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URLAUBSARCHITEKTUR is Europe’s leading online portal for architecturally outstanding holiday homes. We’ve published a series of award-winning books – available in bookshops or directly in our online shop.

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Houses

Designed by architects for travel enthusiasts: Our curated collection of outstanding holiday accomodations – also via map. Do you already know our new entry?

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Find unusual places and locations – for workshops, team events, meetings, yoga retreats or private festivities.

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Take a look behind the scenes in sections such as Homestories and Insights, visit hosts or read Positions on current topics.

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Rooms are like clothes: They should fit the occasion. Sometimes it should be festive, sometimes more business-like and sometimes a little extravagant. Today we meet an expert in the Uckermark region who knows a thing or two about both clothes and rooms. Time for a fitting.

Nature – as far as the eye can see. Pause, just be with yourself. In the Northwest Uckermark, an hour north of Berlin, this is possible. For many years, the region has been a retreat for city dwellers looking for relaxation and a holiday paradise for nature lovers. Farmhouses and fieldstone barns are transformed into holiday homes and there is plenty of greenery in between. Berlin fashion designer Johanna Michel also fell in love with the Uckermark many years ago. Together with her husband Dirk Preuß and the Berlin architect Thomas Kröger, she has already built two holiday homes.

One day she found an old, abandoned fieldstone barn, surrounded by two small lakes. A forgotten gem waiting to be worked on. The shell remained, was only opened in some places, and a wooden cabin with an entrance and a workshop space were integrated. At first sight the interior seems unfinished and definitely rough – and yet nothing has been left to chance. The imperfect is skilfully celebrated. The Pirol [ English: Golden Oriole] is both an opportunity and a challenge to fill a room with life.

One day she found an old, abandoned fieldstone barn, surrounded by two small lakes. A forgotten gem waiting to be worked on. The shell remained, was only opened in some places, and a wooden cabin with an entrance and a workshop space were integrated. At first sight the interior seems unfinished and definitely rough – and yet nothing has been left to chance. The imperfect is skilfully celebrated. The Pirol [ English: Golden Oriole] is both an opportunity and a challenge to fill a room with life.

Like the house’s namesake, Johanna Michel is strikingly dressed, somewhat shy and discreet. We meet her in her favourite place: on the terrace. Where the manure heap once steamed, there are now colourful mixtures of perennials in raised beds. The view inevitably extends into the surrounding trees.

Richard Wagner once incorporated the oriole’s fluted song into his opera Siegfried. The von Bülows featured the yellow bird in their coat of arms and their most famous son Victor named himself after the French version: Loriot. A dazzling namesake!

I wasn’t aware of that at first. I saw the striking, vibrant yellow bird here for the first time in my life. But it fits very well with our idea of creating a place where nature and culture meet, exchange ideas and, in the best case, allow something new come out of it. We provide the space and others fill it with life. Whether it be for photo shoots, yoga workshops, team events or even smaller celebrations, all that is possible here.

The Pirol is still in the making. It is already being used as it is, but do you have more plans for it?

The house is very large, so we are working on it in stages. Also, to better understand for ourselves what it can and should become. Our next project is an indoor garden. Between the wooden cabin and the workshop space we will create a kind of hortus conclusus, a garden framed by the fieldstone walls, which will bring nature into the house, permeate it and thus play with the themes of inside and outside. From the interior, you will be able to see the garden through a pane of glass; from the outside, it will remain hidden.

What event would you most like to plan here?

An art salon, very much in the spirit of Gertrude Stein, where art also involved making, so not just looking at art and talking about it. Craft would be an important part of my art salon, a mixture of workshop and vernissage.

SPACE

You can find beautiful spaces like this in our Spaces section. There you can discover inspiring places and unusual locations for workshops, conferences, events and more.

And why should we definitely set out for the Northwest Uckermark?

This landscape inspires me. It grounds you and gives you strength. The wild and imperfect contrasts with our otherwise so tightly timed and optimised lives. I feel free and alive here.

The hosts

Professor and fashion designer Johanna Michel and her husband, building contractor Dirk Preuß, have been commuting between Berlin and the Uckermark for many years. Together with the architect Thomas Kröger, they built the multi-award winning “Das schwarze Haus” [The Black House] in 2012. What was actually planned as a private holiday home is very popular with guests. In 2019, they added “Die kleine Acht” [The Little Eight], a converted GDR housing estate house with a perennial and grass garden created by landscape architect Rainer Elstermann.

Das schwarze Haus” and “Die kleine Acht” are both partner houses of HOLIDAYARCHITECTURE.

The Space

The Pirol is in the village of Beenz, in the north-western part of the German region of Uckermark, between Prenzlau and Templin. The former stable is surrounded by two lakes and forest, as if it was on an island. The outdoor area has mostly been left in its natural state. The workshop space has tables, chairs, sofas, a kitchen and toilets. The wooden cabin with entrance area can be rented individually or as an additional room. The rooms are suitable for seminars, team events and celebrations for up to 30 people. The Pirol can also be rented for photo shoots and workshops.

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