Transformative Art & Architecture and The Architecture of Universal Beauty

Transformative Art  Architecture  (TAA) is an International Anthroposophical Professional Development Initiative. Its aim is to research and teach an Anthroposophical Theory of Transformative Art and Architecture based on the spiritual view of the human being and universe as  taught by Rudolf Steiner.

The architectural-artistic method arising from this theory is known as Biosculptural Architecture. Biosculptural courses are taught through the TAA Professional Development Initiative. Course participants may in the future choose to do further courses to qualify as Biosculptural consultants.

The TAA  Initiative was founded by Johannes Schuster in 2017, after running a series of seminars on “The Architecture of Universal Beauty(AUB) in Australia, Europe (Goetheanum), South East Asia, China and Argentina in previous years. In 2017 his wife Sue joined the initiative and now works together with Johannes, bringing her artistic experience to the course .


In 2018 the full 4 module course will only be offered in Chengdu, China. However, since the course is held in English (with Chinese translations) it is open to international participants.

The course will be held in the Forrest Steiner school located on a rural 30 acre property outside Chengdu. The school is associated with the original Chengdu Waldorf School, which is the first Waldorf School and home of Waldorf education in China. The school would be very happy to welcome international visitors for this course. Accommodation is available on the premises; transport to and from the airport will be arranged. Please contact Johannes for further details.


Click here to  view/download the 2018  Course Document and Dates


The full TAA Course comprises four 10 day/60 hour modules (total 240 hours). The course may also be delivered in the form of  weekend workshops and  3 – 5 day seminars.

The four full time 10 day course modules:

Module I: Language of Form
The Four Ethers and the Architecture of Universal Beauty 

 Module II: The Human Being
The Hierarchy of Form and the Human Being as Universal Point of Reference

 Module III: Creative Process

The Universal Architecture of the Creative Proces

Module IV: Practicum
Recognizing and Creating Meaningful Form


Who are the seminars for?

  • anyone interested in Art and Architecture from a spiritual perspective,
  • including  ARCHITECTS, DESIGNERS, ARTISTS, TEACHERS and STUDENTS open to explore new paradigms of form and design.


Aim and Inspiration

As quoted elsewhere on this website, during the building of the first Goetheanum, Rudolf Steiner said in one of his lectures:

….” if the ideas underlying such works of art find followers — then people who allow themselves to be impressed by these works of art and who have learnt to understand their language, will never do wrong to their fellow men either in heart or intellect, because the forms of art will teach them how to love; they will learn to live in harmony and peace with their fellow beings. Peace and harmony will pour into all hearts through these forms;

… However much study may be given to the elimination of crime and wrong-doing from the world, true redemption, the turning of evil into good, will in future depend upon whether true art is able to pour a spiritual fluid into the hearts and souls of human beings.”

R. Steiner, Ways to a new style of Architecture, 1914

What are we to make of the above quote?

How can our artistic creations possibly be “turning evil into good” or “pour a spiritual fluid into the hearts and souls of human beings“? Where can we begin to find both, practical and conceptual answers to this question?

One thing seems certain:  There can be no spiritual (i.e. morally transformative) effects without spiritual causes. It behoves us therefore to look into the spiritual realities that stand behind the arts and behind the processes by which we bring them into being.

In the Course…

…we examine the processes by which spiritual realities come to expression, both in the forms of nature, and in the forms and works of art shaped by human hands.

Nature seems to have the magic touch of universal beauty. It’s forms are always functional, beautiful and full of meaning. But nature cannot produce works of art in the way we human beings can. Unlike nature we can create both, ugliness and beauty, yet our creations rarely reach the heights of universal beauty.

What if we could look over nature’s shoulders and glean some of her secrets? If we could begin to understand some of the processes and spiritual realities that stand behind nature, perhaps this might help us producing creations of our own that, without copying nature, bear within them a degree of universal beauty and, perhaps, the seeds of love and moral transformation?

How does spirit enter into our creations?

How do we lift matter into a higher sphere?

