Our Sunday program started with a guided tour in Jachthuis (Hunting Lodge) Sint Hubertus. This ‘Jachthuis’ is designed by Berlage who worked for the couple Kröller-Müller. It was finished in 1920. The Kröller-Müllers used it as their country house, and later lived there permanently.
We started with a look at the outside of the building which is inspired by English country houses, but also has very specific characteristics, like the Tower. A tower is seen in most of Berlage’s work and was an explicit wish of the Kröller-Müller family. It offered a great view on the Veluwe, and the land that the couple owned, and at the same time it was a symbol of power. The garden, the paths, the contours of the pond and the small pavillion are designed by Berlage as well. The Jachthuis is a good example of a ‘Gesamtskunstwerk’, also in its interior. Berlage even designed the cutlery.
When entering the building you arrive in a rather dark hallway. It was designed like this on purpose so that when you entered the living room this would be in rays of (sun)light.
The glass stained window is not by a design of Berlage but has a strong symbolism that is connected to the symbolism of the house. Sint Hubertus was born in 665 and saw during one of his hunts a dear that wore a lighted cross between his antlers. Hubertus converted himself to Christianity, became a bishop and even became a saint, already in medieval times. The house itself carries out this symbolism in the plan of an antler, with the tower as the lighting cross.
Every item was designed and placed with extreme precise measures, as can be seen with the cupboard that has its feet exactly at a symmetrical tile on the floor.
In the living room Berlage created a ‘cassette’ plafond with bright colours. He worked with extreme geometric precision. Although normally his designs are rather rational and business-like, in the Jachthuis there is a lavish decoration in the design and the crafts used.
The precision of symmetry returns in the living room. Under the carpet there are no tiles but beton. In this way the set up of the dinner table could never be changed.
Gentlemen’s Smoking Room
The ladies room has a clever heating system, which was cool on this hot day. The chairs are very low because Helene was a small woman and she did not want people to look down upon her.
Working room Helene Müller
This room is a concession to Berlage’s oeuvre and asked by Helene to have a better view on the pond. It went against his idea of symmetry and caused a great fight. In the end the struggles between the couple and the architect stopped their cooperation and Henry van de Velde took over, to finish the job.
The fact that we can nowadays visit the house and the art collection (Kröller-Müller museum) is due to the fact that the Kröller-Müllers gave away their collection to the state when they were bankrupt (crisis of 1929 and dodgy business). They prevented creditors to sell their work at an auction and in this way it could be kept together and put into exhibition in a museum, that was already planned by the couple anyway. In exchange the state gave them a pension and allowed them to keep on living in the Jachthuis, while all there other properties were sold.