TOPAZ Issue 2 / 2001
The World Mosaic of Sound
A Template Seminar Centre
Design for an Animal Sanctuary
The Science of Intelligence
A curious examination in physics... or evidence of spiritual intelligence?
Film Review - Chocolat
Immunity boosters
Desiderius Erasmus
The Refuge Garden

A Residential Centre in Germany for the Future-Minded

The Seminar Centre of Palette M, an educational charity, is located in a rural area in the western part of Germany, and was specifically established to support projects and researches across a range of various arts and skills, nationally and internationally, in a pursuit of establishing new concepts and templates for various areas of life. Part of the vision that brought this centre into reality was the wish to create a supportive environment for gatherings, where people could meet to develop and further their projects. Three volunteers of Palette M tell the promising story of its founding and development to date.

The Concept

In 1998, a group of friends from various professions and skills met over a long weekend renting a small house in the countryside. They were able to identify a need for various projects - ranging from science and music to human development - to have a place where they could gather to exchange and further their work. They felt that this needed an ecology which allowed a continuous process, a residential facility where people could meet for a whole weekend, a week or longer, similar to the house they were renting but larger and with a more specific design. The idea of purchasing a suitable place was born.

The Realisation

The idea for this facility was presented to other friends, and whilst some started to search for a place, others started to write a constitution for a society which was then registered as Palette M. The financing of this facility came from members' donations and fundraising, and most members offered their time to help with the renovation. In April 1999, a former hotel in the area called Westerwald was bought with the support of the local authority.

Thus began 12 months of hard work, with assistance from all parts of the network, converting an empty building into a well-designed and equipped seminar facility with 90% of the work completed by volunteer labour.

When the house was bought, half of it (600 sqm) was a shell, without electricity, heating, windows, inside walls, or a cement flooring. 90% of all this work was done by members volunteering their skills, time, money and efforts.

The Facility in Use

After the main building work was finished, the centre began to be used for local and international gatherings and seminars. Because of the many different and varied activities, the centre needed rooms designed to support this range, from musical workshops to philosophical forums, from dance and movement to children's education.

The challenge of designing this centre prompted questions such as: How do you design a room which supports mental focus and intensity? Or a room that supports rest and regeneration? Which plants in the house or garden create an atmosphere compatible with the purpose of the centre? Which colours, forms, materials, arrangements? These researches and developments continue today, with good practical results.

The First Events

Over the course of the last year, alongside continuous local events, the Seminar Centre in Germany has supported public workshops on stress management, quality improvement in life, as well as international workshops for women, musical gatherings, art and design workshops, educational seminars and more.

We are proud of this new facility and grateful to all those who have played a part in its creation.

Sabine and Thomas Bexte and Claudia Schubert,
Management Team for the Seminar Centre, Rodenbach, Germany.

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