Dessau and Weimar are closely connected with the so-called Bauhaus School (1919-1933), which gave architecture and design significant impulses in the 20th century. Numerous monuments such as the teaching buildings – the arts and crafts school in Weimar and the Bauhaus building in Dessau – or the so-called Masters’ Houses in Dessau document the ideas of a modern, functionally oriented construction method.
Bauhaus sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau: facts
|Official title:||The Bauhaus and its sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau|
|Cultural monument:||in Weimar the main building and the Van-de-Velde-Building of the College of Architecture and Building, the place of work of well-known painters such as Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger as well as architects such as Henry van de Velde and Walter Gropius, as well as “Haus am Horn”; in Dessau the Bauhaus building together with the faithfully restored Feininger house|
|Location:||Weimar, Dessau and Bernau|
|Meaning:||Revolutionizing the aesthetic and architectural concepts and principles for modern architecture of the 20th century|
Bauhaus sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau: history
|1904-11||Construction of the main building and the Van-de-Velde building|
|1923||Construction of the »Haus am Horn«|
|1925||Closure of the Weimar Bauhaus and relocation to Dessau|
|1925-26||in Dessau construction of the Bauhaus building and of semi-detached houses with studios for the masters at the Bauhaus|
|1926-28||Construction of the row house settlement Törten (Damaschkestrasse, Klein-, Mittel- and Großring / Dessau)|
|1930||Construction of the arcade houses (Peterholzstrasse, Mittelbreite / Dessau)|
|1932||The Bauhaus Dessau closes under pressure from the National Socialists|
|1986||Reopening of the Dessau Bauhaus as a center for design|
|February 2000||Opening of the restored Masters’ Houses|
Cradle of modernity
It’s hard to believe, but the “classic Weimar” is also the birthplace of the Bauhaus. The Belgian architect and designer Henry van de Velde, who had long since broken away from the floral playfulness of Art Nouveau and worked as director of the arts and crafts school in Weimar, and Harry Graf Keßler, who was director of the Grand Ducal Museum of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, mentally paved the way for the Bauhaus. The architect Walter Gropius, who returned home disaffected from the war, took over the initial management of the State Bauhaus Weimar, which emerged from the union of the former Grand Ducal Saxon University of Fine Arts and the former Grand Ducal Saxon School of Applied Arts. He wrote a program for the Bauhaus, In which there was initially no mention of the return to the classic lines of the cube and rectangle and the turn to industrial steel as a modern building material: “The Bauhaus strives to collect all artistic creation into a unity, the reunification of all artistic disciplines – sculpture, painting, applied arts and handicraft – to a new architecture (…). The final, albeit distant, goal (…) is the unified work of art (…) in which there are no boundaries between monumental and decorative art. «True to this basic idea of standardizing disciplines, important painters such as Lyonel taught under one roof Feininger and Wassily Kandinsky next to a sculptor like Gerhard Marcks and the architect Marcel Breuer, who is responsible for the furniture workshop.
But, borne by the revolutionary awakening in Germany featured on mathgeneral, one was also taken with other ideas: “So let’s form a guild of craftsmen without the class-dividing arrogance that wanted to build a haughty wall between craftsmen and artists.” According to this understanding, it seemed appropriate, academic Cutting off braids: Professors became masters who felt connected to the spirit of the construction huts of the Middle Ages and who, after completing a one-semester preliminary course in ten workshops, trained students from all social classes, half of whom were women.
But in post-war Weimar, a stronghold of German chauvinism and widespread anti-Semitism, there was no lack of hostility. After the necessary budget was cut, the Weimar Bauhaus dissolved on April 1, 1925 and relocated to Dessau. In this flourishing industrial city on the Mulde and Elbe, it was possible to consistently implement the orientation towards modern industry in accordance with the idea of ”Art and Technology – A New Unity”. With Hannes Meyer, Gropius’s successor since 1928, the social concerns of the Bauhaus came to the fore: “People’s needs instead of luxury needs” now had to be implemented in architecture.
Thanks to the construction of the first own school building – finally under its own roof – the best working conditions were given. And connoisseurs spoke enthusiastically of the Dessau Bauhaus building as a shining crystal, a fascinating mixture of industrial cathedral and modern acropolis. From then on, right-wing conservative homeland protectionists clashed against the strict geometry of the building and the flat roof. For those who thought the hipped roof was originally German, the architecture of the Bauhaus was considered un-German, and the non-word “degenerate” was born in the bud.
At the same time as the Bauhaus building, the master houses were built as semi-detached houses with studios for Walter Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky in a pine forest on Ebertallee. Only the reconstructed former home of Feininger conveyed the essence of Bauhaus architecture to this day, due to the tension-laden alternation between closed and open spaces and the joining of interlocked cubes.
Despite the conversion of the Bauhaus during the Third Reich, the destruction at the end of the Second World War and the forced emigration of its protagonists, the idea has remained with the Bauhaus to this day. And, as is well known, ideas can have a long life.