Greiz to Oelsnitz


Spotted in Elsterberg

More pleasant cycling in woods and across fields. It is really very pretty – apple blossom, half-timbered village buildings, undulating hills. Plauen looked interesting from the saddle – it’s Whit Sunday today, so the town was quiet enough for me to raise my eyes from the tarmac.

My after-dinner walk uncovered no architectural gems in Oelsnitz’s grid of streets. The town is at the eastern end of the dammed Elster valley:


What is it about this part of the world and its embrace of contemporary architecture in the 20th century? Not only do you have all these Jugendstil houses, but it was the state of Thuringia that originally invited the Bauhaus school to Weimar. I’ve seen the Villa Esche in Chemnitz by Henri van der Velde and the later Haus Schminke by Hans Scharoun in Löbau, and there are plenty of others.

Perhaps it was simply the timing: German industrialisation took off at the end of the 19th/beginning of the 20th century. The chemical, textile and engineering manufacturers who could afford these houses maybe wanted the latest styles to emphasise their modernity and break with the Gründerzeit. It reminds me of Bassett-Lowke, who was much taken with German modernity.

Anyway, here’s Haus Schminke (1933) from last year. It was so odd to see it all on its own in suburbia.

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