Bauhaus Dessau

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The reconstructed Bauhaus building
Aerial photo (2013)
Atelier building ' Prellerhaus '
Bauhaus Dessau
Bauhaus Dessau - entrance area and connecting wing

The Bauhaus Dessau , also Bauhaus building Dessau , is a building complex in Dessau-Roßlau . The building was built from 1925 to 1926 according to plans by Walter Gropius as a school building for the Bauhaus art, design and architecture school . The building itself and the nearby Masters' Houses established the Bauhaus's reputation as an “icon of modernism” . Parts that were destroyed in the war and structurally altered were largely reconstructed from 1965 onwards in line with the original. The building was restored in 1976 and partially modernized. Between 1996 and 2006 a renewed restoration and repair took place according to monument conservation principles.

Since 1996 the building complex has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bauhaus, which also includes the Haus am Horn , the art school building and the main building of the Bauhaus University in Weimar , the Masters' Houses in Dessau and, since 2017, the arcade houses there as well as the ADGB Federal School in Bernau counting.

Between 1925 and 1932, various other buildings by Bauhaus architects were also built in Dessau, including the Törten settlement, the employment office and the Kornhaus excursion restaurant .

Bauhaus building


Located in the international style constructed building consists of five additive arranged in wing shape, functionally structured parts: a wing building of the "Arts and Crafts School" (later technical colleges), the workshop wing with its distinctive glass curtain facade ( curtain wall ) and the studio building. In the studio house, the student studios are housed. The north wing of the crafts school and the workshop wing are connected by a two-story bridge . This was intended for administration rooms and the construction office of Gropius (later the architecture department of the Bauhaus). The auditorium and stage as well as the cafeteria of the Bauhaus are located in a flat building between the workshop wing and the studio building .

The special thing about the whole complex, in addition to the functional separation that was new at the time, is the fact that the wall of the workshop wing was completely dissolved in glass and created a great deal of excitement at the time. The pillars of the building are completely set back from the glass facade, so that the glass skirt extends over all three floors and the entire length of the building and is not interrupted. There is the impression of transparency, lightness and flatness. This new, transparent monumentality had overcome all prevailing notions of aesthetics.

The lack of ornamentation consequently determines the entire complex. The “open” facade creates a new, also educationally effective relationship between outside and inside, giving the impression of freedom and clarity. The slender glass facade ( curtain wall ) made of steel, however, caused major problems with regard to sun protection and building air conditioning . In the summer, the building heated up enormously as a result of the direct sunlight. A necessary sun protection system made of curtains, in turn, destroyed the intended transparency. In winter, the building cooled down very quickly due to the single glazing and had to be heated strongly. The ventilation takes place via mechanically controlled, very detailed louvre blades .

The protruding five-storey part of the building, which is known as the Prellerhaus , is particularly striking . After its completion in 1926, the 28 studios were used by young masters and students as living and working space. In 1930, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had his studios converted into large classrooms. It has been available for overnight stays since 2006.

The name of this part of the building was taken over when the Bauhaus moved from Weimar to Dessau from the studio building of the same name in Weimar, which is named after its builder Louis Preller .


Corner of the workshop building

As early as 1911, Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer jointly designed the Fagus factory in Alfeld (Leine). In doing so, they used elements that would later become characteristic and style-determining: the entire structure was functionally structured. Its purpose determined the form; its aesthetics resulted from its functionality. The facade design also gave an idea of ​​the future use. The revolutionary steel frame construction - load-bearing steel elements with tile infill covered by a flat roof - made it possible to dispense with static reinforcement of the building corners. These "open corners" were replaced by edge-encompassing glazing and balconies, giving an impression of lightness. The curtain wall itself did not carry any load, but showed the load-bearing elements, which thus became self-designing parts. New approaches were also taken in terms of color. The outer walls were kept in neutral, simple white, with different colors on the inside between load-bearing and cladding elements. Each of the thirteen workshops made its own special contribution, both as art and craft. a. Metal workshop, carpentry, glass painting, weaving, wall painting, harmonization theory, united by the architecture workshop run by Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer and later Mies van der Rohe.



