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. According to Elaine Hoffman, Gropius had approached the Dutch architect Mart Stam to run the newly-founded architecture program, and when Stam declined the position, Gropius turned to Stam's friend and colleague in the ABC group, Hannes Meyer.

Meyer brought the Bauhaus its two most significant building commissions, both of which still exist: five apartment buildings in the city of Dessau, and the headquarters of the Federal School of the German Trade Unions (ADGB) in Bernau. The school turned its first profit under his leadership in 1929.

But Meyer also generated a great deal of conflict. As a radical functionalist, he had no patience with the aesthetic program, and forced the resignations of Herbert Bayer, Marcel Breuer, and other long-time instructors. As a vocal Communist, he encouraged the formation of a communist student organization. In the increasingly dangerous political atmosphere, this became a threat to the existence of the Dessau school, and in 1930 he was replaced by another celebrated architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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

Related Pages

Bauhaus Dessau Campus Building
Founder Walter Gropius  
"Degenerate Art" Exhibition

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...
In only 13-month construction time the key work of the modern age - the Bauhaus Dessau was built after plans of Walter Gropius. Since 1996 it belongs to the UNESCO world heritage. Read more about the Dessau school building.

The physical plant at Dessau survived World War II

and was operated as a design school with some architectural facilities by the German Democratic Republic. This included live stage productions in the Bauhaus theater under the name of Bauhausbühne ("Bauhaus Stage"). After German reunification, a reorganized school continued in the same building, with no essential continuity with the Bauhaus under Gropius in the early 1920s.

Gropius said: "One must walk all around this construction to grasp its physicalness and the function of his components". The buildings form a plastically jointed arrangement with interdependent, different construction bodies. Their functions are already to be recognised from the outside. The school rooms, the studio house and the workshops are connected by a 2-storied bridge with each other. Here were the construction office of Gropius and administrative rooms. Residential studios and kitchen were to be found in the studio building. Assembly hall and stage were accommodated in the low building between studio house and workshop tract. More about the Dessau school building.

During the 2-nd world war destroys partially and in 1976 appropriate for monument redeveloped the scientific-cultural centre which began with the construction of a Bauhaus collection was based in the same year. In 1984 the "educational centre Bauhaus Dessau" began with his work. The endowment Bauhaus Dessau was based in 1994. To the 80-year-old birthday of Bauhaus Dessau in December the 10-year-old renovation of the building was concluded.


The Bauhaus was welcomed

by the mayor of Dessau in 1925. Dessau was suitable location because its heavy industry could be used to produce Bauhaus products. A modern building complex was erected out of concrete glass and steel. Gropius designed classrooms, dormitories and faculty housing that were grouped in a complete artistic community.

In response to the past criticisms of the school's curriculum, Gropius emphasized the merger of the arts and industry in studios which produced textiles, home appliances and accessories and furniture. Gropius and his successor, Hannes Meyer, were removed for their political views, and replaced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. To eradicate the subversive elements in the student body, Mies expelled all of the students and then readmitted only the ones who were perceived as politically acceptable. (3)

Mies van der Rohe was piloting a sinking ship. He had to convince the city government that his school was not political (political meant, in this case, socialist/communist). He had a difficult time. Aside from the high number of socialist activities, the school’s population was between 10 and 50 percent foreign. In these days, the word “foreign” was virtually synonymous with “communist.”

In a last ditch effort, Mies expelled the entire student body, and readmitted select students after a personal political interview. This only drove the political organization underground, and couldn’t help the situation anyway, as the now ascendent Nazis were bent on closing the school. The city government dissolved the college in 1932. Mies transfered his camp to Berlin, opening up a private school for architecture in Berlin, 1933, named the Bauhaus Berlin. The school entered its third and last phase.


  Sources and related Links
  1) wikipedia.org - Bauhaus in Dessau
2) faltplatte.de - Bauhaus Dessau papercraft
3) designhistory.org - Bauhaus
  Image Rights  •  Contact  •  Credits  •  News