Hellerau has always been a romantic notion to me, but I finally was able to see it with a small group of students sponsored by the GI. It was based on an English town planning concept developed around 1910 in this idyllic “Dorf” a mere 15 minute ride along my tram line 8 north of Dresden.
It felt a little bit like Marin or wooded Montclair, but of course, in the German tradition, extremely tidy. Everyone was entitled to a well designed unit, with plenty of open space, gardens for every unit, and community space. The buildings were well built and conceived, as evidenced by its condition today. There is the line connection to the city, but it looked like most people had cars to get back and forth.
The Werkstatt was intended to provide a community for Live-Work, obviously not a new concept. A furniture shop served as one of the mainstays for income. Today, it has been repurposed for artists and designers. Local temporary dance companies work in the community center and musical performances connected with the Dresden Music Festival are held here annually.
Photos, from top, down:
1. The new spin on what Germans coined for Kindergartens. They are, needless to say, well planned stages of life, with a lot of attention and loving care. These are still excellent models to emulate across the world.
2. Sustainability in action. This hasn’t changed from when the development was first built. Time for us to rethink our priorities.
3. The first row housing development on a small scale, taken from the British, with more color
4. The Art Nouveau influence at that time is evident from the graphic lettering used on the Workshop for Furniture.
5. Individuality was allowed on buildings. While most were stucco plaster, this one utilized a log cabin concept with tapered logs, but stacked in smaller lengths in metal channels. This could have been a very efficient way to construct the exterior, and it still looks durable and easy to maintain.
For more information on Hellerau, check out http://www.hellerau.org/english/hellerau/history/the-garden-city/