The Bauhaus Dessau was constructed in 1925/26

designed by Walter Gropius on behalf of the city of Dessau in cooperation with Carl Fieger, Ernst Neufert and others in his private architectural practice – the Bauhaus did not have its own department of architecture until 1926. The spacious construction of glass, steel and concrete, where every object is naturally integrated with the whole, follows the concepts of its founder "Form obeys function". The studio wing, workshops, trade school and stage all embody the Bauhaus concept in their design.

After right-wing conservatives in Thuringia had enforced the closure of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Dessau became its new location as of 1925. In Weimar, Bauhaus had been a state school of art, in Dessau it became a municipal institution. The city's decision to give home to the Bauhaus was largely due to the prevailing shortage of housing.

Hope lay in Walter Gropius' new standardized and economized construction style "Neues Bauen", of which he delivered proof with the settlement in Dessau-Törten (1926-1928). The most renown constructions, the "Bauhaus building" and the "Master Houses" were built in 1925/26. Especially the "Bauhaus building", an asymmetrical composition with three wings, strictly lived up to principle of form following function. (1)

Bauhaus Dessau complex designed by Walter Gropius
Photo by Lucia Moholy-Nagy, 1926

Related Pages

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Founder Walter Gropius  
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Subpage Info or Listing

In spite of its name, and the fact that its founder was an architect, the Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during the first years of its existence. Nonetheless it was founded with the...
Three irreguarly shaped towers flow outward from a central court. In formal terms, the horizontal was emphasised rather than the imposing verticals of 19th Century public buildings; flat planes were interlocked at right angles and surfaces were rendered white to symbolize purity and clarity. (2)

Gropius's design for the Dessau facilities was a return

to the futuristic Gropius of 1914 that had more in common with the International style lines of the Fagus Factory than the stripped down Neo-classical of the Werkbund pavilion or the Völkisch Sommerfeld House. The Dessau years saw a remarkable change in direction for the school.

"It consists of three connected wings or bridges...School and workshop are connected through a two-story bridge, which spans the approach road from Dessau. The administration was located on the lower level of the bridge, and on the upper level was the private office of the two architects, Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer, which could be compared to the ship captain's 'command bridge' due to its location. The dormitories and the school building are connected through a wing where the assembly hall and the dining room are located, with a stage between. "The basic structure of the Bauhaus consists of a clear and carefully thought-out system of connecting wings, which correspond to the internal operating system of the school. The technical construction of the building... is demonstrated by the latest technological development of the time: a skeleton of reinforced concrete with brickwork, mushroom-shaped ceilings on the lower level, and roofs covered with asphalt tile that can be walked upon. The construction area consisted of 42,445 [cubic yards] (32,450 [cubic meters]) and the total cost amounted to 902,500 marks. Such an economical achievement was possible only due to the assistance of the Bauhaus teachers and students, which at the same time, of course, could be viewed as an ideal means of education." Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. p37-38 - 1993, USA


The Creator's Words

"One of the outstanding achievements of the new constructional technique has been the abolition of the separating function of the wall. Instead of making the walls the element of support, as in a brick-built house, our new space-saving construction transfers the whole load of the structure to a steel or concrete framework. Thus the role of the walls becomes restricted to that of mere screens stretched between the upright columns of this framework to keep out rain, cold, and noise. ...

Systematic technical improvement in steel and concrete, and nicer and nicer calculation of their tensile and compressive strength, are steadily reducing the area occupied by supporting members. This, in turn, naturally leads to a progressively bolder (i.e.wider) opening up of the wall surfaces, which allows rooms to be much better lit. It is, therefore, only logical that the old type of window—a hole that had to be hollowed out of the full thickness of a supporting wall—should be giving place more and more to the continuous horizontal casement, subdivided by thin steel mullions, characteristic of the New Architecture. And as a direct result of the growing preponderance of voids over solids, glass is assuming an ever greater structural importance....

In the same way the flat roof is superseding the old penthouse roof with its tiled or slated gables. For its advantages are obvious: (1) light normally shaped top-floor rooms instead of poky attics, darkened by dormers and sloping ceilings, with their almost unutilizable corners; (2) the avoidance of timber rafters, so often the cause of fires; "


  Sources and related Links
  wikipedia.org - Bauhaus in Dessau
bauhaus-dessau.de - Building by W. Gropius
3) greatbuildings.com - Creators words
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(3) the possibility of turning the top of the house to practical account as a sun loggia, open-air gymnasium, or children's playground; (4) simpler structural provision for subsequent additions, whether as extra stories or new wings; (5) elimination of unnecessary surfaces presented to the action of wind and weather, and therefore less need for repairs; (6) suppression of hanging gutters, external rain-pipes, etc., that often erode rapidly. With the development of air transport the architect will have to pay as much attention to the bird's-eye perspective of his houses as to their elevations. The utilization of flat roofs as 'grounds' offers us a means of re-acclimatizing nature amidst the stony deserts of our great towns..." — Walter Gropius. from Walter Gropius. The New Architecture and the Bauhaus. p25-30. (3)