Ilse Country House
The Ilse Country House (Landhaus Ilse) in Burbach was built in 1924 at the initiative of the engineer Willi Grobleben. With its square floor plan and functional division of the space, it strongly resembles the Haus Am Horn, which the painter Georg Muche had built as a model house in Weimar for the first Bauhaus exhibition in 1923. The Ilse Country House has been preserved in nearly unaltered form and hence is an important architectural document of the Weimar Republic. Moreover, it is the only known “offshoot” of the Weimar model house.
Grobleben moved to Burbach with his family in 1924 to take over as director of Westerwald Quarries. The house, named after his daughter, initially served as a guesthouse for the company. After it went bankrupt in 1927, the building, whose architect is unknown, was transferred to the Grobleben family in a settlement, which then used it as a residence.
Like Muche’s Haus Am Horn, the Ilse Country House is organized as a kind of atrium house. The living room is located in the center and is lit by a skylight. The other rooms are arranged around it. Apart from slight deviations in the position of the partition walls and door openings, the floor plans of both buildings are nearly identical. Unlike the Haus Am Horn, however, in Burbach several of the interior rooms are painted in bright colors. The design of the country house’s exterior, with hipped roof, case windows, and a yellow façade also deviates from the sober objectivity of the Bauhaus design.
When Ilse, who gave the home its name, died in 2000, the house, which in the meantime had been marred by Eternit cladding, remained in the family’s possession. It was subsequently acquired by Erika Wirtz. She discovered the similarity to the Haus Am Horn in Weimar, and the Ilse Country House was accordingly listed as a historical landmark in 2001. On her death, Erika Wirtz left the building to a grandchild of Konrad Adenauer and his wife, who donated it to the municipality of Burbach in 2016.
A renovation is currently planned with the help of the North Rhine-Westphalia Foundation and based on historical architectural documents. Thereafter, the Ilse Country House will be opened to the public. Cultural events and exhibitions are planned. [KS/HY]
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