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Article about Reinhard Coppenrath written by:


“Organic architecture is not a matter of form, it is a social attitude and an inner approach.” R. Coppenrath

In the last century, we have seen the work of great architects from the organic movement like Frank Lloyd Wright, Hans Scharoun, Alvar Aalto, Jorn Utzon, Anton Gaudi and others. And, if we look back, we can see that some of the most powerful buildings of the 20th century like the Guggenheim Museum, Fallingwater, Sagrada Familia and Sydney Opera House were growing out of this organic impulse. This artistic impulse, born out of an inner source (or the architect’s inner being), always brought about new architectural forms as Nature herself. Also, a firm sense of the human being and the building’s function were crucial parts of the organic design process. These 3 important sources always play a key role: Site, Function and People. If the architect has a deep understanding of the physical and spiritual aspects of these 3 sources, then a truly holistic and organic architecture will arise.

Some people confuse the word Organic with ‘Green’ or ‘Sustainable’ design.  The organic architecture impulse is related to but not entirely the same as the green movement. The organic or intuitive impulse in architecture goes much deeper - beyond the materialistic strategies of the green movement - into the realm of the soul and the spirit. In a previous conversation, Coppenrath expressed:

“When an architect works with his/ her TRUE INNER INTUITION, which grows out of the essence of the place and the 3 main sources of architecture, then an architecture that is 'sustainable' or 'ecologically friendly' will automatically arise.  But even more importantly, it will touch our soul and make us feel truly alive! The ‘green’ movement is really just a collective human reaction to all the man-made destruction of our Earth.  You could call it some kind of awakening which needed to happen in our evolution. This is all a good thing. But, with what I call ‘Ecological Materialism’, we often lose ourselves in the commercial, consumer, materialistic aspects of the ‘Green Movement’ where we become much too focused on ‘green’ products or physical things (like passive heating/cooling technologies, solar panels, recycled materials etc) and then apply them to ‘deadening’ or lifeless architectural forms and strategies which are actually quite destructive for our soul and even our society. This ‘materialistic’ approach usually looks at architecture as a system of separate parts instead of a harmonious WHOLE, which is what Organic – ‘Situative’ – Intuitive Architecture aims to achieve. In fact, the organic intuitive approach never has any given rules or restrictive framework to follow. It is about how to find the certain soul of a place. You just need to follow your Inner Voice and learn how to listen to what Nature is telling you.”


“Organic Architecture is not about forms, it is an inner approach towards the essence of a unique situation.”

(Reinhard Coppenrath)

A situation consists of many factors: physical, social, economical, historical, psychological and spiritual etc. Coppenrath outlines that the architecture of the organic impulse mainly deals with 3 crucial factors: SITE (or NATURE/ CITY/ ENVIRONMENT), PEOPLE (or CLIENT) and FUNCTION. He describes this idea further in the following statements:

“We are now always trying an approach that is deeply connected to a specific condition. For example, local architecture grows out of a specific ecological, social, historical, cultural condition. It is not a prototype or ideal which is applied to any site, any country or any culture. It is truly Holistic and Organic. I NAME THIS SITUATIVITY (BEING AWARE OF THE SITUATION)”

He goes on further to say: “Organic – ‘Situative’ (Specific to the Situation) Architecture creates new Organisms, where one feels that everything is fitting together, like the stem, leaf and flower of a plant.  We create new WHOLES, which inspire and generate a new hope for the future. (Unlike 20th century architecture, which was mostly about a connection of contrasts and fragmented parts). This new architectural or organic impulse expresses in its forms and character, that unifying, co-operating and healing people and the earth is possible. Children love it. They get inspired to create a new world!”

Even Coppenrath’s own pedagogical method differs according to each situation that he is immersed in, whether it be in the city or countryside or whether he’s dealing with an individual, small or large group. Through listening and feeling out the situation, he uses improvisation combined with specific teaching tools that best suite the group or individual’s needs based on their character and dynamic.


