Origin and restorationThe original Villa Waldfrieden was a house built in 1894 on extensive grounds that Kurt Herberts, the paint manufacturer, bought in 1940. It was destroyed by air strikes on Barmen in 1943. Immediately after the war, Kurt Herberts commissioned Franz Krause with its reconstruction on the foundations of the intact souterrain level. He valued Krause for the “originality of his chain of thoughts”. Over the course of planning, the owner was won over to the experiment of “reciprocal” architecture and thus for a new building altogether and took part in this unconventional way of planning the house. Except for the specification that the old basement level be incorporated, he allowed the architect free rein. Krause developed the singular organic form of the building in correspondence with three dynamic factors: following the movements of the human body, the grounds’ natural surroundings and the incident angle of daylight. In 2006 Tony Cragg purchased the estate that included the villa listed as an historic building but which had undergone a long vacancy. The issue was not only to restore the villa, but reinterpret it so as to make it a living element of the Sculpture Park. This transformation could not fall into better hands than those of the sculptor himself and his workshop. Thanks to the highest respect for the architect’s original formal experiment, the residence — tailored to the owner and his family and now in disrepair — has now been transformed into an active center of the park.
While the sculpture that has settled in around the property also opens our eyes to the sculptural quality of the house’s volumes, the spare furnishings in the rooms conform to their new usage. The villa contains the archive of the Cragg Foundation, its administrative offices and Tony Cragg’s study. Cultural events take place on the ground floor, while the Cragg Foundation reserves the upper storey for its guests. Organizers and the hosts of conferences and events can rent the rooms in the house for their purposes. Meanwhile the building is regularly open to visitors for guided tours.