Kelly ship in heavy seas
The Schminke House in the mirror of the Twentieth Century

Frank Seibel

How beautiful this house is! How cheerful, light, light, clear - and practical. The Schminke House in the small Saxon town of Löbau in the south-eastern tip of Germany is one of the world's most important and most beautiful private houses from the Classic Modern era. A medium-sized family of entrepreneurs, the pasta manufacturer Fritz Schminke and his wife Charlotte, had it built in the early 1930s by one of the most extraordinary modernist architects: Hans Scharoun.

Anyone who sees this house will immediately see why the locals have always affectionately called the most unusual house in the city and far beyond "pasta steamer". And whoever enters it involuntarily forgets that they are coming into contact with something that many people find rather strange: modern art. That's why people from many countries come here to experience fireworks of ingenious ideas: ship's railings and portholes, door handles that you can open with your hands full, one of the first fitted kitchens, windows through which children could crawl in and out while playing. And rooms that catch every ray of light. The times in which it was conceived and animated were eventful and contradictory. The Schminke house is fascinating, and the history of this house and the people who created it and lived in it is incredibly multifaceted, large and by no means without contradictions.

Shining Ship in Heavy Seas will not and cannot be more than an introduction and guide that opens doors to a world of yesterday that is still incredibly relevant today and whose cultural power is still trend-setting today. However, here too individual, social and political dramas become visible, as they shaped Germany in the twentieth century. Bold dreams for the future and social utopias stand alongside personal and comprehensive catastrophes, victories alongside defeats, hopes alongside disappointments.

The book presents the architecture, the architect and the life stories of the entrepreneurial family from Upper Lusatia and is an invitation to experience this monument of modern art for yourself.

2017, edition Sächsische Zeitung, Zittau
88 Pages, Broschur
German/English (bilingual)
ISBN 978-3-00-053995-4

  • Vorwort, S. 4
  • Ein Juwel in der Provinz, S. 6
  • Die Zeit zwischen beiden Weltkriegen, S. 12
  • Die Bauherren-Familie, S. 16
  • Der Geist der Zeit und die Suche nach dem idealen Haus, S. 22
  • Grundfragen des Wohnens, S. 26
  • Pluralismus der Moderne, S. 28
  • Der Architekt: Hans Scharoun, S. 32
  • Die Entstehung des Hauses, S. 46
  • Der „Nudeldampfer“, S. 50
  • Ein Lichtschiff für Kinder, S. 56
  • Einfach raffiniert, S. 58
  • Der Garten, S. 62
  • Aufbruch und Umbruch, S. 64
  • Leben im Nationalsozialismus, S. 66
  • Das bunte Haus in der braunen Ära, S. 72
  • Nach dem Krieg, S. 76
  • Neustart und getrennte Wege, S. 78
  • Das Löbauer Haus nach der Ära Schminke, S. 82
  • Und was wurde aus der Nudelfabrik?, S. 86
  • Quellen/Bildnachweis/Impressum, S. 88

  • Frank Seibel