Thorsten Pofahl

Thorsten Pofahl


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At the turn of the century people came in droves to the sanatoria, which were partly Grand Hotels, and partly Hospitals. Diseases to cure were tuberculosis, asthma, heart failure, diabetes and the bustle of city life. The sanatorium was not just a spot that promised relief, but also a place that became a playground for the high society. Through the ages the romantic image of the sanatorium gave way to a streamlined health care system.

An example of this development is the Region Harz in the center of Germany. The charming landscape already inspired Heinrich Heine to relax. In the second half of the 20th Century, various reasons led to the decline of the region and its sector of health.

Today, the phenomenon of social- and labor-related exhaustion gets in the focus of public attention. Neurasthenia, a disease already diagnosed in ancient Greece, is reinterpretated in the buzz word "Burn Out".

The project provides cure by transferring the patient from the performance-oriented, urban society to a timeless, natural environment. The conscious decision to seek for treatment is a retreat, but not into solitude. The patient derives comfort from a community of fellow sufferers. It is the combination of therapy and structured daily routine that helps the patient to break with daily routines and expectations.

The project combines all functions under one roof. It embodies both cohesion and equality of the patients. The longhouse carves in the hill, its clear cubature sets itself apart from on the unspoilt nature. The patient stays in the protected interior of the Sanatorium, the facade can be manipulated in multiple ways to both provide shelter and to confront the residents with the spot. The rooms vary from private to community, from panoramic views to insights into the dense forest.

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