Schwarzatal, Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz

Future away from the metropolises

Parts of the rural areas in Thuringia are strongly affected by population decline. And yet, people, especially from big cities, are looking for new retreats for temporary living and working exactly here. The Schwarzatal with its historical architecture and characteristic landscapes offers a lot of potential for this.

In a side valley of the Schwarza river stands the Haus Döschnitz, built around 1700: once the home of the Böttner brewery family, it later served as a refuge for refugees and displaced persons, as the seat of the local spa administration, or most recently as the mayor's office and local museum. Website Haus Döschnitz e.V. 

In 2018, the half-timbered building was opened for a trial living season and was named an IBA project. The careful and cost-effective renovation of a holiday apartment on the upper floor, considering the historical building fabric, is exemplary for dealing with the existing building stock and vacancy in the region.

Schwarzatal Eröffnung Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz_Foto Dörthe Hagenguth
Before the establishment of the association Haus Döschnitz e.V., the Sommerfrische house was rented out online as accommodation for a year. Picture: Dörthe Hagenguth

 As a result of this interim use, the association was founded in 2020 and has since developed the historic building into a place of the future, away from the metropolises: a community space for groups to temporarily live and work between the city and the countryside, which radiates beyond the region. In addition, it is a space that opens up to the local community and promotes social and democratic coexistence on site through recurring programmatic impulses. The association's work is thus specifically linked to the activities and goals of the ›Resiliente Region Schwarzatal‹ initiative, which is supported by, among others, the IBA Thuringia.

With a regional thinking and action approach, the association combines ecologically and resource-efficient building of the listed building with new forms of cooperative living. Communal values, spatial qualities, and the diversity of one's own resources can be rediscovered and interconnected directly from the region. Over the past two years, this has resulted in a series of usage and construction formats, which, for example, made exploring, experimenting, and building with sustainable materials and regional resources possible in the context of university summer school programs and workshops, in cooperation with the Natural Building Lab at the Technical University of Berlin and the Department of Monument Preservation at Brandenburg Technical University Cottbus-Senftenberg in 2022. In close cooperation between self-performance and external services, a new communal kitchen with a dining area, sanitary facilities, and a sustainable heating concept will be created by the summer of 2023. Architecture students at the Technical University of Berlin have also developed initial designs for a ›shelter‹: a simple accommodation for guests, which will be realized as a prototype of a resource-efficient new building on the premises in the coming years.

Haus Döschnitz 2022_Foto Johann Husser
As a collective of architects, conservationists, and cultural scientists, among others, the association is dedicated to renovation and restoration work, and makes the project process public. Picture: Johann Husser
Haus Doeschnitz zum Tag der Sommerfrische 2022_Foto Johann Husser.jpg
The non-profit organization Haus Döschnitz has 25 members who come from various fields including architecture, historic preservation, urban planning, as well as arts and cultural studies. Together with the local community, particularly the Kirmes and Dorfverein, they have organized several events over the past years such as the ›Tag der Sommerfrische‹ and a temporary outdoor cinema, which promote everyday exchange and the common good in the community and region. Picture: Johann Husser

In 2020, Haus Döschnitz, like Haus Bräutigam in Schwarzburg, was transferred to the special fund StadtLand Thüringen. As a result, the historical building remains in the hands of the association via a land lease, while the property belongs to the trias foundation and is removed from the real estate market for 99 years. The non-profit association "Haus Döschnitz" is interdisciplinary in the fields of architecture, monument preservation, urban planning, as well as art and cultural studies, and has a total of 25 members from Berlin, Leipzig and Weimar. Together with the local community, especially the fair and village association, numerous events such as the ›Tag der Sommerfrische‹ (Day of Summer Refreshment) and a temporary open-air cinema have already been organized in recent years, promoting everyday exchange and the common good in the community and region.


Ortsstraße 9a
07429 Döschnitz


IBA Project Manager

Ulrike Rothe


Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz im IBA Finale 2023
Kinobus ¡ANDA! auf Tour im Schwarzatal und der Region Seltenrain
Betreiberwechsel bei IBA Projekt Döschnitz
Sondervermögen StadtLand Thüringen startet mit zwei Grundstücken im Schwarzatal
Architekturpreis für das Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz
Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz wird IBA Projekt
Sommerfrische Haus Döschnitz wird IBA Kandidat

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