The "Haus im Wald"

Else Kröner-Fresenius-Stiftung (EKFS) inaugurated this new house in Schmitten for work and seminars on May 15, 2024.
Landhaus von Eduard Fresenius um 1937

The foundation has rebuilt the “House in the Woods” as a retreat and work venue for scientists. The new building provides space for smaller seminar groups, a temporary opportunity where research scientists can retreat to, and acts as a memorial in remembrance of the foundation’s benefactor. 

Throughout her life Else Fernau, subsequently Kröner, had strong ties to the community in the Taunus region and to what used to be the hunting lodge and weekend house belonging to her surrogate father, Eduard Fresenius. As a child she spent part of her vacations in Schmitten. As a young woman she experienced the end of the war there. Later on she frequently took her children on vacations at the country home. Towards the end of her life, this house in the woods even became her main residence.

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Image: Aus der Ruine im Wald soll wieder das Haus im Wald werden.

Open House Day

EKFS celebrated the inauguration of the new work and seminar building in Schmitten on May 15, 2024 together with the residents of Schmitten and all others with an interest in the site. 

All visitors were invited to view the two apartments where research scientists in the field of medicine can retreat to the tranquility of the woods in Schmittener Wald to think about and work on publications. In the house’s area for seminars, a day-long program offered items on the agenda at hourly intervals. Topics included the architecture and use of the house, as well as the foundation’s work. 

Impressions from the inauguration and more information here.
 

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More information about the construction:

The plan for the new building involving its new usage was presented to the municipal administration of Schmitten in 2018 and led to initiation of the planning process for a project-related land-use plan.  Although the feedback from the residents of Schmitten was very positive, a citizens’ initiative was formed whose concerns the foundation attempted to allay in the course of several planning steps.

On August 31, 2020 EKFS presented a new architectural concept along with modification of the zoning concept for rebuilding the “Haus im Wald”. The newly developed land-use draft took into account the wishes that had been expressed vis-à-vis the foundation to align the new house more strongly to the appearance of the original weekend and vacation lodge belonging to Else Kröner and to prevent the endangering of forest birdlife due to large glass surfaces.

At their session held on February 10, 2021, the municipal representatives unanimously adopted the land-use plan for development, irrespective of divides across all parties concerned.

The lower building control authority for the Hochtaunus regional administration granted the demolition permit for the remnants of the house in May 2021. Demolition occurred on July 8, 2021. On the part of that same regional administrative body, the building permit for new construction had equally been granted in May 2021. The urgent motion against the granted permits filed by BUND, the German Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation, was denied by the Administrative Court in Frankfurt am Main on February 7, 2022. The same applied to the appeal against denial filed with the Administrative Court for the State of Hessen in Kassel. Construction commenced in the summer of 2022. The first step was to construct the supply systems and pipelines, then the actual building. Around seven months after breaking ground, the shell of the “Haus im Wald” had been completed and the roof truss positioned. EKFS celebrated this important progress in construction with a topping-out ceremony on December 7, 2022 together with all of those involved in the construction project. More information here.

The completion of the new building took place in May 2024.