Dorte Mandrup Reclaiming Saaleck Workshops near Naumburg
The Saaleck Workshops near Naumburg in Germany holds a history that must not be ignored nor forgotten. Built by the German architect, anti Semite and racial ideologist Paul Schultze-Naumburg at the beginning of the Twentieth Century and used by the Nazi elite as a think tank of totalitarian and racists thoughts, it is considered an uncomfortable monument. Now the site will be transformed into a free-thinking international design academy where history will be allowed to coexist with future ideals of diversity, democracy and openness. Dorte Mandrup have created a masterplan that allows history to be visible while superimposing new layers on the existing, representing contemporary ideals of diversity and free thinking, a transformation of the Saaleck Workshops and the surrounding landscape by restoring, leaving and adding.
By adding new layers to the existing, history will be able coexist with current and future functions, movements and ideals. It is a minimal yet forceful intervention. The Saaleck Workshops were not a static place. The place has been transformed many times since 1904. The juxtaposing of color and materiality will underline the many historic layers and allow the buildings to be understood from many different perspective – not only the dark chapters leading up to and unfolding during the Nazi regime.
Some places will be left untouched, representing the history from 1904 until today. Bright, strong colors will mark the few places where significant changes are made. More subtle colors will relate to the shared northern European design ideals at the time when the house was built. Representing the common starting point that soon divided into a parallel history of architecture in Europe, one moving forward at enormous speed, while others – like the Saaleck Workshops – moved backwards in ideology and time.
Like the buildings, the garden has gone through changes over time. Today the reminiscence of a North-South axis creates a controlled movement through the gardens. A new layer of meandering paths will inspire visitors to venture on alternative routes through the garden, passing wildflowers, bushes and fruit trees along the way. From a new evening terrasse they can take a moment to enjoy the amazing view over the The River Saale. As a new intervention in the garden, a light, organic Infinity Bridge will connect three different levels in the garden to the Architects House in the far East corner.
An open glass facade will transform the former chicken coop into a documentation centre which will explore the life of Paul Schultze-Naumburg and critically address his ideas and racist ideology
In 2018 the Saaleck Workshops was bought by the Marzona Stiftung Neue Saalecker Werkstätten with a generous donation of Patron Egidio Marzona. After the restoration and transformation, a new forward thinking international design academy will reclaim the site and become a free space for development and ideas. The Marzona Foundation and dieDAS will transform the former Saaleck Workshops to reflect contemporary culture and facilitate a productive and distinct exchange – between the fellows, partner institutions, and companies, as well as a worldwide network of designers, craftspeople, and architects. It will be a place for big thoughts and visions. Diverse, interdisciplinary, open. The transformation will happen in stages with the last stage expected to finish in 2027.