In the concept of the Museum, the house from Burgdorf is the proverbial exception to the rule. It is not a true example of rural architecture, rather it is a patrician villa whose facade imitates a rural style.
This magnificent house was built in the midst of a park-like garden for the textile manufacturer Hans Schafroth and his family. The value of the «Chalet Schafroth» as an architectural monument meriting preservation lies primarily in its external appearance. It is the first of many patrician villas built in the «chalet» style. Motivated by a highly idealised picture of the free and happy life of herdsmen, dairymen and farmers, the construction of such «Swiss cottages» was one way in which the upper echelons of society expressed their enthusiasm for an idyllic pastoral life. Inside, however, the less romantic aspects of rural housing were avoided.
In the case of the Schafroth property, the reverse of the «Laubsägeli» (fretwork) architectural style cultivated by the urban upper class could be seen only a few metres away. Here stood the cramped houses of the factory workers and their families who often lived on the verge of starvation and, as an irony of fate, were not infrequently recruited from among impoverished members of the rural population.