Haus in Seebeck

2000/2001

address:
Seebeck-Strubensee
Brandenburg

client: privat 

staff:  
Simon Bange, Sebastian Nordmeyer, Ulrike Tillmann, Tobias Zepter

services: HOAI LPH 1-9

GFA: 954 m2

Deutscher Umbaupreis 2004

Anerkennung Architekturpreis der Reiner Stiftung 2003/2004



H. H.

Modern Architecture and the Brothers Grimm 

Although I was advancing in years, Brothers Grimm fairytales still dominated my idea of a house in the country: small, with its inhabitants snuggly enclosed by its wooden walls, low ceilings, a sharply inclined hip roof, and a heavy oak door with squeaky hinges.

The fact that my life has created circumstances and made demands that this kind of fairytale house will not quite accommodate—six children and two step-children and their dependents, a good number of grandchildren, my friends and their friends, yes thank goodness, many friends—this still has not changed my old dreams. 

Fairytale houses tend to be in the woods. But then I personally had an urgent need for water and my New York husband found it fitting and necessary to be able to swim directly to America right from our home.

Most likely these somewhat contrary notions were the reason that our search ended up taking such a long time, a year or two. It was more due to frustration and fatigue than conviction that we ultimately found something.

A Brandenburg farm, a central courtyard enclosed on all four sides: in the front parallel to the street were the farmer’s former living quarters (still half occupied), at a right angle on the right and left two stables, and forming the last side of the square, back towards the lake, a large, long barn. So far, so good. But then, between the barn and the lake was a huge threshing floor with deep-set cement, and behind that was the village dung pile—in addition to the cement stables that extended almost all the way down to the lake. Formerly a so-called LPG or agricultural production collective and then a village co-operative store.

We summoned our friends Johannes Modersohn and Antje Freiesleben, and they basically were convinced that every problem had a solution, and after we purchased the site for quite a moderate price, the right thing seemed to be to stick our heads in the sand and let the two optimists do the work.

It goes without saying that under the weight of substantial (cement) problems my unrealistic dream of the small-small came to nothing. The situation developed a certain compulsive aspect. A leads to B, and if in the meantime I had no idea why I had ever said A, there was bedrock certainty that M & F had it in mind in full detail: the beauty of Brandenburg, the expanse of the property once the cement and manure were gone and, most of all, the water route to America. In addition, they had tacitly internalized my fairytale wishes.

The barn that we then remodeled had 400 square meters of floor space and a high hip roof. It consisted of a single space with no inserted ceiling. Of course, we would utilize the entire floor space, said M & F—a large space is definitely a gift. And another gift: since there is no ceiling, we can once and for all make the ceilings as high as we please. Of course. But unfortunately Modersohn and Freiesleben’s ideas for the height of the ceiling differed substantially from my own. How was I to have a sense of security in my own four walls when the ceiling hovered so high above me that it seemed to be about to fly off? And besides, a room should not be higher than it is wide or long—so I thought. We fought over every centimeter, and M & F won all down the line. I don’t remember how they managed it, but probably their matter-of-fact professionalism drew on a greater amount of patience and conviction than my little-house mentality. ?Heimchenmentalität?

Meanwhile eight years have past since the conversion of the barn. I have meanwhile accustomed myself to the ceiling height, and in the company of guests I even find it quite pleasant, an experience of three-dimensional spaciousness. However, when I am lying in the bedroom and look up, I still have the feeling that I could fly away along with the ceiling. Which wouldn’t necessarily be so bad.

Overall the house has wonderfully proven its worth. Certainly for friends and family—so well that we have not yet been able to find anyone who would like to renovate one of the two adjacent buildings. Why do that, our loved-ones say, when we can just stay with you. As to fairytale wishes: adjoining the remaining 300 square meters is a private section—which is even lockable! Two small workrooms, three little baths, a bedroom with a flying roof. The Brothers Grimm would have loved it!

From: Tobias Zepter, Modersohn & Freiesleben. Das Leben der Dinge, Ostfildern 2009

Haus in Seebeck

2000/2001

address:
Seebeck-Strubensee
Brandenburg

client: privat 

staff:  
Simon Bange, Sebastian Nordmeyer, Ulrike Tillmann, Tobias Zepter

services: HOAI LPH 1-9

GFA: 954 m2

Deutscher Umbaupreis 2004

Anerkennung Architekturpreis der Reiner Stiftung 2003/2004