Gutshof Güldenhof is an arts center on a German farm

Sustainability, art and German farmhouse architecture meet at Gutshof Güldenhof

Germany’s Gutshof Güldenhof is an agricultural complex transformed into a hub for the arts, sustainability and social life, courtesy of Heim Balp Architekten and artist Danh Vo

The 18th-century Gutshof Güldenhof agricultural complex in Stechlin, Germany has been transformed into a 21st-century art complex by architecture studio Heim Balp Architekten. The project, a sensitive restoration, extension and overall refresh of a family of buildings, a former German farmhouse, was commissioned by owner, concept artist Danh Vo, who collaborated with Michael Heim, Pietro Balp and their team on the whole redesign and feel.

The social element was central to developing the right design solution in this reimagining of the abandoned complex. The client was keen to not only have a ‘thriving and active arts centre’, but he was also passionate about it being an example of sustainable living and social interaction. Accordingly, the design incorporates a selection of multifunctional areas, as well as residential, cultural and working facilities.

Today, the campus, approximately 5,000 m², includes art spaces, such as an art studio; spaces for exhibiting and storing works of art; and metal, ceramic and wood workshops. Much of the existing building fabric was retained, retaining the feel and patina of the resort, and additional areas were created using materials that felt appropriate to the general textures and colors – for example, corrugated metal and plywood.

A three-story mixed-use building sits in the center of campus. Inside is a mix of spaces that serve the social life of the place – with a kitchen at its heart – and expressions of Vo’s work, things that inspire him and his stories. “The many objects, plants, rugs that fill the room are a conscious form of storytelling,” explain the architects. The west barn and the east barn, two other distinct structures within the estate, provide space for ancillary spaces, such as storage and archives, for both art and raw material for workshops. Meanwhile, the North Stables provide a base for the sustainable farming and gardening that takes place here.

Art, functionality and nature come together at Gutshof Güldenhof. The architects say: “Inside and out, the architecture of the whole, a collage of spaces shaped by the artist, becomes the backdrop for the production and dissemination of art. §

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