The Architecture of Sans Souci Palace in Germany

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There was a peaceful palace names Sans Souci Palace but in Germany they called Schloss Sanssouci and it was located at Potsdam, near Berlin. This is an elapsed summer palace for Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. While Sans Souci more belongs to Rococo style. At the time, this is obviously smaller than its French Baroque counterpart and it too notable for the most temples and follies in the park. The Sans Souci Palace was designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff and it was built between 1745 and 1747. Why they built the Sans Souci Palace? The reason as a warrior-king, Frederick needs a private residence where he can relax, no need worry about the outside world. Then the name of the palace very interested. Actually this is a French phrase (Sans Souci), which translates as “without concerns”, means “no worries” or “carefree”, it means that the palace was a place for relaxation, leave your own worries behind as well.

Sans souci is a single-story villa, containing ten main rooms, this is little more than a large. It was built at the center of the park, on the brow of a terraced hill. Because personal taste of the King Frederick, all the design and decoration of the palace very beautiful, this type of design style was included “Frederician Rococo”. He wanted there can be “a place that would die with him”. From this sentences can see that his feelings for the palace so strong. In 1746, Knobelsdorff, the designer was fired because of a disagreement about the site of the palace in the park. After that, a Dutch architect was takeover the palace project. During the 19th century, Sans Souci palace became a residence of Frederick William IV. He employed the architectLudwig Persiusto restore and enlarge the palace, whileFerdinand von Arnimwas charged with improving the grounds and thus the view from the palace. [1]For the German imperial family, Sans Souci was a favorite’s place of residence before the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1918.

In East of Germany, Sans Souci became one of a sacred tourist attraction after World War II. Following the Germany reunification in 1990, Frederick’s body was returned back to the palace, buried in a previously prepared tomb overlooking the gardens that he had created. At the same time, Sans Souci list into the World Heritage Site by UNESCO. After 5 years, the Foundation for Prussian Palaces and Gardens in Berlin Brandenburg was established to protect for Sans Souci and the other former imperial palaces in and around Berlin. Now many visitors from all over the world will like come to these palaces, and the most visited attraction in Potsdam is the Palace Sans Souci, more than 2 million tourists a year.

Sans Souci has a beautiful garden, it was designed by Frederick. He was decided to build the grape hill with trapezoid on the hillside of south, in Bornstedt. Before that, in Frederick William I epoch, there was a hill full of oak but had chop down to build Potsdam city and reinforcement muddy on the marshes. In 1744, Frederick wanted reclaimed it to be a terrace vineyard. This slope has been divided to 6 trapezoid terraces. The walls became a micro-bow shape at the center to apply the sun rays. Some of the walls were replaced with the plant vines. All the plant vines were from Portugal, Italy and France. Inside the 168 glass globe, it was planted with the fig trees. In front the trapezoid terrace, there was filed with the green lawn. There also planted with the yew trees and the bush had been divided. At the central axis, there had 120 floors, trapezoid terrace divided into 6 parts. At the hill, there also build the hillside at the both sides.

In 1745, there was build a garden with the baroque style at foothills. But start from 1748, at the center of garden was building a tank with fountain. But unfortunately, Frederick never saw the proper functioning of fountain, because at that time they did not have a good skill in technology.

The pre-Romantic ideal of harmony between man and nature already reflected because of the location of Sans Souci. The terrace vineyard became the focal point of his demesne, crowned by the new, but small, palace —“mein Weinberghäuschen as Frederick called it, this is means my little vineyard house. Start from the end of April to the beginning of October was the summer months. Only the summer month was the most beautiful season for the San Souci palace. Every times, when Frederick stands at the top of the vineyard, he can saw the beautiful view of the countryside. Frederick wanted a place, he can enjoy and do what he loves to do and Sans Souci Palace was the best choice. On the hillside, there was a Sanssouci windmill and it was built at 1736. The windmill became a mark of the idyllic. Frederick said the windmill was embellishing his palace.

After 20 years build the Sanssouci, Frederick built the New Palace; in German they called Neues Palais. It was built in the western part of the park. This palace was far larger than Sanssouci and direct contrast to the relaxed behind Sanssouci. Frederick actually wanted use this palace to show his power and strength to the world. Frederick uses the Baroque style to build this palace. It demonstrate that Prussia’s capabilities were undiminished despite its near defeat in the Seven Year’ War through the design of the New Palace. Inside this palace, Frederick made no secret of his intention, showing off the new construction.

Frederick wanted to impress has led to the comparison of the palaces of Potsdam to Versailles from the concept of a grand palace with Sanssouci being thrust into the role of one of the Trianons. The palace, for which the whole park and setting were created, ignores the original merits of the concept behind Sanssouci from this analogy. Trianons was an afterthought to escape the larger place but New Palace not like that. A simple reason, the larger palace did not exist at the time of Sanssouci’s conception. However, Sanssouci was ready to be a private place, a place not for display of power, strength and architectural merit. Trianons was designed to be a whole unto itself, but Sanssouci different.

