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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Germany : Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau (1996)


Between 1919 and 1933, the Bauhaus School, based first in Weimar and then in Dessau, revolutionized architectural and aesthetic concepts and practices. The buildings put up and decorated by the school's professors (Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky) launched the Modern Movement, which shaped much of the architecture of the 20th century.


The Committee decided to inscribe the nominated property on the basis of cultural criteria (ii), (iv) and (vi) considering that the site is of outstanding universal value since these buildings are the seminal works of the Bauhaus architectural school, the foundation of the Modern Movement which was to revolutionize artistic and architectural thinking and practice in the twentieth century. The Committee also noted that this type of inscription testifies a better recognition of the 20th century heritage.

Long Description

The Bauhaus is an outstanding example of the Modern Movement, which revolutionized artistic and architectural thinking and practice in the 20th century, and in particular of the progressive architectural concepts of the Jugendstil.
In 1919 the Schools of Art and of Applied Arts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony were combined to form the State Bauhaus of Weimar. The building of the former had been constructed in two phases, in 1904 and 1911, to the designs of Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), replacing the original structure of 1860.
The new building is representative of the progressive architectural concepts of the Jugendstil, in the transitional phase between Historicism and Modernism. The building was decorated with murals painted by Herbert Beyer in 1923 following the internationally famous Bauhaus exhibition. Van de Velde was responsible for the design of the former School of Applied Arts (1905-6), also in the Jugendstil tradition. Oskar Schlemmer added wall sculptures in 1923, which had disappeared, but have been replaced by copies.
The Haus am Horn was built to a design by Georg Muche in 1923 as a model building and exhibit, the first practical statement of the New Building Style of the Bauhaus. Annexes (a gatehouse, more rooms, a verandah, and a terrace facing the garden) were made in 1925; however, the original appearance is unchanged. It is the only original Bauhaus building remaining in Weimar.
The Weimar Bauhaus was obliged to close in 1925 for political reasons. Walther Gropius found support for his cultural and political stance in Dessau, along with the opportunity to create a number of large-scale new buildings. These were situated on the outskirts of the town, and comprise the Bauhaus itself and the Masters' Houses (Meisterhäuser), all commissioned by the Municipality of Dessau and built in 1925-26. The latter were the residences of the successive directors of the Bauhaus and some of its distinguished teachers.
From 1928 then until 1932 the institution enjoyed its most influential period in its struggle for the renewal of artistic and industrial design. It attracted world-famous artists such as Feininger, Kandinsky and Moholy-Nagy to its teaching staff. The Bauhaus was closed down in 1933, the building itself being used for other purposes. The interior was completely destroyed in a 1943 air raid, and no renovation was carried out until 1956.
The former School of Art is an extended tripartite building with an east wing on four axes. The central portion is triaxial and there is an irregular triaxial West wing, as well as an extension to the south with a hall lit from above. The centrally oriented crown with an air dome on the ventilation system is structured as a ridge turret. The Van de Velde building (the former School of Applied Arts) is an angular structure with division created by plaster strips under a traditional attic, given rhythmic form by dormer windows. The south gable has a monumental quality resulting from its arches of natural stone and has window openings traversed by unmasked steel bearers. The Haus am Horn is a cubic building; set back on the flat roof is a raised structure covering the high central living room with skylights and only one window at eye-level, set in a niche.
The School building itself is composed of three cubes in an asymmetrical arrangement, with all the sides of equal significance. On the north are the technical teaching rooms, a municipal trade school not administratively related with the Bauhaus. The two school blocks were given distinctive appearances. On the east, connected with the workshop block by a cross-wing housing a canteen and auditorium, is the five-storey studio and residential building for students. The complex of Meisterhäuser consists of one detached house and three semi-detached, each of two units. Their external form is determined by their internal function.
Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC

Historical Description

In 1919 the Schools of Art and of Applied Arts of the Grand Duchy of Saxony were combined to form the State Bauhaus of Weimar. The building of the former had been constructed in two phases, in 1904 and 1911, to the designs of Henry van de Velde (1863-1957), then Director of the School of Applied Arts, replacing the original structure of 1860, the year the School was founded. The new building is representative of the progressive architectural concepts of the Jugendstil, in the transitional phase between Historicism and Modernism. The building was decorated with murals painted by Herbert sever in 1923 following the internationally famous Bauhaus exhibition.
Van de Velde was responsible for the design of the former School of Applied Arts (1905-6), also in the Jugendstil tradition. Oskar Schlemmer added wall sculptures in 1923; these had disappeared, but have now been replaced by copies.
The Haus am Horn was built to a design by Georg Muche in 1923 as a model building and exhibit, the first practical statement of the New Building Style of the Bauhaus. Annexes (a gatehouse, more rooms, a verandah, and a terrace facing the garden) were made in 1925. However, the original appearance as seen from the road is virtually unchanged. It is the only original Bauhaus building remaining in Weimar.
The Weimar Bauhaus was obliged to close in 1925 for political reasons. Gropius found support for his cultural and political stance in Dessau, along with the opportunity to create a number of large-scale new buildings. These were situated on the outskirts of the town, and comprise the Bauhaus itself and the Masters• Houses (Meisterhäuser), all commissioned by the municipality of Dessau and built in 1925-26. The latter were the residences of the successive Directors of the Bauhaus and some of its distinguished teachers.
Hannes Meyer replaced Gropius as Director in 1928, followed two years later by Mies van der Rohe. From then until 1932 the institution enjoyed its most influential period in its struggle for the renewal of artistic and industrial design. It attracted world-famous artists such as Feininger, Kandinsky, and Moholy-Nagy to its teaching staff.
The Bauhaus was closed down in 1933, the building itself being used for other purposes. The interior was completely destroyed in a 1943 air-raid, and no renovation was carried out until 1956. The Masters• Houses were also badly damaged during this raid, the Director's house being completely destroyed; restoration and reconstruction work was carried out in the 19505.

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