100 years of BAUHAUS
In 2019 Germany celebrates the centenary of the Bauhaus with partners from all over the world.
After coming to life in 1919, the Bauhaus had to move to Dessau in 1925 and to Berlin just a few years later.
Once there, it was forced to close in 1933 by the Nazis. Although it only existed for 14 years in total, the Bauhaus is still considered the most renowned modern art and design school.
Constantly forced to begin again for political reasons, the Bauhaus partially reinvented itself under its three directors Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
The ambition of rethinking design from the ground up and not accepting inherited certainties paved the road for the explosion of modern art.
This high ambition was formulated by Alfred Arendt, one of the Bauhaus masters, in his speech at the inauguration of the Bauhaus Dessau: “We’re still at the beginning, despite all the work already done! The house stands… it is the foundation for consciously working to construct a new world.”
Bauhaus? Walter Gropius came up with the name. He was inspired by the medieval lodges in which all the crafts and arts worked together on equal footing. The Bauhaus sought to reunite the arts that the academies had separated, in order to produce art and architecture appropriate for their time.
The artistic avant-garde gathered at the Bauhaus wanted to become a force capable of changing society and shaping modern individuals and their world. An interdisciplinary working community would be able to devise and create the “building of the future”, and even the future itself.
The Bauhaus sites in Dessau and Weimar were included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996.
New Bauhaus museums will be built in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. But it is already worthwhile to pay a visit to see the authentic Bauhaus-designed buildings, located mostly in the centre of Germany.
Authentic BAUHAUS: BERLIN
A tour following the traces of the Bauhaus in the German capital beyond the Bauhaus Archive leads, for instance, to the Kant-Garagen-Palast (Kant Parking Palace) built in 1929-30 in the Charlottenburg district. However, the existence of the oldest multi-storey carpark in Europe is now at risk.
The AEG turbine factory, designed by the painter and self-taught architect Peter Behrens, is located in Moabit. The structure, built in 1908-09, is a key work of German industrial architecture.
The bright houses with balcony access that can be found in Steglitz, with their accessible ceiling terraces and front gardens, are also worth visiting.
The Bauhaus was located in Berlin for less than a year. The Nazis forced its dissolution in 1933.
Design at the BAUHAUS
At the Bauhaus, craftsmen and designers wanted to develop functional, simple products. There was a lot of craftsmanship at first, but after 1923 they wanted to develop industrial products, affordable by everyone and distinguished by their functionality.
Some were produced serially in the Bauhaus workshops, but many were also manufactured industrially through licenses.
These included lamps, cutlery, tea canes, but also tables and chairs.
Rhino Westentaschen-Bibliothek Volume 52: Bauhaus
Price: € 5.95; 96 pages; format: 8 x 11.5 cm
Hardcover, thread sewn binding, glossy foil
About the author:
Heinz Stade was born in 1945 in Arnstadt, Thüringen, and works as independent journalist and author in Erfurt. He studied journalism and literature in Leipzig. He has worked independently since 1983 and is the author or co-author of over 20 books, most of them travel biographies and books about Thüringen as a travel destination. He received the 2003 Deutschen Denkmalpreis for his book Leben und Arbeiten im Denkmal (Living and working with monuments). The following year he received the Thüringer Journalistenpreis. The Rhino Westentaschen-Bibliothek series has already published 9 of his books.