December 08, 2008

Herbert Reigner, Muschelgarten/Shell garden

Although Austria has a firm reputation as regards outsider art in terms of painting (for example the Gugging Haus der Künstler), with regard to art environments the country just has a few sites.

The Röschitz Shell Garden

One of these is the Muschel Garten in Röschitz, a community of some 1100 inhabitants in the north-easternmost state of Lower Austria. 

Herbert Reigner, an inhabitant of this community, in 1950 began decorating the garden around his house with shells, leftovers from a factory which only used the mother of pearl of the shells. 

To my knowledge, there is just one such a factory in Austria, the Rainer Mattejka firm in the community of Felling.

Above pictures show that the site partly has retained its function as a vegetable and botanical garden. 

Arches which cover the garden beds have been added as decorative elements and then there are decorations along one of the long sides of the garden, such as a windmill, small decorative houses, replica of castles and nains.

However, the garden gets its very special own character by a singular architecture which to my knowledge was created in the 1960's, a structure named the Lusthaus (fun house).

It is a rather massive grey stone structure, with just a few windows, lavishly decorated and equipped with small battlements at the top, more a castle-like structure than a pavilion where one sips a cup of tea in summer....

Since the internet hardly has any relevant information about this site, I couldn't find any data with regard to the ideas behind this specific building.

 this picture and the next one from the geocatching website

The garden can be seen from the street. It got some publicity in websites of Austrian tourist boards and it could be visited on appointment only.

It's current situation is unclear, but everything indicates that the garden is still extant, since there is a report on a site about making walks in the area, which has below picture, which  probably was made in 2014.

first published dec 2008, last revised  jan 2017

Herbert Reigner
Muschel garten
Berggasse 7
3743 Röschitz, Austria
visits on appointment only

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