The Stages of Carl Jung’s Bollingen (1)


The Tower at Bollingen

Words and paper did not seem real enough to me.To put my fantasies on solid footing, something more was needed.I had to achieve a kind of representation in stone of my innermost thoughts and of the knowledge I had acquired.Put another way, I had to make a confession of faith in stone. That was the beginning of the tower, the house I built for myself at Bollingen.

 I wanted a room in this tower where I could exist for myself alone. I had in mind what I had seen in Indian houses, in which there is usually an area– though it may be only a corner of a room separated off by a curtain– in which the inhabitants can withdraw. There they may meditate for perhaps a quarter or half an hour, or do yoga exercises. such an area of retirement is essential in India, where people live crowded very close together.”

Memories, Dreams, Reflections, Page 212

jung bollingen1

Architect Mark Larson’s view of the Tower

From Mystical Emergence: An Architectural Journey Through Jung’s Tower

This house tells its own story through the language of architecture. The first phase of the project began in 1923 as a sort of Primitive Hut. This portion of the project has also been referred to as the ‘maternal tower’ since Jung himself associated its construction with his mother’s death (Hannah, p 156). As Jung described, “it was to be a round structure with a hearth in the center and bunks along the walls. I more or less had in mind an African hut where the fire, ringed by a few stones, burns in the middle, and the whole life of the family revolves around this center.” (Jung, 1963, p. 212) Its small round tower is inwardly focused, protective, self-referential, and without any orientation. Access is gained through a single, fortress-like door, which today would certainly result in a housing code violation. The singular tower, almost completely made of stones mined from the quarry on the opposite side of the lake, has timber framed floors and a hexagon, cone-shaped roof. A rustic outpost away from civilization, its crude living accommodations were heated only by firewood and it was without running water or electricity. At this stage, the house is in its infancy, no more than a small step up from camping.   

Next: The Stages of Jung’s Bollingen (2)




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