Kloster Eberbach

“You don’t enter the garden of paradise with your feet, but with your heart.”

– Bernhard von Clairvaux, French Cistercian abbot and theologian (1091-1153)


The Monastery of Eberbach was founded in 1136 as one of the first Cistercian monasteries in Germany. It soon became one of the most active monasteries and very successful of profits from the cultivation of vineyards and the production of wine. Currently it is a top tourist attraction of which its significance was emphasized by the filming of the adaptation of Umberto Eco´s novel “’The Name of the Rose’”. The site provides a combination of the monastery’s history, architecture and a longstanding wine culture.


In the rich history of the monastery, there has been a centuries old synergy between the buildings and their natural surroundings. The new hotel expansion which is needed to accommodate the growing number of visitors is not only seen as an opportunity to allow more people to stay in the beautiful surroundings of the monastery, but also as a new chapter in this interaction.


The hotel extension is centered around a new sunken and enclosed garden to which every hotel room has a visual relationship. The enclosed garden refers to the existing abbey gardens, courtyards and outdoor spaces of Eberbach monastery. The herbs and medicinal garden functions as a quiet oasis and green filter between the guest rooms.


The main entrance to the hotel takes place via an existing gate in the historical wall. From here, the lobby and a circulating corridor distribute the visitors to the hotel rooms, or to the existing old building which hosts serving functions such as the restaurant, bar and conference and fitness area.


A robust and materially honest language defines the interior of the hotel: the dominant material of all structural elements of the new building is solid spruce cross laminated timber – CLT, the surfaces of which are exposed in the interior. Concrete is used for the floor slabs and underground walls.


The facade above the historical wall is made of slate in a style and pattern that responds directly to that used in the surrounding roofs of the monastery buildings. The garden facade consists of vertical wooden planks treated in a ‘Kloster Eberbach’ red color. The ‘fifth facade’ is a green natural roof, which visually continues the mountain vegetation and also serves as a water reservoir.

Location: Eltville im Rheingau, Germany

Client: Eberbach Monastery Foundation

Program: Hotel extension Eberbach monastery (85 hotel rooms, restaurant, conference rooms, fitness)

Area: 3.800 m2

Status: International competition, 2nd round

Team: Freyke Hartemink, Carsten Hilgendorf, Jarrik Ouburg, Paul Ruhnau, Maciej Abramczyk

Consultants: ABT (construction, energy, fire and building physics)