As early as 1919, under the new management of Walter Gropius , who replaced Henry van de Velde , the Bauhaus was renamed and reorganized as the successor institution to the Weimar School of Art and Applied Arts founded in 1906 by the Grand Duke of Saxony-Weimar . Its director was the architect Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1928. After the relationship to the Thuringian state, which was increasingly dominated by right-wing political forces, had become increasingly critical, the Bauhaus had to be dissolved in 1925 under political pressure. The declaration of dissolution was published in numerous daily newspapers on December 29, 1924. However, it did not come into force until the expiry of the contracts, which were valid until March 31, 1925. The mayor of Dessau , Fritz Hesse , and his cultural advisor Ludwig Grote enabled Gropius to relocate the school to Dessau, where the Bauhaus was rebuilt between 1925 and 1926 based on designs by Gropius and recognized as the State University of Anhalt in 1926.


In March 1925, the Gropius office was commissioned by the city of Dessau to design the joint building for the Dessau School of Applied Arts and Crafts (from 1926 technical schools) and the Bauhaus. In September 1925, construction began on the joint school building. The topping-out ceremony was on March 21, 1926 and the inauguration on December 4, 1926. Master craftsmen and Bauhaus workshops had planned and carried out large parts of the furnishings themselves: Furniture and fixtures came from the carpentry workshop (seating in the auditorium by Marcel Breuer ). (The classrooms in the bridge wing as well as the workshops were equipped with stools from Rowac , Chemnitz.) The lamps in the metal workshop were mainly designed by Marianne Brandt (light fixtures in Max Krajewsky's auditorium). Upholstery and curtain fabrics were made in the company's own weaving mill Gunta Stölzl . The lettering came from the advertising workshop and the color design from the wall painting workshop.

When it was founded in 1926, an architecture department was set up for the first time, and the Swiss Hannes Meyer took over its management in 1927 . In 1928 Gropius resigned from the management. The politically active Meyer succeeded him on April 1, 1928 and expanded the architecture department, but was also dismissed for political reasons on August 1, 1930 and went to Moscow with a group of his students . He was followed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe , who, despite the technical and scientific strengthening of the school, did not succeed in keeping the Bauhaus out of the political turmoil.

time of the nationalsocialism

In 1931, a good year before Hitler came to power , the NSDAP won 15 of the 36 seats in the municipal council elections in Dessau, making it the strongest parliamentary group. In their leaflet for the elections on October 25, 1931, the National Socialists demanded as the first of eight points:

“Immediate cancellation of all expenses for the Bauhaus. Foreign teachers are to be terminated without notice, as it is incompatible with the responsibility that good community leadership has to bear towards its citizens that German people go hungry, while foreigners are paid in abundant amounts from the tax pennies of the starving people. German teachers are to be placed in Dessau or elsewhere through the mediation of the community. Accommodation is to be provided elsewhere for the craft schools in the Bauhaus. The demolition of the Bauhaus must be initiated immediately. "

At the municipal council meeting on January 21, 1932, the NSDAP demanded that the building be demolished. This and the decision to cancel the funds were barely prevented. On July 8, 1932, the National Socialist Alfred Freyberg , who was elected Prime Minister of the Free State of Anhalt , and the National Socialist art theorist and architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg visited the Bauhaus Dessau . Since the voting structure in the municipal council had changed in the meantime, the decision to close it was made on August 22, 1932 at the request of the NSDAP parliamentary group. Mies van der Rohe tried to continue as Bauhaus Berlin as a private institute in Berlin-Lankwitz ; but a short time later (1933) the institution was finally forced to dissolve itself by the National Socialists. The Dessau Bauhaus building served as the Gauführerschule in the Gau Magdeburg-Anhalt .

War and post-war period

Reconstructed appearance in 1983

In 1945 the building partially burned down after the heavy air raid on Dessau, and the glass facade of the workshop wing was also destroyed. It was rebuilt in a simplified manner (the glass curtain wall was not reconstructed) and u. a. used as a vocational school.

In 1976 there was a first attempt to return it to the original appearance, in which the destroyed glass curtain wall was also reconstructed using a remaining piece . For reasons of ease of maintenance, aluminum was used instead of steel. The Bauhaus was used as an educational center by the Office for Industrial Design , whose director Martin Kelm had campaigned heavily for its preservation and reconstruction.

The Bauhaus director's house (Burgkühnauer Allee 1–6, now Ebertallee) was also destroyed by an air raid and the Masters' Houses damaged.


Since 1994 the building in Dessau has been the seat of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation , which is committed to “preserving the heritage of the historic Bauhaus and communicating it to the public” and “in view of this heritage to make contributions to the design of today's living environment”. The building complex has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996 .

Repairs 1996-2006

Between 1996 and 2006 the Bauhaus Dessau was repaired and restored for 17 million euros according to the plans of the 1920s and findings.

