Summer Edition – by Beatrix Koch
Above the picturesque city, Ascona, there is a mountain, named “Monte Verità” that literally means: “The Hill of Truth”.
In the early 20th century, Monte Verità was the center of a reform-minded artist colony, now considered to be one of the first counter-culture movements. A few houses and other evidence of this earlier age still exist and are part of the current museum tour: the Casa Anatta, built in 1902, was the colony founder’s residence, the Casa Selma was built as a typical light-and-air-cottage, the wood pavilion Chiaro Mondo dei Beati was built on the foundations of the former solarium and houses the huge 1923 mural of the same name by Elisar von Kupffer.
The hotel building was designed in the Bauhaus style by Emil Fahrekamp in 1927 and renovated in 2008:
In 1926, banker Eduard von der Heydt learned of the earlier commune. After he acquired the legendary mountain, he had Düsseldorf architect Emil Fahrenkamp (1885–1966) build a hotel in the Bauhaus style in 1928 and furnished it with part of his East-Asian art collection. An accessible flat roof, low, extending loggias and large window fronts corresponded to the spirit of Modern architecture of the time. They also met the sanatorium culture’s ideas concerning light, fresh air and hygiene. The hotel again drew an international clientele to the legendary hill. Heydt’s last will and testament left the entire complex to the Canton of Ticino in 1964. In 1989, the Ticino parliament transferred ownership to a foundation (Fondazione Monte Verità) created for that purpose, which in turn made the rooms available to the ETH Zurich for seminars.
A new lecture hall and restaurant according to the plans of Ticino architect Livio Vacchini (1933–2007) were added. In 2007/08, the only hotel building still in the original style of the ‘Neues Bauen’ in Switzerland was professionally restored with support of international experts. All of the building materials as well as the furniture in the guest rooms have been restored and modernised. (Sources: www.swiss-historic-hotels.ch)
The beautiful city, Ascona:
ARTODU is a Swiss online art gallery, supporting emerging artist mainly from Budapest, Hungary.
Beatrix Koch is an architect and urbanist who founded ARTODU and cares about culture, art and humanity.
Photo credit: Beatrix Koch and Peter Horvath
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