There’s a clear transition in time where architecture and design took a step from behind closed doors for the sole purview of the rich and royal and out into the open for public and general consumption. It’s no surprise the years from the end of the 19th-century into the 20th-century marked big changes, with Art Nouveau at the time as part of the Secession movement. Throughout Europe, rebellion and revolution were in the air, economically, politically, and culturally.
The Bauhaus movement also helped initiate a conversation, creating and fostering a relationship between industry’s machinery and artistic or cultural creativity. Bauhaus opened in Weimar in 1919, before moving to Dessau and Berlin. The rise of the National Socialists deemed Bauhaus “degenerate” and did all they could to eliminate a movement and her people deemed counter to National Socialist policy. With Bauhaus’ forced closure in 1933 by the Nazis, a number of practitioners escaped Germany to other parts of the world, including the United States and Argentina.
For their deep and wide-ranging influence on 20th-century art, architecture, and design, an incomplete list of names includes Martin Gropius, Lyonel Feininger, Gerhard Marcks, Paul Klee, Wassily Kandinsky, Oskar Schlemmer, Herbert Bayer, Irene Bayer (née Hecht), Karla Grosch, Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, etc. In particular, László Moholy-Nagy would move to Chicago in the United States and established in 1937 the New Bauhaus which became the Institute of Design in 1944.
Tucked away on a university campus a few minutes south of the Weimar city centre, two important building lie across from each other: the Saxony Academy of Art1 building and the Grand Ducal Saxony School of Arts and Crafts (College of Applied Arts)2. The former is now the main building for the present-day Bauhaus University, and the latter now houses Bauhaus University’s Faculty of Design. In 1996, these two buildings formed a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS) listing and designation for Bauhaus sites in Weimar and Dessau.
1 Grossherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstschule Weimar.
2 Grossherzoglich-Sächsische Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar, “Winkelbau”.
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