Villa Alba
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The main building of the estate is the spectacular Villa Alba, the Langensiepens’ residence. The front facade of the building faces the lake shore, which is connected to the villa by the main alley featuring majestic stone stairs. The building was erected between 1904 and 1909. The name Alba brings associations with the colour white and the subtlety and purity of liturgical vestments. According to some oral family records, the name may also refer to the mythical goddess of Aurora, who was the patron of Aurora Borealis, the northern lights. As for the architectural style, it may be described as neoclassical or neo-Hellenic. When establishing the inspiration and the origin of the style of the building, art historians have found analogies with the elements seen in the Acropolis in Athens and the Achilleion palace in Gastouri on the Greek island of Corfu, which once belonged to Sisi, the Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The portico and the columns of the front terrace of Villa Alba are adorned with statues and reliefs created through the use of the exact same technique as used in the ancient Greek school of sculpture. These elements may be considered to have a direct correspondence to the Greek Acropolis.

It seems that the original concept of the building was to combine several mystical elements into one form: Alba – the purity of liturgical vestments, Aurora – the goddess of Borealis, and the Acropolis – a sacred place of ancient rituals.

The elements of the neoclassical and neo-Hellenic styles were also incorporated in the interior of the villa. The ceiling of the grand hall is supported by the classical Greek columns and the multiple intricate details also indicate references to the Hellenic inspirations. It is said that, before starting the design process, Schaffer spent over six months in Athens studying the antique style at a direct request from Langensiepen.

Villa Alba
Image: Old postcard, Fotoedizioni Brunner & C.