Following an evaluation of its activities to date, the Foundation is committed to bringing a sharper focus to its support and promotion activities in public urban spaces. These activities can be assigned to the individual core themes of the Foundation – light, green or developed space - or simultaneously to more than one of these themes.

Bourgeois gardens in Arnsberg

The town of Arnsberg has purchased two dilapidated classicist summerhouses built in the period from 1822 to 1850 together with the surrounding grounds and in this way preserved them from falling further into ruin and eventual demolition.

Historic gardens and summerhouses in Arnsberg


The two houses are among the last of their kind from this period in Westphalia.


The „Scape” landscape architects firm from Düsseldorf was commissioned by the town of Arnsberg to conduct an in-depth review of the developmental options for the gardens together with their houses in 2007. The findings of this review underline the major potential of the location.

One of the key findings of the study is that the properties and unique heritage character which the gardens and their summerhouses represent – as well as the way in which landscape and garden culture were understood at the time they were created – are still clearly visible today. With its other classicist buildings and their well-preserved summerhouses that have been expertly restored in line with the protected building regulations, this architectural ensemble is a „one of a kind” anywhere in the Westphalia.


The people of Arnsberg strongly support the restoration of the summerhouses. More than 100 people came to the two construction site inspections on July 29, 2008 and August 12 to find out about the progress of restoration work (see newspaper article). The Ruhrtalradweg cycle path used by over 10,000 cycling tourists every year runs along the western side of the summerhouses. There are plans to install bicycle parking facilities at the entrances to the gardens. This will ensure that high numbers of visitors to the town not only cycle past the grounds but also stop to take a closer look at the summerhouses.


In July 2008, the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe (LWL) named the two summerhouses the „historic buildings of the month”.


The restoration and subsequent garden design projects are being financially supported by various parties. Without the support of the „Lebendige Stadt” Foundation, the Southern Westphalia Chamber of Trade, the LWL and the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Construction and Transport, it would not have been possible to implement this project.


Restoration of the historic "Twiete" and "Arme Schulschwestern" summerhouses


The summerhouses are timber-framed and faced with slate – as is typical for the region. Both houses have their doors on the eastern side and therefore invite visitors in the garden higher up to approach and take a look inside. From the threshold, the onlooker has a view of the garden, a scenically landscaped piece of nature.


The restoration of the summerhouses was completed in October 2008, and work is now beginning on the gardens. The aim is to achieve a restrained reinterpretation of the original design intentions, which can still be partially recognized.


The idea (see Annex) is to restore the dense cluster of trees on the edge of the slope; free-growing hedges will divide the grounds into three sections: the „Twiete” summerhouse, the „Arme Schulschwestern” summerhouse and the sloping garden with viewing platform. The lines of sight to the former live-in houses will be underscored by the removal of any interfering vegetation. The summerhouses with their splendid shrub beds mark the end of the garden paths.


The garden fragments will be designed in accordance with the assumed design of the original gardens. The „Twiete” garden will be elegant and open-plan, while the „Arme Schulschwestern” garden will be more intimate, with an extended garden plateau with just a few paths, lawn areas, ornamental bushes and shrub beds.


Support for the project from the „Lebendige Stadt” Foundation


The financial support of the „Lebendige Stadt” Foundation makes it possible to devote special attention to the access paths into the gardens and the layout of the paths. They are an important part of the overall concept and will be routed in keeping with the historic nature of the gardens. The surface of the paths will be in mastic asphalt with beige-colored chipping; the paths themselves will be lined with natural stone.


The steps to the „Arme Schulschwestern” summerhouse will also be made of natural stone and enclosed in an oval ante-space. The entrance area will soon boast a high-quality plaster surface – using stones from the river bed, for example – that does justice to the historic setting.