Walls that tell stories
The Tuppen farm in Kaarst, North Rhine-Westphalia, is more than a museum. It is an original. Here you not only learn about the history of the farm, you encounter it. The buildings, laid out in a quadrangle typical of historic Rhenish style, were built over the last three centuries where they currently stand. The farm garden was laid out and cultivated by the residents. In addition, all the finds on display in the museum come from the site. Everything that could not be preserved, such as the half-timbered walls, has been faithfully restored.
Discover historical building techniques
Do you know the origin of the word wall? It comes from the Old English word weall, which meant “rampart, dike, earthwork”. This provides a hint as to the once common wall composition: clay earth. In historical half-timbered building, the compartments in the wooden framework were filled using willow rods that were wound around vertical oak poles. This woven core was filled with clay earth and plastered over.
The gatehouse and the residence, as well as the barn of the Tuppen farm, were constructed in this way. During the renovation under the direction of the architect Inge Breidenbach, the half-timbered construction was restored using historical techniques and the original building material, clay earth. The building technique is clearly demonstrated in the residential building.
Earthen clay and wood are a proven combination when it comes to building physics. Clay earth can absorb and buffer moisture. In this way, the wooden construction is protected from damage – without the use of chemicals.
For the gatehouse, the half-timbered construction also proved useful for a different reason. In 1860, the entire building was turned 90 degrees because the street layout changed, and the entrance needed to be adjusted to match. The construction could be easily dismantled and rebuilt in the new position.
Experience stories from three centuries
The Tuppen Farm is a contemporary witness to history, special for two reasons. Firstly, it escaped renovation and major modernisation when its use came to an end in the 1970s and 80s. After that, a cloak of oblivion spread over the farm. Fortunately, the farm was remembered in time to preserve the historical substance of the buildings.
Secondly, the former owners kept detailed records during the entire period in which the farm was in use and thus documented three hundred years of rural and regional history. Today, the archive is completely preserved and accessible to the public.
During a visit, you can immerse yourself in the everyday life of the former inhabitants. With a guided tour through the rooms furnished with original furniture, the past comes alive with their stories.
Encountering art, culture and nature
At the Tuppen Farm Museum, you will not only encounter history and stories. Today, the farm is also a venue for music, theatre and cabaret, an exhibition space for thematic and artistic shows as well as a place to experience and enjoy nature.
In addition, one can get married at the Tuppen Farm. Thus, something new and hopeful always begins in this historic place.
Photos ©Klaus Stevens KaarstRead more »
Getting to know modern clay earth building materials
In the 1990s – the period when the Tuppen Farm was being restored – building with earthen clay belonged almost exclusively to the conservation of cultural heritage buildings. However, the positive effects on the indoor climate and interior design made clay earth building materials increasingly attractive for new buildings as well.
In addition, Claytec industrialised the production of earthen building materials and was able to offer products that were easy to work with. Today, modern drywall clay boards and YOSIMA clay designer plaster in 146 colour shades complement the product range.
At the Tuppen Farm Museum, the craftsmen used traditional earthen building techniques by infilling the wooden structure with oak staves, willow rods and clay earth. A clay undercoat with straw and a fine clay plaster form the wall surface, which can then be coloured.