Monday, 27 February 2012

Bauhaus Dessau

Gesamtkuntwerk or synthesis of the arts was what the Bauhaus school was committed to. It’s probable that most of the people that took part in it would have objected against the idea of a Bauhaus style in architecture. Despite the name as ‘House of Construction’, during its 14 years of existence architecture played a minor role in the program and was only one more among painting, sculpture, the decorative arts, and crafts.
The story of the Bauhaus school as a building has three phases at the end of each it was forced to move to a new city. Starting at Weimar under the direction of architect Walter Gropius it next moved to Dessau where Hannes Mayer eventually succeeded to. The Bauhaus ended up as a private school in a former telephone factory in Berlin under the direction of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It pretty much seems that since its creation during the liberal Weimar republic in 1919 it had been on the run, escaping from the criticism its overstated progressivist left-wing ideals arose. A fast growing party later to become the Nazi regime finally forced its leadership to shut it down in 1933.
It is the school buildings in Dessau designed by Gropius that became the image of the Bauhaus itself and also showpieces of Modernist architecture to which the school contributed decisively. Considering the Bauhaus as a short lived institution that had only 1250 students total and little practical output it’s surprising how influential it still is today.

This illustration is the third in succession of 6 postcards designed for Bauhaus: Art as Life competition at the Barbican.

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