A baroque gem - the Linckianum
The Rokoko garden house built in 1757 in the present Seeburgstraße is one of the treasures of Leipzig's built heritage.
The entire remodeling and reconstruction of the gem which had been rediscovered in the 70s of the 20th century took place in the middle of the 90s of the same century. It is the last preserved building of the once numerous gardens of Leipzig of the 18th century that used to line the old town of the city and were the subject of which young Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spoke of so enthusiastically in 1765:
„The gardens of Leipzig are as magnificent as I have seen in my life…“
Johann Heinrich Linck the younger ( 1734–1807), owner of the Löwen Apotheke, had the garden pavilion built in 1757 as a summer residence in the former Ulrichsgasse and intended to use the two side wings as an orangery.
Linck was the son of Johann Heinrich Linck the elder who was a member of the German Academy of Natural Sciences Leopoldina, the Royal Society in London and the Academy of Sciences of the institute of Bologna. His main accomplishment was the book „De stellis marinis“ – the first monograph about starfish published in 1733. In honour of Linck, the classification of a starfish genus was established under the name of Linckia which still applies today.
Unfortunately, the architect of the garden pavilion is neither mentioned in nor can it be deduced from the preserved field visit report of the 18th of August 1757. Master mason Johann Gottfried Döring who presumably was in charge of planning and master carpenter Leopold Müller were the ones who received the assignment to build the garden house. The initial appearance of the pavilion could be restored completely by monument conservator Jens Müller by using archive files and on-site discoveries.
Lincks garden house was built along the rearward property boundary to the neighbouring Great Bosian Garden - one of the famous baroque gardens of Leipzig.
With a length of approximately 21 m, the building matched the width of the property. It consisted of a triaxial oval protruding middle wing within the masonry of approximately 6.90 m x 4.80 (two-floored) and two triaxial side wings within the framework of approximately 7.00 m x 4.30 m each (single-floored).
The plasticity of the structure was restricted on the southern side and – with regard to the garden – made the impression that there was only “half” a house similar to a stage set.
The middle wing had arched windows while the side wing had greenhouse windows instead of the framework infills. The central risalit was crowned by a strong sweeping gable (Fontspitz) with Rocailleornaments and a lions head – symbol of the Löwenapotheke. In the middle wing, there were two oval halls on top of each other - the upper one with a stucco ceiling and 30 Rocaille ornaments.
The middle wing featured parts of the famous Cabinet of natural curiosities of Heinrich Linck the elder that can still be visited in Waldenburg. A built-in cabinet still indicates this today.
The further development of the pavilion building has been well-documented as well. From 1795 until 1825, the garden house was remodeled and slowly became a residential building with a corresponding scale-down of the windows and outer walls on both sides of the Frontspitz.
From 1844 until 1856, triaxial side extensions were constructed up to the ridge height of the pavilion. With exception of the south side of the existing building, all remaining external walls received a comprehensive neo-Gothic illusionistic architecture by master mason Otto Steib. Up until then, the garden pavilion itself was preserved in its original room allocation.
In 1877, a serious intervention took place with the demolition of the west wing and the extension from 1844 to 1856 in favour of the construction of a three-floored building with a flat roof. During this process, the remains of the pavilion (central risalit and eastern side wing) have been enclosed in a backyard and preserved in this way.
During the second half of the 20th century, the building began to rapidly dilapidate due to the lack of appropriate occupancy. From 1985 until 1987, the vacant building was cleared and examinations concerning its preservation as well as an evaluation for the reconstruction of the historical monument were conducted (J. Müller).
Due to the demand of construction expenditure minimization at the time, the reconstruction was limited to the most valuable parts. The building was therefore reconstructed in its smallest size based on its appearance of 1757. The dilapidated remains of the extension from 1811 to 1877 were broken away. The original symmetry of the building was rebuilt and the central axis got back its architectural decoration. After 1990, the rescue measures for the long-planned garden pavilion of Linck were finally implemented.
In the beginning of the reconstruction during the years 1994/1995, only the central part could be structurally secured. The damage due to moisture was so extensive that the existing wooden beam structure had to be replaced by a reinforced concrete ceiling. Under the new ceiling above the first floor, the previously salvaged and evacuated stucco ceiling was reinstalled or partially remodeled after existing original parts. Both side wings were rebuilt.
It is due to the Stiftung Denkmalschutz that the company Siemens bore the cost of the reconstruction of the stairs true to the original. The city of Leipzig funded the reconstruction supported by aid money of the Land of Saxony.
(This text was created after consulting with monument conservator Jens Müller from Leipzig, May 2011)
Nowaday, a Leipzig law firm has their office and meeting rooms in the Linckianum (Law firm Dr. jur. Hartmut Reitmann).