The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Alternate use: There is also a British rock band named Bauhaus.

Bauhaus is the common term for the Staatliches Bauhaus, an art and architecture school in Germany that operated from 1919 to 1933, and for the approach to design that it developed and taught. The most natural meaning for its name (related to the German verb for "build") is Architecture House. Bauhaus style became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture.

The school was founded by Walter Gropius at Weimar in 1919, as a merger of the Grand Ducal School of the Plastic Arts with the Kunstgewerbeschule . Most of the contents of the workshops had been sold off during the war. The early intention was for the Bauhaus to be a combined architecture school, crafts school, and academy of the arts. Much internal and external conflict followed.

Gropius argued that a new period of history had begun with the end of the war, and wanted to create a new architectural style to reflect this new era. His style in architecture and consumer goods was to be functional, cheap and consistent with mass production. To these ends, Gropius wanted to re-unite art and craft to arrive at high-end functional products with artistic pretensions. He was the head of the school from 1919 to 1928.

The Bauhaus was largely subsidized by the early Weimar Republic. After a change in government, the school moved to Dessau in 1925, where the Bauhaus University was built. In 1927, the Bauhaus style and its most famous architects heavily influenced the exhibition "Die Wohnung" ("The Dwelling") organized by "Deutscher Werkbund" in Stuttgart. A major component of that exhibition was the Weissenhof Siedlung , a "settlement" or housing project.

Bauhaus School in Dessau
Bauhaus School in Dessau

The school was mainly concerned with architecture, and often built affordable public housing for the Weimar government, but also dealt with other branches of art. The Bauhaus issued a magazine called "Bauhaus" and a series of books called "Bauhausbücher". Its head of printing and design was Herbert Bayer.

Gropius was succeeded in turn by Hannes Meyer and then Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; the Bauhaus was moved again in 1932 to Berlin, and was closed on the orders of the Nazi regime in 1933. The Nazi Party and other fascist political groups had opposed the Bauhaus throughout the 1920s. They considered it a front for communists, especially because many Russian artists were involved with it. Nazi writers such as Wilhelm Frick and Alfred Rosenberg called the Bauhaus "un-German," and criticized its modernist styles.

The Bauhaus had a major impact on art and architecture trends in western Europe and the United States in the decades following its demise, as many of the artists involved fled or were exiled by the Nazi regime.

One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft and technology. The machine was considered a positive element and therefore industrial and product design were important components. Vorkurs ("initial course") was taught; this is the modern day Basic Design course that has become one of the key foundational courses offered in architectural schools all over the world. There was no teaching of history in the school because everything was supposed to be designed and created according to first principles rather than following precedent.

The most important contribution of Bauhaus is in the field of furniture design . The world famous and ubiquitous Cantilever chair by designer Mart Stam , using the tensile properties of steel, is an example.

In 1999 Bauhaus-Dessau College started to organize postgraduate programs with participants from all over the world by the support of Bauhaus-Dessau Foundation which was founded in 1994 as a public institution.

Some other outstanding artists of the times were lecturers at the Bauhaus :


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Last updated: 05-09-2005 20:50:01