The sanatorium for lung patients near Oranienburg was erected step by step from 1896 to house 200 patients’ beds for men. Built by the Red Cross Association for Public Sanatoriums in an austere style characteristic of hospital buildings, the sanatorium was financed by donations and, in 1920, acquired by the Regional Insurance Office of Brandenburg. Its initial director was the chief medical consultant Dr Schultes. Since then the sanatorium has, without reducing the scale of its operations, been entirely rebuilt following architectural plans drawn up by, and built under the management of, the government’s master architect Arnold Beschoren of Berlin.
The task of the institute is to provide medical treatment for tubercular men from lower Germany while allowing them to continue residing in the hard climate of their former and future places of residence. The treatment is designed to cure not only mildly ill, but also seriously and incurably ill people who are confined to the institute on a continuous voluntary basis as so-called parole patients. To this end, also from an architectural point of view, it is necessary to provide the patients with sanguinity and homelike comforts while constantly adapting measures in line with the disposable, but often limited, funding, and without indulging insured patients who are accustomed to modest living conditions.
Buildings and interior fittings should, on the one hand, comply with the latest standards required for the treatment of tuberculosis. On the other hand, they should be suited for conditions required by other types of curative treatment in anticipation of the hoped-for end of the epidemic.
For this reason, everything is unostentatious and designed with the aim of facilitating the management of the sanatorium. The functional form of the groundplan and structure is clearly arranged, with colours and details combining into an art form which blends seamlessly into the scenery of the forest park around the languorous Grabowsee lake, and which stands aloof, having overcome the fear of the bacillus and evinced trust in the sun as the giver and sustainer of life while avoiding any artistic falsehood.
To this end, the colour scheme has been developed from the outset on the basis of Ostwald’s colour encoding system. The entire institute is made of building components and comprises interior fittings which are arranged in accordance with the character of their materials. The colour scheme consists of tones which are never dull, but invariably vivid, combined partly with achromatic shades such as white, grey or black, and partly with distinctly colourful shades to create a deliberate contrast. In order to establish coherency throughout the buildings, one colour shade is applied on each floor using a proportional range of the colour circle in each case; this colour shade is given special emphasis in public areas and provides a point of reference for the shades of colour applied similarly to other rooms on each floor of the building.
Although the building project is not yet complete, it is advanced enough for the institute to accommodate over 400 patients’ beds and 150 beds for staff.
Among people working on the construction, the architect Max Kobro oversaw the overall management of the project, while the architect Kochruebe was in charge of planning, and the master workman Kubowitz in charge of the site.
From the patients’ rooms, rooms for recumbent resting and day rooms situated on the southern façade of the South Building seen here on the right, one can look out across the extensive south park, which was designed in the fashion of traditional English gardens, to the Grabowsee lake with its surrounding forests. The enclosed corridors connecting buildings all around the courtyard enable patients to go on prolonged walks even when the weather is extremely cold.