Exploring Rudolf Steiner’s spiritual science from the perspective of Form Creation, we will be seeking to identify an artistic and universal Language of Form, capable of speaking out of the same forces that have shaped us, together with the forms of nature.

Course Themes

Module I

Over the course of this module, participants will gain both practical and theoretic insights into the following questions:

  1. How does “morally transformative“ art & architecture differ from other forms of art & architecture and what are its methods and aims?
  2. What is the “Architecture of Universal Beauty” and of what practical relevance is it?
  3. What are archetypes and what are the archetypal qualities of the 4 Elements?
  4. How are the 4 Elements related to the spiritual nature of the human being and our cosmic past and future?
  5. What are Life Forces (the 4 ethers) and how can we recognize them within ourselves and in Nature?
  6. How does the dance between physical and etheric forces come to expression in the forms of Nature and in the man-made forms of art & architecture?
  7. Or more specifically, what are the 26 “letters/formative signatures” associated with etheric and physical forces?
  8. What is the method by which “human warmth” is incorporated into our creations and why is warmth the foundation for everything?
  9. How can “Light” be transformed into a vehicle for creating “truthful/authentic” spaces which at the same time are also “interesting” and “awakening”.
  10. How do ”musicality” and “levity” express themselves in the forms of Nature and how can we incorporate such forces into our own creations?
  11. How can “wholeness” provide us with a framework for “Universal” Beauty?
  12. How can art & architecture, in R. Steiner’s words: “… teach us how to love” and…”pour a spiritual fluid into the hearts and souls of human beings?”

Module II

Over the course of this module, participants will gain both practical and theoretic insights into the following questions:

  1. How do the stages of plant growth mirror the stages of cosmic evolution?
  2. What can we learn from this in the way we create?
  3. How do nature’s creations differ from human creations and what do they have in common?
  4. What are the two 4-step processes of the cosmic creative act and how does 4+4 add up to 7 ?
  5. What are the 4 macrocosmic phases of creation and what is the special significance of the “Winter Phase” ?
  6. If morally transformative art & architecture touches us on a spiritual level, where and how are we to find the spiritual causes that are able to produce such effects?
  7. What is it that comes “from above” and what do we contribute “from below”?
  8. What do we mean by “spiritual seeing”, “spiritual hearing” and “spiritual touching” and how can this help us getting closer to artistic inspirations?
  9. What is the difference between “Spirit Substance”, “Spirit Life” and “Spirit Presence” and how can this help us in the way we approach practical design tasks?
  10. What can the 4 ethers teach us about the higher Devachanic world of spiritual causes?
  11. Which  universal, rhythmically repeating qualities characterize the universal stages by which spiritual causes descend into physical form?
  12. What is the “Cosmic and Human Architecture of the Creative Process” and how does it lead the way towards “Transformative Art & Architecture” ?

Module III

Over the course of this module, participants will gain both practical and theoretic insights into the following questions:

  1. How are we to understand and recognize the “Leading Thought”, “Essence” or “Being”  in a work of Art or Architecture?
  2. What are the typical form characteristics of the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms?
  3. What is the key difference between the human and animal form?
  4. How does this difference translate into the architectural form?
  5. How do we experience the 3 dimensions of space and how are they linked to our consciousness and our soul faculties of thinking, feeling and willing?
  6. What are the differences between “symmetry” and “dynamic balance” and how do they affect us  in the way we experience ourselves as free and independent beings?
  7. What is the architectural equivalent of the “spirit”, the “soul” and the “life” of a building?
  8. What is a “qualitative brief”, what form does it take and by what processes should we prepare it?
  9. How do we find and identify a “higher purpose” for a given project?
  10. Given the key role of the architect, what is the unique role which only the owner or client can fulfill?
  11. What future directions of form and design might we learn from the study of formative forces connected with the planets and the zodiac?
  12. Viewed from a spiritual perspective of world evolution, what are the effects, the future destiny and karmic consequences of architectural form?
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