Sanssouci look small with the principal block being a narrow single-story enfilade of only ten rooms. There were including a service passage and staff rooms behind them. Knobelsdorff just a draughtsman, he draft the sketch more than complete architect. Frederick cannot accept any suggestions for alteration to his plans. He was refusing Knobelsdorff’s idea. Knobelsdorff wanted to add a semi-basement story, this will not only gave the provided service areas closer at hand, this also will give the palace not only a more commanding presence, but also would have prevented the problems of dampness to which was always been prone. However, what Frederick need was an intimate palace for living, like a simple house. For example, he wanted to enter the palace immediately form the garden, rather than scaling a large number of steps. He insisted the ground level of a building should be based on the hill. He wanted to make it became a private pleasure house. What he wanted was free style and nature, therefore his recurring theme and requirements for a house with close connections. Inside the principal rooms, the tall slender windows, face south over the vineyard gardens.

In the park, the Sanssouci Picture Gallery was located at east of the palace. It was built from 1755 to 1764 under the supervision of the architect Johann Gottfried Büring. Frederick rose about the tropical fruit, that’s why it was stand on the site of a former greenhouse. In Germany, the Picture Galley was the oldest extant museum built for a ruler. It was a long and low building, like the palace itself. It was also dominated by a central domed bow of three bays.

Neo-Classicism, a popular style in Europe, many buildings were using this type of architectural style, but Frederick ignored it. After Frederick was dead, the death of Frederick a new era began can clearly visible the style was change in architectural styles. During the reign of the new king Frederick William II, He ordered the construction of a new palace in the new style, more fashionable. Sometimes he will stay at Sanssoci only occasionally. The reception and bedrooms was retread and completely change immediately after Frederick’s death. Frederick William von Erdmannsdorff was received the commission for the all refurbishment. Although Frederick already constructing the New Palace in the Baroque style between 1763 and 1769, but Erdmannsdorff, an advocate of the new neo-classical style, had created Schloss Wörlitz in Wörlitz park. This is the first neo-classical palace in Germany. After that, Sanssouci became the first palace that been remodeled with the neo-classical interior in Potsdam and Berlin, because of his influence. In 1797, Frederick William II was succeeded by Frederick William III. [1] He had visited Sanssouci even less than his father. Normaly he will spend his summer months in Paretz Palace or the Pfaueninsel in Berlin.


There is no coincidence that Frederick used the Rococo style’s architecture for Sanssouci. In the early 18th century, the Rococo style appeared in France as a continuation for the Baroque style, contrast with heavier themes and the darker colours of Baroque, Rococo feature with an opulence, grace, lightness, and playfulness. Rather than heroic battles and religious figures, Rococo more focus about the carefree aristocratic life and lively romance. Being in harmony, this suited Frederick’s ideal design and natural. The palace was completed as Frederick’s imagined and sketches.

The palace has a single-storey principal block and the two flanking side wings. The wings were directly adjoined with the main building part. The building actually almost holds the entire upper terrace. The dome rising above the hipped roof, written down the name of the palace with a comma and a full stop—on it in the gilded bronze letters. That garden beside the secondary side wings, in front are screened by 2 symmetrical rows of trees. Each terminating in free-standing trellised gazebos, it was decorated with gilded ornaments.

In front the palace, there were some carved figures of Atlas and Caryatids. It was made by sandstone. These figures were put in pair between the windows, look like “they” were support the balustrade above. These figures of both sexes represent Bacchants, the companions of the wine god Bacchus, and originate from the workshop of the sculptor Friedrich Christian Glume. The vases on the balustrade and the groups of cherubs above the windows of the dome are created by the same workshop.

By contrast, the north entrance façade had their limits. There are segment colonnades of 88 Corinthian columns, curve outwards from the palace building. They think this can be more enclosing the semicircular cour d’honneour. On the south side, there was a balustrade with sandstone vases decorates the roof of the main corps de logis.

Flanking the corps de logis are 2 secondary wings, when retreat from the world, it providing the large service accommodation and domestic offices necessary to serve an 18th century monarch. Frederick wanted to cover with foliage to screen their mundane purpose from these single-storey wings. The secretaries’ room, gardeners’ room and servants’ room, all is located in eastern wing, while the palace kitchen, stables and a coach house, are located in west wing.

Every year during the summer months, Frederick will spend all his time at the Sans Souci Palace throughout his lifetime. But after Frederick death, in 1786 until the mid- 19th century, it remained mostly unoccupied and neglected. After 100 years Frederick’s accession to throne, in 1840, his nephew Frederick William IV and his wife were moving to the guest rooms. The royal couple was maintaining the existing furniture and replaced the missing pieces with furniture that from Frederick’s time. At first, the rooms that Frederick had used before was intended to restored to its original state, because of a lack of authentic documents and plans, this plan was never executed. However, in 1843, the armchair in which Frederick had died was returned to the palace.

Frederick William IV was a draftsman, he very interested in both architecture and landscape gardening. He changes the palace from the retreat of his reclusive great uncle into a fully functioning and fashionable country house. This was a very big different compare before and after. The small service wings were had been enlarged between 1840 and 1842. This was necessary. Frederick was a person who liked to live modestly without splendor, philosophized and played music at Sanssouci. His modesty developed into miserliness for his age. He would not allow they repair to the outerfaçade in the rooms. He wishes that Sanssouci should only last for his lifetime.

Both of the wings had added a mezzanine floor. The kitchen had been changed into the east wing. The small wine cellar belongs to Fredrick the great; it was enlarged to prepare full store rooms to enlarged household, and the new upper floor was used for the staff bedrooms.