The Bauhaus Dessau was included in the Blue Book in 2001. This is a list of nationally important cultural institutions in East Germany and currently includes 20 so-called cultural lighthouses .

After the last repair work was completed in 2009, the building can be viewed almost as it was originally planned and built. Nevertheless, there are differences to the original structure that cannot be resolved due to the changing history of the building, modern necessities and considerations relating to the preservation of historical monuments. These include, among others:

  • The glass facade of the workshop building was originally crystal-glazed and therefore reflected much more strongly than today's glazing made of normal glass. The original impression is still preserved on old photos by Lucia Moholy .
  • Furniture and door handles have been partially replaced by replicas that are as true to the original as possible. One of the reasons for this was that some of the old designs are now being industrially produced again. Other pieces such as the seating in the auditorium are new custom-made items.
  • The building materials used at the time were partly experimental, so that they required constant repairs. B. the floors made of stone wood screed or Triolin .
  • The building was re-electrified.
  • In the course of a fundamental redesign of the surrounding area, the outdoor area was also redesigned. The planner was the landscape architect Tobias Mann from Fulda.

Current usage

Today's signet

Today, most of the building is used by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, which was founded in 1994 and is tasked with preserving and conveying the legacy of the Bauhaus and keeping its ideas alive. To this end, she is involved in monument conservation and curatorial communication as well as teaching and research. The foundation also has its own collection and research library. The former student apartments on the balcony side of the east wing are rented out as apartments. There is also a lease agreement with the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences . Six rooms on the ground floor of the north wing are currently used for teaching activities.

For the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus in 2019, a newly built museum was opened in downtown Dessau on September 8, 2019 .

Masters' houses

German special postage stamp (2004)

In the vicinity of the Bauhaus (Ebertallee 65–71, 51 ° 50 ′ 35.5 ″  N , 12 ° 13 ′ 13.8 ″  E ) Walter Gropius built the Masters' Houses as accommodation for the masters of the Bauhaus. At the same time, they were model houses for modern living. The building owner was the city of Dessau, the Bauhaus masters lived for rent.

From east to west it was the single house Gropius and the twin houses Moholy-Nagy / Feininger , Muche / Schlemmer and Kandinsky / Klee . The three semi-detached houses had identical floor plans, with one half being almost the mirror image of the other, rotated by 90 degrees.

Characteristic for the architecture of the houses are the cubic shape with flat roof, large, single-colored surfaces and large windows that create a connection between inside and outside. This connection is also highlighted by the large terraces and balconies as well as the numerous doors: it is possible to step outside through a door from almost every room. Elements that are highly visible from the outside are also the central heating radiators, with which the “modern” should be conveyed to the outside for everyone to see. This even led to z. B. in the bathrooms, the radiators were attached to thermally unsuitable places, but were clearly visible from the outside through the window.

The large studio windows of the houses reflect the trees in front of the houses and allow them to merge with the same trees behind the houses. This means that these parts of the houses become invisible in a certain sense or appear transparent. It cannot be said whether this lightness or openness effect was already intended by the building owners, as the trees at that time have not been passed down in detail.

The master houses of Gropius and Moholy-Nagy were destroyed by a bombardment in 1945. In the 1950s, a house with a traditional gable roof construction was built on the foundations of the destroyed Gropius house (House Emmer). The bombed-out half of Moholy-Nagy's house was demolished and an open space was created so that Feininger's house stood alone (it is currently used by the Kurt-Weill-Zentrum ).

The still existing houses were z. Partly restored with private funds. An attempt was also made to restore the original color design of the interior, which was based on the Bauhaus theory of colors. Since the color design of the interior also depended on the respective resident, one can find exemplary color schemes in the rooms today, which only try to reproduce the condition of a room at a certain time.

The few historical photographs of the interior fittings that existed show that the residents of the Masters' Houses adapted the interior design to the zeitgeist of the time, completely opposite to the external appearance. Only Moholy-Nagy furnished his house according to the results, specifications and products of the Bauhaus. Today a wall in the Kandinsky house has been reconstructed true to the original, covered with gold leaf.

In the meantime, the Gropius and Moholy-Nagy Masters' Houses, which were destroyed in the war, have been rebuilt as abstract reinterpretations of the original architecture at the suggestion of the British architect David Chipperfield under the direction of the Berlin office of Bruno-Fioretti-Marquez. The interior walls were designed by the concept artist Olaf Nicolai with different types of plaster and white tones, which gives a changing impression depending on the incidence of light. The official reopening of the Masters' Houses took place on May 16, 2014 by Federal President Gauck. The earlier discussion about whether the houses should be reconstructed true to the original is therefore outdated.

