Haus Stöhr in Sankt Pölten

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Haus Stöhr (Olbrich House) in St. Pölten

Near St. Pölten Central Station, my eyes fell on a building with a remarkable facade. A snake swooped up towards a woman. I stood before the Haus Stöhr, also known as Olbrich house. [German]

The Haus Stöhr (Olbrich House) in St. Pölten

The second name of the house refers to the executive architect: Joseph Maria Olbrich. He designed the Art Nouveau building on behalf of the landlord Herrmann Stöhr.

Shortly before that, the architect Olbrich had made a name for himself by planning the Secession Building in Vienna. His later works on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt now enjoy UNESCO World Heritage status.

“Medicine” facade painting

The façade image in the technique of a mortar relief was titled “Medicine” and probably alluded to Hermann Stöhr’s professional activity. He worked as a primary doctor in St. Pölten. The artwork was created by artist Ernst Stöhr. He was a brother of the house owner.

According to my brief research, the snake shown in the picture is considered an Aesculapian snake. The woman might then be Hygieia, whom I had seen before with a bowl and sometimes with a snake.

The spooky sun reflection

When I photographed the house, I was particularly attracted by the elegantly curved canopy over the gable wall. At home I discovered that the sun bathed the snake’s head in a curious light. It looks kind of enlightened.