To the southwest of Sanssouci Palace lies the small Charlottenhof Palace, built in the Neoclassical style. It forms the architectural center point of the grounds that were added to Sanssouci Park beginning in 1826.
The crown prince, later King Frederick William IV, was given the Baroque country manor by his father as a Christmas present in 1825. He commissioned the architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel and the landscape gardener Peter Joseph Lenné to redesign the estate. The result was the highpoint of their respective creative activity and a true synthesis of architecture and landscape.
The palace is steeped in the spirit of antiquity and influenced by the architecture of Roman villas in its simple formal vocabulary. Fascinated by the excavations in Pompeii and Herculaneum, Schinkel drew on wall decorations seen in the ancient houses of affluent citizens. This is also seen in the Biedermeier design of the interiors with their middle-class appearance and furnishings mostly designed by Schinkel. The rooms’ vibrant variety of materials and color is remarkable.
A lively interchange between the interior and the exterior space is conveyed through the semicircular bay on the northern side, the course of water that appears to flow from the fountains into the palace itself, the porticos, pergolas, terraces and the exedra. The famous blue-and-white striped corner room took this idea to the extreme. Replicating the interior of a tent, it served as a bedroom for the ladies-in-waiting.
Charlottenhof Palace and Park are rightly characterized as the heart of Prussian Arcadia.