One in the vicinity of the Masters' Houses, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe built pump room was demolished in the 1970s. In 2013 the drinking hall was rebuilt as part of the urban repairs to the Meisterhaussiedlung.

Törten settlement

Furthermore, a settlement with a total of 314 row houses (Großring, Mittelring, Kleinring) was built in Törten in what is now Dessau-Süd in 1926/1928. The settlement should also be an example of how the rampant housing shortage during the Weimar Republic could be combated. The living space of the houses was accordingly very small at 57 to 75 m². At the same time, each house had a spacious garden of 350 to 400 m², which was supposed to be used for self-sufficiency. An industrial construction with the mass production of components ensured low costs. The units were sold and not rented out in order to make the owners independent of rising rents. Architecturally, the settlement also offered some innovations. In accordance with Gropius' maxim that building is also the design of life processes, the buildings take into account considerations about solar radiation at different times of the day and year and about the processes in a residential building. Because of the flat roof construction, the houses were heavily criticized by conservatives.

The settlement underwent numerous subsequent changes. In particular, the window fronts have been changed almost entirely. Numerous individual facade designs have softened the original uniform impression of the settlement, which is still well preserved despite these renovations. The Haus Anton in the double row 35 is largely preserved in its original state and is on a guided tour to visit. The house at Mittelring 38 was restored true to the original from 1992 and is now used by the Moses Mendelssohn Society.

The consumer building (a kind of enclosed department store) built in 1928 based on a design by Walter Gropius became a center of the Törten settlement. It consists of two nested cubes, a horizontal shop section and a vertical three-story residential section. It is still used today. In the former part of the shop there is now an information center on the Törten settlement, which offers daily tours.

Arcade houses

As part of the planned expansion of the Törten settlement, the arcade houses (Mittelbreite, Peterholzstrasse) to the south of it and built between 1929 and 1930 were designed. They were created under the direction of Hannes Mayer, who succeeded Gropius as director of the Bauhaus. In contrast to the buildings of the original Törten settlement, the arcade houses are multi-storey residential buildings with the eponymous, external arcade that connects the apartment entrances with the stairwell. In keeping with Meyer's slogan “People's need instead of luxury”, the living space was extremely tight here too. 48 m² should be enough for a family of up to four. The apartments were rented for a small amount. Nowadays, a faithfully restored model apartment can be viewed.

The arcade houses have been part of the Bauhaus UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2017.

Building construction

In August 2019, scientists and students at the University of Kassel, under the direction of Prof. Philipp Oswalt , built a residential building in the arcade settlement according to the plans of the architect and Bauhaus teacher Ludwig Hilberseimer .

More buildings

The Fieger house is close to the settlement on Südstrasse . The house, which was built in the summer of 1927, is the only implemented design by Carl Fieger from a series of plans for small houses that were to be built in an efficient way with versatile rooms. It cannot be viewed as a privately used residential building.

Steel house by Georg Muche and Richard Paulick

The so-called steel house was built in 1926/1927 and was a joint effort by Richard Paulick and the Bauhaus master Georg Muche . They wanted to continue the rationalization efforts of Walter Gropius (prefabrication of concrete parts) by using prefabricated steel plates in the dry assembly process. The steel house, however, remained an experiment because it had to struggle with the “hot-cold problem” due to the properties of the material. After restoration, it housed an information center on the above-mentioned until June 2011. Törten settlement. Today it can be visited as part of daily guided tours.

The former employment office

The first municipal employment office (today the Office for Order and Traffic of the City of Dessau-Roßlau) was built in 1928/1929 based on designs by Walter Gropius. Gropius' private construction office also carried out the construction. Richard Paulick played a key role in the construction of the employment office, the external impression of which, however, was massively changed due to the wooden windows that were added later.

The Kornhaus excursion restaurant was built in 1929/1930 on behalf of the city of Dessau and the Schultheiss-Patzenhofer brewery directly on the Elbe dike according to plans by Carl Fieger. The name is reminiscent of an old granary that stood here directly on the Elbe from the middle of the 18th century to the 1870s. The building is still used today as a restaurant.

Bauhaus tour

Guide to the Bauhaus tour

The Bauhaus tour is a 17 km long cycle path. The signposted circular route connects all the architectural monuments of Bauhaus architecture in Dessau.


