The Bauhaus (which means literally ‘building-house’) was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius (1883-1969), and brought together a number of the most outstanding contemporary architects and artists. It began in Weimar, but moved to Dessau in 1924, becoming the municipally-funded College of Design. The stated intention of the Bauhaus was “to reverse the split between art and production by returning to the crafts as the foundation of all artistic activity and developing exemplary designs for objects and spaces that were to form part of a more humane future society.”
Between 1926 and 1932 they produced numerous works of art and architecture, and innovative designs for industrial products, some of which became commonplace in later decades.
The original Bauhaus was disbanded in 1933 under pressure from the Nazis. Several Bauhaus buildings still (or again) exist in Dessau.
Walter Gropius designed these houses for himself and several of the other Bauhaus “Masters” such as the painters Lyonel Feininger (1871-1956), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944) and Paul Klee (1879-1940).
The houses do not look extraordinary today, but were shockingly modern and luxurious at the time. They included glass fronts (then highly unusual) and large ateliers for the artists.
When the Nazis came to power they ordered the houses redesigned to eliminate what they called the “alien building forms”. Some of the houses were further damaged by air raids during the Second World War.
In the 1990s, five of the seven original houses were reconstructed and restored to their original form. As of 2023, they are open to the public, along with three other Bauhaus buildings in Dessau.
My photos in this post are from 2005. I revised the text in 2023.
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