how, for instance,
the merely mathematical-geometrical-dynamic column formation has been
developed into the organic, so that nowhere is the principle, merely
of support or of burden in evidence, but everywhere the principle of
growth can be seen, the coming forth of one from another. And as we
shall see tomorrow, there is a marked effort to carry out this idea
in the architecture of the interior.
13. The next picture
This represents the upper
part of the same.
14. The next picture.
This is the juncture seen
from the side, seen from the corner.
15. The next picture
The model of the building.
Here you have the picture of my original model. I wanted first of all
to give you a conception of the idea one receives in approaching the
building. I wanted to show you the effect it ought to produce when you
walk round it. now show you the inner part, in my original model, carried
out in wood and wax. This model was the basis of the whole building.
You see it here cut in two through the centre. You can thus see under
the great cupola.the seven columns which, in succession, encircle and
enclose the auditorium. Here in the middle is the place of the Drop-Scene,
and here beneath the smaller cupola you see 6 of the 12 columns which
encircle that space. As here seen, the building is divided from West
to East. In the East will stand the principal Group: the Representative
of Humanity, in the midst of the Luciferic and Ahrimanic elements. Concerning
the principle by which these columns with their capitals and architraves
were constructed, I shall steak tomorrow.
16. The next picture.
Here we have the ground-plan
of the building, the principal entrance with the staircase on either
side, the auditorium, and the space beneath the small cupola, the place
in which the Mystery-plays and the Eurythmic-representations and so
on, will be given. These two spaces will be divided by the curtain.
On the line dividing the two will be the speaking-desk, on both sides
of this dividing line are the two side-alleys, for the use of those
engaged in the representations, and their dressing-rooms and so on.
This ground-plan will show
you that certain things were indispensable to the building. Whenever
I refer to this ground-plan I am always anxious lest the actual structural
thought should be misunderstood. I once gave a lecture in Dornach on
this ground-plan and its form, drawing a comparison between it and the
human form. Some of my listeners jumped to the conclusion that the building
was a symbolical image of the human form. That is absolutely not the
case; but if a man is able really to understand the human form and how
on the one hand it is an instrument for thinking and on the other hand
for willing and that both these are held together by the power of feeling;
if he understands the whole human structure, the formation of the head,
and limbs and the trunk, with the heart system as the centre, he then
would also be able to construct other organic forms. And this is one
of these other organic forms. On this account when one sees this and
the organic form of man together, it is possible to find a certain relation
between them. But there is absolutely no question of the one being modelled
on the other, for the Building here is in its organic architectural
form constructed from out of that which is organically creative in nature
and from cosmic activity itself.
You will be able to see
the same in the transverse section that I will now show you.
17. Next picture
The small cupola, as connected
with the great cupola. This cut through the centre from East to West.
The whole Building has but one axis of symmetry and everything is arranged
in accordance with that. That necessitates the structural thought being
a living one, for the more highly evolved organism develops along a
certain axis. Certain lower organic forms alone evolve from the centre;
and we may take it, that as a result of the attempt that has been made
here, certain more perfect forms of building than the centrally constructed
(Zentralbauten) ones, will be developed, because a first beginning
has been made to follow the principle of organic growth along an axis.
17a. The next picture
Here you have the vestibule
into which one enters through the door of the substructure; and this
is the stairway by which one ascends to the terrace. You see that, forming
part of and attached to the balustrade of the stairs is a remarkable
structure. What this actually is can perhaps only be completely grasped
by one who is able to look away from everything merely intellectual,
in order to see only the artistic. When this form was about to be made,
I said to myself: anyone going up these stairs must have some sort of
halting-place, to bring about in him the right frame of mind. Now just
look at these three directions of space. But it will not suffice to
look at them, you must notice how they droop over and bulge out, how
weighty they are, bending over with their own weight. If you take the
whole form into your feeling, they will be to you,the expression of
the mood which it would be desirable for you to have when you ascend
these stairs. Anyone who goes up them will have a premonition that here,
in this Goetheanum Building, he will find something which will give
firmness, security and strength to his life, which will give him something
to his balance. One ought to have that feeling here, for simply from
that feeling did the form arise. I might say that besides this, one
should feel that the form must be what it is, for although it is not
slavishly copied from them, it does resemble the three semi-circular
canals which form the small auditory bone of the human ear. If this
organ of the human ear is injured a man falls, he loses his balance.
It is an organ of balance in the human organism, a diminutive organ
Now one cannot help feeling
that there must be something here to help us to enter the Hall in a
properly balanced frame of mind. This is no puzzled-out idea, it has
been really felt. If one takes it as a thought-out thing, it will be
his own fault, for it shows he has begun by reflecting and digging down
and speculating. There should be no question of speculating or puzzling
out, but of feeling the heavy pressure of the overhanging weight of
feeling the form and in so doing, of arousing the mood that may come
over one while mounting these stairs.
Here is one of those vaulted
arches which can only be understood by organic structural thinking.
If you stand here in the Building and feel the Building, that is, feel
how you come in or out there, and how you go up the stairs, meeting
all the weighty pressure of the whole Building, you will then feel this
curve is expressed exactly as it should be: while at the same time you
will feel what the whole structure means. The attempt has here been
made to give over to the organic the work that is generally done by
columns or pillars. There is nothing in this but the feeling for form
that comes when one intuitively feels the supporting strength, which
this particular form must convey. If anyone is reminded of an elephant
or a horse's hoof he may be so but, that only shows that he does not
consider it from an artistic point of view, but merely an imitative
one. What is important here is the being able to feel that weight has
to be supported, while that which is to bear it grows into this form,
develops into it, and that this arch could curve in any other direction
but this. It is not a question of copying anything, but of trying to
feel the weight-carrying, weight-bearing forces, and of moulding such
forces as are able to bear weight.
In the ordinary-structural-conception
the geometrical-mechanical-dynamic weight-bearing and carrying, is the
only feeling one has. But here in every surface and line should he expressed
in the structures, the beginning of the feeling for life. If the things
I have mentioned do away with all that is merely speculation, you will
have understood the subject in the right way.
To-morrow we will continue
and pass from the outer to the inner architecture. I believe that when
all that underlies the conception of our Building is made known to the
world, and it is shown that here something really new in the way of
artistic forms is growing out of the Anthroposophical conception, we
shall be able to arouse a feeling for all that is being done not only
in this line, but also in regard to the social question.