The Dornach colony

As a centre of education and venue for events the Goetheanum has long attracted visitors from around the world. The immediate neighbourhood offers further innovative examples of how nature can be synthesized with culture: a unique ensemble of organic-Goetheanistic residential and functional buildings erected in the course of the 20th century. As part of the celebrations honouring the 150th anniversary of Rudolf Steiner’s birth, we dedicated an open day to these important architectural highlights on 4th September, 2011. Together with the Swiss Anthroposophical Society and the owners, users and residents of individual buildings, we presented the «Dornach Colony» as represented by more than fifty residential and purpose-built edifices sited in Dornach and Arlesheim on Goetheanum hill and its vicinity. Most of the privately owned buildings opened their doors to the general public for the first time, with the owners and occupiers providing information and talking about the experience of living or working in buildings that are special in a number of regards. Expert guided tours offered additional insights and information, while a lively programme of accompanying events offered attractions for young and old. Throughout the Open Day a giant balloon floated above each of the showcased buildings, underscoring the light-hearted atmosphere that characterized the event as a whole.

The book Die Dornacher Anthroposophen-Kolonie, an architectural guide to the Dornach colony, was launched on 3rd September. Speeches were delivered by Guido Magnaguagno, art historian and former director of Museum Tinguely, and Dr. Christoph Bürkle, director of Niggli Verlag and editorial manager of Archithese international review. The launch was followed by the opening of the new Dornach/Arlesheim architectural trails, accompanied by inaugural addresses from Ursula Kradolfer, vice-president of Dornach municipal council, Karl-Heinz Zeller Zanolari, mayor of Arlesheim, and Paul Mackay, member of the executive council of the General Anthroposophical Society.

Documenting some 170 properties, the new architectural guide was edited by the architect Jolanthe Kugler and published by the prestigious Niggli Verlag. Publication was made possible by funding from Kantonale Kulturförderung Solothurn, Raiffeisenbank Dornach, Swisslos-Fonds Baselland, the Swiss Anthroposophical Society, Freie Gemeinschaftsbank, Fachhochschule Nordwestschweiz, Ricola AG, and the art fund of Edith Maryon Foundation.

The four new architectural trails through Arlesheim and Dornach were enabled with the assistance of the municipalities of Arlesheim and Dornach and the Lotteriefonds of the cantons of Baselland and Solothurn. The non-profit society “Architekturpfad Dornach Arlesheim” looks after the trails and organises guided walks.