History of BauhausThe Bauhaus was founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius. Gropius came from the Werkbund Movement, which aimed to integrate art and economics, and to add an element of engineering to art. The Bauhaus was founded by the combining of the Weimar Art Academy and the Weimar Arts and Crafts School.Students were taught by both an artist and a master craftsman, to unite creative imagination with the practical knowledge of a craftsman, in order to develop a functional design. The Bauhaus were dependent on state funding. In 1924 the political composition of the Weimar parliament changed and the Bauhauss contract was terminated.
In 1925 the school moved to Dessau which was more industrialized and had a sympathetic mayor, Fritz Hesse, who welcomed the Bauhaus and secured funds for a new school building.During its time in Dessau, the Bauhaus went through three directors. First, Walter Gropius who resigned because he was tired of running the school. Second, Hannes Meyer, an extreme functionalist, who was dismissed because the Dessau government did not like his politicization of the school. And third, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who ran the school as an academy with his authoritarian dictatorship over the students.In 1932 the Parliament of Dessau changed and once again the Bauhaus were forced to move. Mies van der Rohe took the school to Berlin where it stayed until 1933 when the National Socialist government closed its door for being a hot-bed of cultural-bolshevism.
Bauhaus IdeologyThe school had three aims at its inception and throughout its life:To encourage the individual artisans and craftsmen to work cooperatively and combine all of their skills.To elevate the status of crafts, chairs, lamps, teapots, etc., to the same level enjoyed by fine arts, painting, sculpting, etc..To maintain contact with the leaders of industry and craft in an attempt to eventually gain independence from government support by selling designs to industry.
Walter Gropius (1883-1969)Born in Berlin, his father was an architect.Educated in private elementary school.1903 he left school and went to the Technical University in Munich to study architecture.1904-1905 he served in the military, then went back to school.1907 he left school without completion and went back to Berlin because of the death of his brother.1907-1910 he worked for Peter Brehens, a leading figure in the Werkbund Movement. He left Brehens when he thought he had learned all he could from him and started his own practice.
1919 he founded the Bauhaus school.1925 he moved with the Bauhaus to Dessau.1928 he left the Bauhaus and went to Berlin to start his own practice.1934 moved to England and worked with Maxwell Fry, one of the only Modernist architects who were Britain. He pioneered Modernist buildings in Third World countries. Gropius worked with him for three years. 1937 began professorship of architecture at Harvard University where he met Marcel Breuer.1945 joined a group of young architects known as The Architectural Collaborative (TAC).He was an advocate of industrialized building carrying with it a belief in teamwork and an acceptance of standardization and prefabrication.Invented the screen wall system that utilized a structural steel frame to support the floors and allowed the external glass wall to continue without interruption
The Bauhaus School in Dessau(1925 to 1926)
Bauhaus Masters House, Dessau (1926)
Gropius House, Lincoln , MA(1937)
Dining room drape could be closed for entertaining. While the Gropiuses entertained in the living room, a maid would be behind the drape preparing the dining room for dinner. Using museum lighting, Walter created a dramatic scene with the light illuminating just to the edge of the table.The guest would be in darkness while the crystal and tableware sparkled.
Living room-Contains a fireplace for its practical value as well as the psychological effect an open fire has on making you feel safe. The top shelf of the bookcase contains only books written by Gropius or ones he had collaborated on, so he would have copies on hand to sign and give to his guests.
Front entry - Curved staircase faces away from the entry signifying the upstairs as a private place. By removing the closet door, the closet is incorporated as a design element, as a way to introduce color and texture that would change with the seasons. Floor is a cork tile which is sound absorbing, durable, functional, and elegant.
Harvard Graduate Center (1950)A group of eight buildings arranged around large and small courtyards, which houses dormitories, common rooms, and a 250 capacity meeting hall.
Marcel Breuer (1902-1981)Born in Hungary.1920-1924 studied under Gropius.During his student years he designed furniture for the Bauhaus model house.1925-designed furniture for the new Bauhaus campus in Dessau and became head of furniture workshop.1928- started private practice in Berlin.1937-moved to America and worked as an architect with Gropius.1937-1947 taught at Harvard University.1946-1976 had his own practice in New York, until he retired.
Breuers buildings can be distinguished by his attention to detail and clarity of expression.He is considered on of the last true functionalist architects.He helped shift the bias of the Bauhaus from Arts & Crafts to Arts & Technology.Many pieces of furniture designed by him are still in production.
Slatted chair 1922Frame made of stained maple, back and seat are from horsehair. In 1921 Reitveldt exibited to the Bauhaus and influenced Breuers design.
Wassily Chair 1925Created from the inspiration of the shape and form of his bicycle handlebars. Was designed and made for Kadinsky. Frame was made of polished, bent, nickelled tubular steel. Seat came in canvas, fabric or leather. Breuer made a whole line of tubular steel furniture because of it many qualities. It is affordable for the masses, hygienic, and provides comfort without the need for springs.
Typists table 1928
From 1932 to 1934 Breuer designed a range of furniture made from flat bands of steel and aluminum. This furniture was more popular in the 1970s then it was when it was originally designed.
Breuer took his earlier metal designs and made five pieces of plywood furniture. He was influenced by an exhibition in 1933 of plywood furniture designed by Alvar Alto.
Robin Days Polyprop Chair
Washington D.C. 1963/68
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY 1966
Whitney Museum entrance
References20th Century Desinger book Marcel BreueDesign Technology book Marcel Lajos Breuer. Flores, G. Bauhaus. History of the Bauhaus. bookHuovio, Ilkka. Bauhaus: The New Man The New Technology. Morgan, Ann. & Naylor, Colin. Contemporary Architects, 2nd edition. Cicago:Saint James Press, 1987. Rowland, Anna. Bauhaus Source Book. New York:Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1990.