Bauhaus > design school

The Bauhaus is considered the most famous and influential design school of the 20th century. Its aim was to bring together art, crafts and industry and to comprehensively reform design education. Based on the teaching of design fundamentals, materials science and free experimentation in individual workshops, new forms were to be created that could be easily manufactured in increasingly industrial processes. This idea was already partly embraced by other movements such as the Deutscher Werkbund craftsmen’s association. However, the educational concept at the Bauhaus would be the first to set a global standard.

Locations, goals and history
The Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius. As director until 1928, he would essentially determine the school’s direction and overall destiny. The Bauhaus was initially located in the city of Weimar, about 300 kilometres (186 miles) south-west of Berlin. The Bauhaus set itself up at the Weimar School of Applied Arts founded in 1907 by architect Henry van de Velde in 1907, whose program was incorporated into the new Bauhaus curricula. In 1925, the school moved to nearby Dessau, where the teaching and workshop facilities were more clearly oriented towards industrial production. In Dessau, the school moved into a spectacular, newly designed complex that embodied the maxims of the New Building movement. In 1928, Hannes Meyer took over as director, and with his socio-political slogan "Needs of the people over the needs of luxury", the Bauhaus focussed even more on Functionalism as a design principle and promoted cost-effective mass production. The National Socialists, however, did not take kindly to this development. They saw the Bauhaus as a left-wing hotbed of new talent and strongly disapproved of its modern forms. Under the next director, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Bauhaus moved to Berlin in 1932 and operated as a purely private institution. Nevertheless, the school was forced to dissolve in 1933 due to ongoing reprisals by the Nazis.

Post-war period and significance today
The great influence of the Bauhaus school is undisputed. Divided into preliminary courses and master classes, its curricula would later serve as a template for modern design education. New disciplines such as graphic, textile and industrial design originated here. Many former masters such as Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius emigrated to the United States in the 1930s and taught at the renowned Harvard University in Boston. The Bauhaus teachings continued in the New Bauhaus school founded in Chicago, under the direction of former Bauhaus master László Moholy-Nagy. In Germany, an attempt was made in the early 1950s to tie in with the original Bauhaus curricula by founding the Ulm School of Design. Today, the special significance of the Bauhaus is reflected not least in the widespread use of the term "Bauhaus style". However, its broad use is controversial, since there were many other important reform and avant-garde movements before and during the Bauhaus era. For example, Berlin’s World Heritage housing estates are not Bauhaus architecture in the strict sense, but do show some parallels.

Bauhaus Dessau, building by Walter Gropius, photo: BB