  • Kirsten Baumann: Bauhaus Dessau. Architecture, design, idea. Jovis, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-939633-11-2 .
  • Wolfgang Thöner: The Bauhaus. Guide through his buildings in Dessau. Edition RK, Dessau 2006, ISBN 978-3-934388-19-2 .
  • New Masters' Houses for Dessau - The Repaired Settlement. Special publication of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 2013, 52 pages, without ISBN.
  • Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (ed.): New Masters' Houses in Dessau , 1925–2014. Debates. Positions. Contexts (= Edition Bauhaus. 46). Spector Books, Leipzig 2017, ISBN 978-3-944669-61-8 (with photographers by Heidi Specker and Armin Linke).
  • Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (ed.): Bauhaus World Heritage Site (= Bauhaus Taschenbuch. 21). Spector Books, Leipzig 2017, ISBN 978-3-95905-153-8 .
  • Bauhaus Dessau Foundation (ed.): The Bauhaus building in Dessau (= Bauhaus Taschenbuch. 5). 2nd, reviewed edition, Spector Books, Leipzig 2016, ISBN 978-3-95905-126-2 .
  • Philipp Oswalt (Ed.): Bauhaus dispute. 1919-2009. Controversies and adversaries . Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2009, ISBN 978-3-7757-2454-8 .


  • Design legend and home. The Masters' Houses of Dessau. Documentary, Germany, 2016, 29:34 min., Script and direction: Anna Schmidt, production: MDR , series: Der Osten - Discover where you live , first broadcast: November 22, 2016 on MDR, synopsis from MDR with online video available until November 22, 2017.

Web links

Commons : Bauhaus Dessau  - collection of images, videos and audio files


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Robin Rehm: The Bauhaus building in Dessau. The aesthetic categories purpose - form - content . Gebr.-Mann-Verlag, Berlin 2005, p. 77 f .
  2. Manfred Sack : The restored Bauhaus in Dessau and the new Bauhaus archive in Berlin. In: ERCO Lichtbericht, 12, 1981, (PDF; 7 p., 3.2 MB).
  3. Flyer, shown in: Philipp Oswalt (Ed.): Dessau 1945. Modern destroyed. 2014, ISBN 978-3-944669-57-1 .
  4. Postcard of the “Gau (guide) school” in Dessau. ( Memento from October 12, 2016 in the web archive ). In: and postcard with the " Gauführerschule der NSDAP". In: , accessed on December 27, 2016.
  5. ^ The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation today
  6. Bauhaus Dessau: The icon of modernity is 80. ( Memento from December 5, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) In: MDR Figaro , December 4, 2006.
  7. Realized project - Bauhaus Dessau environment with photos. In: , December 17, 2018.
  8. D-06846 Dessau. Bauhaus. Technical data of the paving, benches and blocks, curbs. In: , accessed on December 27, 2016.
  9. ^ Opening of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau. Retrieved September 9, 2019 .
  10. Harald Martenstein : An uncomfortable show-off house. In: Die Zeit , No. 30, July 16, 2009.
  11. Icons of Modernism, revisited. The Bauhaus Masters' Houses in Dessau have been reconstructed. ( Memento from March 25, 2013 in the Internet Archive ). In: Deutschlandradio Kultur , May 16, 2014, Olaf Nicolai in conversation with Britta Bürger.
  12. ^ Masters' houses at the Bauhaus Dessau are reopened. ( Memento from May 17, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). In: Goethe-Institut , May 16, 2014.
  13. Marcus Mrass: Background to the Dessau Reconstruction Debate. ( Memento from December 28, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) In: DenkmalDebatten , November 2009.
  14. ^ Bauhaus housing estate Dessau-Törten. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, accessed on June 26, 2018 .
  15. ^ House Anton - living in the Dessau-Törten settlement. In:
  16. ^ House Anton in the Törten estate - reopening of the almost completely preserved model house in 2012. In: .
  17. Report on the reconstruction and renovation of the row house at Mittelring 38, Office for Monument Preservation of the City of Dessau. In: , accessed on April 14, 2019.
  18. Arcade houses. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, accessed on June 26, 2018 .
  19. New Bauhaus building erected in Dessau. In: University of Kassel. August 8, 2019, accessed October 21, 2019 .
  20. Route of the Bauhaus tour recorded in the online map

Coordinates: 51 ° 50 ′ 21 ″  N , 12 ° 13 ′ 36 ″  E