The GENIUS LOCI is known as the protective spirit of a place. Ancient civilizations were very much in tune with this Spirit and then somewhere down the line of time, this sense was lost and civilization was pulled down into an age of ‘materialism’, where people accepted the physical world to be the only reality. But, just in the recent years, we are slowly developing the ability once again to sense the existence of the spiritual and energetic world in various ways. In addition, we are increasingly becoming aware of our inner knowledge (or intuition) that give us clues and guide us through the deeper questions about our life.

The architectural work and teachings of Reinhard Coppenrath and other architects working with the same impulse aim to create space around the practical and spiritual needs of human beings. These human needs are also related to the needs of the Spirit of the site. Coppenrath sees the building as a visual sculpture or expression of the Spiritual Being (or Spirit of the Site). He also believes that there is a Being that represents the Family, Group or Institution, which may be the initiators or future users of a building. Coppenrath says:

“It can be important to live in organically and intuitively designed houses, because they inspire us to have a new union with nature.  Nature herself, and the Spirit behind her, is an artist.  If we tune into her artistic impulse (through intuition and a higher level of consciousness) when we are making architecture, it brings us one step closer to developing a strong friendship with her. So Organic Architecture is about creating a place where the forms of the building are filled with the breath of life! In ancient times we truly felt that the building had a soul. We can now in a new way give buildings a soul again. The organic approach is a deep design process, which results in a deep co-operation with this planet and all the beings which exist within it.”

“I see the Building not as a destruction of the earth, but a Building in co-operation with the earth.  It is a joint act of Creation on the part of the Architect and Nature herself. In fact, Nature seeks this relationship with the human being! I can feel how willing SHE is, when I am on the ‘building’ site. Everybody has the capacity to feel the Spirit of Nature or Place, if she/he has the right inner attitude. Human beings have evolved. They are different now with new faculties, which can sense things beyond just the physical realm. Intuition, in fact, is one of the key organs that help us attain this new consciousness.”


“Everyday more people feel that life, pedagogy, agriculture, architecture even the management of a business should be intrinsic - motivated from the inside out not from the outside in, while at the same time maintaining a resonance with the reality of a given situation, context or surrounding.” (Reinhard Coppenrath)

A lot of the answers we seek about life and architecture are already within ourselves, within our inner being. The gift of INTUITION is like an inner knowledge or wisdom that architects can use to develop a higher consciousness about the work they do for individuals, society and the world at large. But, this intuitive process is by no means easy! It takes a lot of deep and hard work – sometimes joyful, sometimes painful. All human beings have this gift and can develop and strengthen this sense through various methods. The method that Coppenrath has developed called Practical Intuition for Architects, is about using intuition as a tool as a means of attaining a stronger consciousness about the act of making architecture for today’s world. He uses a variety of creative and effective design, consciousness, listening, meditation and movement exercises in order to achieve this goal. Also, instead of using ‘criticism’ as tool of teaching, Coppenrath tries to cultivate and unleash the individual’s creative potential along with his/her inner intuition through sensitivity, encouragement and support.


“A great architect is not made by way of a brain nearly so much as he is made by way of a cultivated, enriched heart.” (Frank Lloyd Wright)

As architects, when we are in tune with the ways of the heart, then a truly soulful and human architecture will arise. The heart is an incredibly powerful sense organ.  It has an enormous capacity to sense the WHOLENESS of life, while the brain is limited to analyzing things in parts. Research and experience shows that the heart also has the ability to sense spiritual forces as well as architectural or physical space.

The Organic Architecture Seminars – International Workshops are truly fun, joyful and exciting experiences that are genuinely good for the heart and soul! The intuitive design process, that Coppenrath teaches, also brings about an opening of the heart, almost automatically. The organ of intuition needs the human heart as a kind of vessel for channeling creative light and energy. You could say Intuition and the Heart are inseparable. Its no wonder that for centuries cultures have used these sayings of deep wisdom: ‘open your heart’ or ‘listen to your heart’. An overly intellectual, cerebral working style or outlook can restrict the Architect’s creative spirit from streaming into his/her work. The child, who goes through life with an extremely open heart, has no judgments about the world and because of this, their existence is filled with endless curiosity and creativity. Exploring and making architecture with an open heart is one of the biggest challenges and most important tasks of the architect today.