In the social and political turmoil after the end of World War I, Walter Gropius and a group of like-minded designers and artists, merged Weimar’s art school with Henry van der Velde’s College of Arts and Crafts to create a new design school, the Staatliche Bauhaus. The aim was to start a new style of design and architecture to suit the needs of what he saw as a new age, in which aesthetics, function and technology worked together to produce objects that were at once aesthetically pleasing, efficient and capable of being mass-produced cheaply. Products from the school included pottery, furniture and wallpaper.
The most important surviving Bauhaus buildings are in Dessau, where the school moved in 1925, and include the Bauhaus school complex itself, which is once again functioning as a design school, the Master Houses (Meisterhause), the Moses-Mendelssohn-Centre, the Steel House (Stahlhaus), the Kornhaus and a reconstruction of one flat in Hannes Meyer’s ‘housing with balcony access’ complex. In Weimar, the original school building is home to the Bauhaus-Universitat-Weimar and the Bauhaus museum has notable examples of Bauhaus furniture. Together these sites have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In Berlin, the Bauhaus archives and museum are located in a Walter Gropius-designed building. As well as a wealth of documents for researchers, the collection holds numerous pieces made in the workshops by students, as well as books, paintings, drawings, examples of finished products, architectural plans and photographic archive. Other Bauhaus buildings in the city include the Sommerfeld and Otte houses.
One of the most important contribution of the Bauhaus is in the field of furniture design including the ubiquitous Cantilever chair by dutch designer Mart Stam with its utilization of tensile properties of steel, and Wassily Chair designed by Marcel Breuer.
What it is: A collection of important modern buildings, furniture and art.
Where it is: The most important surviving Bauhaus buildings are in Dessau and Berlin.
Why is it important: These buildings are examples of the school of thought that revolutionized twentieth-century architecture and design.
What is there to see: Sommerfeld house in Berlin, the Otte house in Berlin, the Auerbach house in Jena and the definitive 1926 Bauhaus building in Dessau.