The forecourt in the 1930's

Historical Reconstruction of the Park of the Villa Henckel in Potsdam

Client: Jointly owned property Dr. Döpfner/Kexel/Epstein
Commission: Study to Site Supervision
Size: approx. 13,500 m²
Duration: since 2009

Around 1870 the banker Henckel built a house topped by a tower and surrounded by a park located next to the Royal Belvedere on the Hill of Pfingstberg. The park was designed by the gardener Hermann Vollert and Gustav Meyer, the most illustrious student of Peter Joseph Lenné and director of parks and gardens in Berlin.

In 2004 we established a historic development concept for the restoration of parts of the park located around the villa belonging to a group of three owners (cf. projects > studies > Villa Henckel) – the rest of the park which stretched behind on nearly 5 acres being managed by the Donation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens Berlin-Brandenburg (SPSG). Based on this study, we have been leading the historical reconstruction of the gardens since 2009.

During the construction, it turned out that several meters of embankments covered the network of pathways and elements such as retaining walls, ponds and waterfall. They were gradually cleared off, and protected before being restored.

On the valley side, in the backside of the villa and overlooking the main entrance used to be a large terrace supported by walls. After the war, the mineral terrace was leveled and grassed over; the overhang was filled in by rubble coming from the ruins of Potsdam. Clearing away quickly became a priority in the conduct of business: Not only did the rubble bury the terrace, hiding the subtle transition to the park, but they also altered the topographical game, which allowed access to the lower parts of the park. Reconnaissance surveys have revealed that the structure of the retaining wall had been preserved, so it was decided to clear it off and restore it.

Given the large size of the park, its restoration will take several years, including conservation measures and the thinning out of the vegetation located on the Donations property. This is the necessary price to be paid in order to present to the public the last of the existing private gardens created by Gustav Meyer in Potsdam in all its regional and socio-historical significance.