Tecta Factory and Hexenhaus

Alison and Peter Smithson, Lauenförde, 2003


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Steps up to the porch at the Hexenhaus 

Peter Smithson     Download Original

  • Steps up to the porch at the Hexenhaus    
  • The first porch -     
  • Later addition to first porch    
  • Entrance porch to the house, added in 1998    
  • View through     
  • Lattice bars shape the occupant    
  • Segments of the green world of the Hexenhaus    
  • River bank window    
  • One addition in the grounds of hte Hexenhaus is this thatched, skylit tea house (1997). It takes advantage of an existing terrace on the sloping site    
  • The Hexenbesenraum (1991-96) - an aerial observatory - stands high among the trees. An inclined bridge connects it to the Hexenhaus    
  • View through glazed floor of Hexenbesenraum    
  • Entrance to factory with overscaled replica of Mart Stam chair    
  • The stainless steel fascia forms a ribbon around the Tecta factory building    
  • The factory in the landscape    
  • Yellow look-out in the courtyard    
  • View of Tecta    
  • Panorama Porch    
  • Axel    
  • Peter Smithson    
  • Layered view across the Tecta courtyard    
  • Hexenhaus plan    
  • Tecta plan    
  • Watercolour axonometric of Hexenbesenraum    
  • Axonometric of the weaving room porch    
  • Axonometric of the factory, with     
  • The Hexenhaus before work began    
  • Lorenzo Wong    

Series of additions by Alison and Peter Smithson to a house and factory in Germany, transforming the two buildings and linking them to their respective sites

Beginning in the mid 1980s, Tecta factory owner Axel Bruchhäuser commissioned Alison and Peter Smithson to design a series of additions and alterations to both his factory and his house. When he died in 2003, Peter Smithson was still working on the museum for Bruchhäuser’s furniture collection.

At the heart of the interventions is a wish to connect the buildings more intimately, more directly, with their contrasting landscapes - the meadow and courtyard of the Tecta factory, and the wooded slopes of the Bad Karlshafen house, the Hexenhaus. On both sites, the project includes numerous additions and subtractions to the existing buildings, such as porches, openings in walls, floors and roofs, garden pavilions and bridges.

The work proceeded speculatively, without a final vision for either the factory or the house. The result is a gradual transformation of the buildings and their relation to the landscape, not just a series of pragmatic additions. The phrase that both Smithson and Bruchhauser used to describe this ongoing process was ‘step-by-step’. ‘All the changes are initiated by Axel’ says Smithson. ‘They all stem from a problem he has identified, or an observation he has made.’


  • Begun: 1984
  • Completed: 2003
  • Sectors: House, Industrial
  • Address: Lauenförde, Germany

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