The Sanatorium Dr. Barner was founded by Dr. Friedrich Barner in 1900 in Braunlage in the Harz region as a clinic for internal medicine and psychotherapy. Dr. Barner was one of the first physicians to advocate the association between body and mind, in line with a holistic approach to medicine. The friendship between Friedrich Barner and architect Albin Müller, who visited the sanatorium regularly as a patient from 1903 onwards, was of defining significance for the building, which has been preserved in detail to this day. In 1905, the redesign of the entrance hall with the doctor’s waiting room, the furnishing of Villa am Walde and the construction of an elevated wooden hut formed the start of a long and intensive design cooperation. This culminated in 1912/14 with the extension of the middle house and its complete interior decoration.
Today, Sanatorium Dr. Barner, a specialist clinic for psychosomatic medicine and psychotherapy, is considered one of the most significant preserved Art Nouveau buildings in Germany and documents with its unique integrity 100 years of sanatorium culture and the history of medicine. As a synthesis of the arts, almost unaltered inside and out, the sanatorium provides a precise representation of the high quality of interior design and decorative arts during the late phase of Darmstadt Art Nouveau.
In 2007, David Chipperfield Architects Berlin was appointed to develop a masterplan for the restoration and refurbishment of the sanatorium. The masterplan promoted continuous maintenance and gentle repairs, to ensure both the preservation and uninterrupted use of the buildings. Based on a comprehensive restoration strategy, which establishes the principal conservation guidelines, the masterplan provides an overview of all necessary measures. An admission to the ‘Conservation Fund for Cultural Monuments of National Significance’ under the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media was granted in 2009 to ensure a continuous implementation of these measures. As part of this programme, coherent construction phases have been planned and implemented annually since 2010 in accordance with the conservation masterplan.
The Sanatorium Dr. Barner was awarded an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage / Europa Nostra Award 2018 in the conservation category. The EU Prize explicitly recognises the careful treatment of the architectural monument in conjunction with the uninterrupted use of the ensemble as a hospital.