Karl Dernfeld

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Karl Dernfeld , also Carl Dernfeld (born April 21, 1831 in Gerlachsheim , † October 16, 1879 in Baden-Baden ) was a German architect and Baden construction official , he worked as a district building inspector in Baden-Baden.


The son of a domain councilor received his training after high school in Heidelberg at the Karlsruhe Polytechnic under Heinrich Hübsch and Friedrich Eisenlohr . The spelling of the first name with "C", which is mostly used in the specialist literature, is incorrect, in the civil documents in the Baden-Baden city archive it is called "Karl".

After study trips that led Dernfeld from 1851 to Berlin , Munich and Italy , among other places , he joined the Baden state service as a construction clerk and, after stints in Heidelberg and Constance, came to Baden-Baden in 1863 as a district master builder. The architect, who had been married since 1876, died there on October 16, 1879.


The Friedrichsbad in Baden-Baden
Parish church of St. Peter and Paul (left) and town hall in Bühl

Dernfeld's main work is Friedrichsbad , which was created in Baden-Baden from 1869 to 1877 . In addition, he created the Kastanienallee in front of the south wing of the Kurhaus in Baden-Baden, which was laid out in 1866/1867 and is lined with boutiques based on the model of the Parisian arcades.

Dernfeld also provided the design for the neo-Romanesque parish church of St. Bonifatius in the Baden-Baden district of Lichtental (1865–1869). In neighboring Bühl he built the neo-Gothic parish church of St. Peter and Paul (1872–1877) and converted the previous building from the 16th to the 18th century into the town hall using the neo-Renaissance design language (1879–1882).

The likewise neo-Gothic parish church of Our Lady in Waibstadt (Rhein-Neckar-Kreis) was built in 1865–1868 based on plans by Dernfeld. He was also involved in the construction of the marble bath and the associated outdoor pool in Badenweiler in 1874/1875, which was planned by Heinrich Leonhard. Leonhard's draft sketches for this project also include four plans signed by Dernfeld.

Dernfeld has certainly built other buildings that have not yet been dealt with in art literature. The life and work of the district master builder, who was only 48 years old, are still largely unexplored.


Dernfeld answered the question his teacher Heinrich Hübsch asked in his famous book "In what style should we build?" In a very personal way. In addition to his undisputed main work, the Friedrichsbad in the forms of the Italian High Renaissance, the neo-Gothic parish church of St. Peter and Paul in Bühl, which was built almost simultaneously, stands out. The model for the tower of the three-aisled basilica made of red sandstone was the Freiburg Minster .

As Dernfeld's previously known work shows, the district master builder was a masterly master of two historicizing styles and created perfect works of art in their respective formal language.


  • Ulrich Coenen: Bathing in Baden-Baden. From the Roman facilities to the modern Caracallatherme. In: Die Ortenau, publications of the historical association for Mittelbaden , Volume 81 (2001), pages 189–228 ( online ).
  • Ulrich Coenen: From Aquae to Baden-Baden. The building history of the city and its contribution to the development of the spa architecture . Publishing house Mainz, Aachen 2008.

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