Schulenburg Mansion

The plan to restore the Schulenburg Mansion in Gera was established in 1996. The private owner of the house, a psychiatrist, was committed to returning the residence of the successful textile tycoon, orchid grower and art collector Paul Schulenburg to its original splendour. Everything, from its detailed exterior to the finely crafted interiors, wall coverings and furniture, has been restored.

Schulenburg Mansion, Gera, GERMANY

The Schulenburg Mansion was built in 1914 by Henry van de Velde. The Belgian-Flemish neo-impressionist painter, architect and designer was the founder of the Grand-Ducal School of Arts and Crafts, the predecessor of the Bauhaus. In this function, he spent a large part of his career in Germany, especially in Thuringia. The entire home, including the wallpapers and furniture, the silverware and the park were designed by van de Velde.

By the time the current owner purchased the house, it had stood empty for close to a decade and was at risk of falling into disrepair. In collaboration with the owner, the design for the restoration of the building was undertaken by Kappler-Architekten. This included a survey of the existing building and art-historical research. It took a decade to fully restore the façade and interiors. The water and electricity lines were modernised and seamlessly incorporated.

Schulenburg Mansion, Gera, GERMANY

An uncompromising commitment to the highest level of traditional craftsmanship was assured with the expertise of local craftsmen. They restored the stonework and parquet flooring and, in some rooms, wall coverings were re-woven based on small samples. The upholstery and metalwork were reconstructed based on old photographs.

It took two years to restore the original garden structure, an effort supported by the City of Gera. The large park impresses with 110-year-old yew hedges and linden trees, a magnificent rose lined pergola and plants chosen according to historical documents. A popular spot in the garden is the pavilion that allows visitors to enjoy the early sun of spring and an unobstructed view on the rear of the ensemble.

Today, the museum Haus Schulenburg hosts a large collection of art and books. A café is now located in the former garage and a small Cabaret stage and auditorium as well as rooms for seminars and weddings are also now available.


The Awards’ Jury stated:  “The restoration project of the Schulenburg House in Gera stands as a shining example for the conservation of 20th-century architecture. The long-term endeavour also showcases the pivotal role of engaged private owners in heritage conservation. By returning dignity to the house and remaining faithful to its original design, including the garden and furnishings, the project honours its architectural legacy. Ambitiously comprehensive, it meticulously considered materials and maintained coherence with the building’s aesthetic, spanning interiors, furniture, and the garden. Notably, the decision to avoid overcleaning ensures the preservation of its historical integrity. Furthermore, its positive impact on the surrounding community demonstrates the transformative potential of conservation in fostering cohesion”.

Contact: Dr. Volker Kielstein, Henry van de Velde – Museum Haus Schulenburg | |