Bauhaus architecture characteristics historical context stages


Generic name given to the Staachitles Bauhaus in Weimar. In this article we will provide you the information about the characteristics of Bauhaus architecture.

Bauhaus is the generic name given to the Weimar Bauhaus Staachitles ( Weimar State Building House). This was a school of architecture, art and design that operated in Germany between 1919 and 1933.

Despite its short duration, the novelty of its teaching methods, as well as its philosophical stance regarding the relationship between art, architecture and industry changed these disciplines and was fundamental for the development of the different branches of design up to the present. It is considered one of the vanguards of the interwar period.

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Historical context of the Bauhaus

During the 19th century , in the context of the Second Industrial Revolution, England led the way in research on industrial production processes thanks to its schools of industrial arts and crafts. At the same time, some movements had developed, such as Arts & Crafts , which questioned the dehumanization of mass-produced goods and sought to return to a form of work similar to that of medieval guilds.

Both models were taken by the German Empire to create workshops for manual arts with the aim of improving their production and placing innovation and quality of the goods they manufactured in the first place.

The First World War stopped that process of development of schools and workshops that was taken up again in the interwar period, especially during the so-called “Weimar Republic”, in an attempt to build a new Germany with a young and innovative spirit. In this spirit, the Bauhaus was created from the merger of the School of Arts and Crafts and the Weimar Higher School of Arts under the direction of the architect Walter Gropius with the premise of researching and creating a culture of the people and for the people .

Stages of the Bauhaus school

The stages of the Bauhaus school were as follows:

  • Between 1919 and 1928 the school was directed by Walter Gropius . The first part of this period (until 1924) is known as the Expressionist Stage and was characterized by the spirit of creative inquiry and experimentation. In 1925, after the triumph of the right in Weimar, the school lost state support and moved to Dessau.
  • The move to Dessau took place in the context of a change of spirit at the school. This was oriented more towards architecture and towards a more constructivist line . In the new location, and under the direction of Gropius, the school building, a complex of rooms for the students and a group of houses for the teachers were constructed whose design laid the foundations of modern architecture in Germany. In 1928, Hannes Mayer assumed the direction , who introduced innovations such as the analysis of the consumer and the prices of the products as variables to be considered in the production design.
  • In 1930, the architect Mies Van der Rohe took over the leadership of the Bauhaus and changed its orientation towards architecture. The advance of National Socialism on Germany was restricting the area of ​​action of the school, considered from its beginnings as a democratic space with socialist tendencies. On August 22, 1932, the Nazi government finally ordered its closure, so Van der Rohe transferred it to Berlin as a private School of Architecture.. But the harassment of the Gestapo and the imposition of measures such as the expulsion of Jewish teachers and students and the obligation to carry out a program oriented to National Socialism made the assembled teachers and students decide to dissolve the school on July 19, 1933 .

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Bauhaus Features

The main characteristics of the Bauhaus school were:

  • The philosophical foundations of the school were published in the inaugural manifesto. Some of its premises were:
    • The inexistence of essential difference between the artist and the craftsman . The artist should be a perfection of the craftsman. The basis of a good artisan work was indispensable for every artist.
    • The need to form a guild of artisans without classist pretensions.
    • The will to change the future through constant research and experimentation .
  • Their educational system was based on the principle of ” learning by doing “. This was applied through a theoretical training section and a productive, practical section. It included an experimental program of practice in workshops of weaving, metals, glass, free painting, scenography, graphic printing, ceramics, carpentry, etc.
  • He upheld the need to build a democratic society in which the concept of “classes” was eliminated. In such a society, communication would no longer be hierarchical but intersubjective. Within the Bauhaus , for example, collaborative research between students and teachers was proposed .
  • He understood that rationality should govern all orders of life, from the organization of cities to the design of houses, clothing, utensils, etc. In that sense, the function of objects, from a building to a kitchen utensil, is what should determine their shape.
  • He theorized and specified the principle of standardization for mass production . This standardization should not imply uniformity, but, through the analysis of the form, the objects should be a stimulus for the user.
  • His principles about research and production laid the foundations for current disciplines such as graphic design, industrial design, textile design, modern architecture, etc.

Members of the Bauhaus

Among the many members of the Bauhaus, we can mention:

  • Walter Gropius (1883-1969) : architect, founder of the Bauhaus and first director.
  • Paul Klee (1879-1940) : painter, teacher between 1921 and 1931.
  • Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1955) : painter, teacher between 1922 and 1933.
  • Joseph Albers (1888-1976) : painter and art teacher.
  • Johannes Itten (1888-1967) : painter and art teacher
  • László Moholy-Nagy (1896-1946) : visual designer, painter, typographer and photographer.
  • Gunta Stölzl (1897-1983) : weaver, student and school teacher.
  • Marianne Brandt (1893-1983) : student and teacherMetal designer.
  • Hannes Mayer (1889-1954) : architect and urban planner, second director of the school.
  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) : architect, last director of the school.

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