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Founded by Walter Gropius in 1919, the Bauhaus’ pioneering legacy has influenced designers, architects and artists for 100 years. Gropius’ utopian vision – to conceive and design a new modern future – emerged after a period of political, social and economic turmoil in Europe. Wanting to make a positive impact on society, Gropius and his contemporaries translated their ideas and ideologies into a fusion of art, craft and industry, which materialised in an abstract, functional and universal design language.
The Bauhaus marks its centenary this year with a program of events, including the Grand Tour of Modernism. Bauhaus enthusiasts can journey through Germany, visiting landmark sites that represent revolutionary modern architecture of the past 100 years.
Here are five of the early-twentieth-century highlights that introduce the ideals and values of Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus:
Fagus Factory is one of the earliest built works of modern architecture as Gropius put his revolutionary ideas into practice for the first time. The innovative use of glass walls and attenuated load-bearing structure was a major break from the decorative architectural values of the period and represented a move towards the functionalist industrial aesthetic that would become so influential.
While craft served as a primary source of inspiration during the early years of the Bauhaus, its goals shifted in 1923 to emphasise mass production. Reflected by its new slogan “Art and Technology – a new unity,” the Bauhaus embraced the machine and industrial technology. Haus Am Horn, designed by Adolf Meyer and Georg Muche, is a prototype of affordable housing that used experimental building techniques and materials. The house expressed the Bauhaus’ increasing focus on functionalism with a bold and simple plan: a ring of rooms around a central living area.
The Bauhaus moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925 where Gropius designed a new building that would become an exemplar for modernist architecture. Further developing the ideas Gropius explored in Fagus Factory, it has a glass façade, load-bearing framework and the various sections of the building are designed according to function.
Gropius also designed the home for the Bauhaus director, which is one of three semi-detached houses for the Bauhaus masters. Gropius wanted to realise the principles of rational construction, using modular construction and prefabricated components. (His plan was only partially realised due to the technical resources available at the time.) Gropius, László Moholy-Nagy, Wassily Kandinsky, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Josef Albers and Paul Klee, amongst many others, were residents here. Marcel Breuer’s furniture was popularly used, and Klee and Kandinsky developed colour schemes closely related to their own work.
Created by Gropius, Otto Haesler and other architects, Dammerstock Estate was a model social housing development. The architects incorporated state-of-the-art facilities and optimised daylight, ventilation and hygiene, and it remains fully inhabited today.
There are many more modernist landmarks sites to explore across Germany, including those designed by masters and students of the Bauhaus and those influenced by the principles of the Bauhaus.
For more, check out Grand Tour Der Moderne.
Fagus Factory sourced from Arch Daily
Haus Am Horn sourced from Curbed
Bauhaus Building sourced from Arch Daily
Masters' Houses sourced from Bauhaus100
Dammerstock Housing Estate sourced from Cision News
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