Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessau are the most prominent representations of the Bauhaus architectural school (1919-1933).
The "Staatliche Bauhaus" was founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius. In Weimar the Art School, the Applied Art School and the Haus am Horn are part of this WHS. The Art Schools were designed by the Belgian master Henry van de Velde. The Haus am Horn was the first practical statement: a Bauhaus settlement of single family houses like this was planned. But due to political pressure the Bauhaus had to leave Weimar in 1925.
They ended up in Dessau, where the second (and more successful) phase of Bauhaus started. Prominent here were Hannes Meyer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In Dessau the designated sites are the Bauhaus building and the group of seven Masters Houses. Especially the Bauhaus building, made out of concrete, glass and steel, is a landmark in 20th century architecture.
Visit March 2005
The video in the Bauhaus Museum in Weimar is a perfect introduction to the history of the Bauhaus school. It was literally a school: with pupils (men and women), a curriculum and inspirational teachers. A half year introduction course with a strong theoretical emphasis (and some meditation!) was mandatory. After that, the students were trained by both artists and craftsmen.
The museum exhibits documents related to the Bauhaus history and shows several functional objects made by Bauhaus artists. Some chairs and household utensils are still being produced. I found it really worth visiting.
I also had a look at the three WH-listed Bauhaus monuments in Weimar. The Haus am Horn is situated in a residential street near Weimars classical monuments in the Park on the Ilm. It's a simple building. The two buildings that housed the Art Schools are also preserved quite well. One can almost imagine the long haired, artsy students coming and going.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
I visited the Bauhaus sites in Weimar in June 2013. The University and Goethe's garden house were interesting to visit but the highlight in Weimar is the Haus am Horn. I'm no architecture buff and it most certainly is NOT a spectacular sight to see ... but when I considered WHEN it was built and how this influenced the way apartments are built today, I got to appreciate its OUV and look forward to visiting Dessau in the near future. I still very much prefer the Rietveld Schroderhuis in Utrecht but at least such important buildings are open to the public so I was happy enough to be able to visit.
| Date posted: July 2013|
|Assif Am-David (Israel):|
On my stay in Weimar we visited the two sites of the Bauhaus nomination that are there: the Bauhaus University and Haus am Horn.
Haus am Horn was built as a model and is therefore very very small. Unfortunately, it was closed so we could only admire the exterior. This was pretty underwhelming, mainly compared with such sites as Tel Aviv or Villa Tugendhat. Maybe a tour through the building would have made it look more important.
The Bauhaus University is, on the other hand, a living building with students and lecturers moving around it. It preserved its original design and I find it worthy of visit not only for historic reasons, but also for architectonic ones.
| Date posted: May 2012|
|Hubert Scharnagl (Austria):|
The impact of the Bauhaus on modern architecture and design is undoubtedly immense. Everyone can find traces of these ideas in his everyday live: buildings, furniture and objects of daily use. Although the Bauhaus School was founded in Weimar in 1919, the building in Dessau (photo) designed by Walter Gropius is the symbol of the Bauhaus idea: the unity of art and technology based on function. The glass curtain walls are striking, Gropius has used this element for the first time at the Fagus Factory. I would recommend to take a guided tour, even though they are in German language. The tour takes you through many parts of the building that are not open to individual visitors: the auditorium, the cafeteria, the director's office, a student flat. Everywhere you can see examples (such as door handles, furniture, lamps) that the interior design follows the same principles as the architecture.
The Masters' Houses are just a few minutes away from the school building and well worth a visit. After the move from Weimar to Dessau, Gropius designed three twin-houses for the Bauhaus masters and a single house for the director himself. Although the houses are constructed from the same basic elements, the interiors were designed differently according to the tastes of the residents. The house of Gropius and one half of a Master's House were destroyed in the WWII. In 2011/2012, both buildings are going to be reconstructed in their original form.
There are other examples of the Bauhaus architecture in Dessau, that are not included in the WHS, but probably interesting for fans of modern architecture. In the district of Dessau-Törten, Gropius designed a housing estate of terraced houses with kitchen gardens. The intention was to build affordable houses for the masses. The housing estate is well preserved, but the buildings have undergone many modifications. Especially, the window fronts are changed almost everywhere. One house has been reconstructed in the original form, it is used by the Moses-Mendelssohn-Society and can be visited. There is also a daily guided tour through the Törten estate (start at the Konsum Building). During the tour the visitors can also see an apartment in a “Laubenganghaus” (house with balcony access) and the Steel House. Near the train station is the former Employement Office designed by Gropius. It is still used as a public building (nowadays the city's Traffic Office) and can be visited during opening times. Near the Elbe river is the restaurant Kornhaus, that should be visited not only for its architecture but also because of the excellent food. The terrace offers a magnificent view to the Elbe, this area is part of the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve.
During my visit I realized how important the influence of the Bauhaus really was. Many of the ideas that were developed in Weimar and Dessau are today a matter of course and part of our everyday lives. All in all one of my favourite WHS - however, I'm obviously a fan of modern architecture.
We had accommodation at the lovely bed-and-breakfast "7 Säulen" (7 Pillars) opposite to the Master's Houses, which I can also recommend.
| Date posted: October 2011|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
I visited the Bauhaus Museum and the Masters' Houses in Dessau, a housing estate in Dessau-Sud as well as the Bauhaus University and the Haus am Horn in Weimar. Whilst I realise that in the 1920s and 30s this architecture was exceptional, 80 years later it is commonplace, so I wonder why they are WHS. Is it enough that they were the first to justify the listing.
| Date posted: October 2010|
|Berndt Meyer (Canada):|
I visited the house in Weimar, at the edge of the park, the grounds of the local Schloss....Goethe lived there for some time also about 200 m away in his time.
I walked the inside and found it ample and practical.
The active and bedrooms located around the living-room with its elevated and windowed atrium was at the comfortable center of the place. It can only be compared with an Adobe style house of the Navaho, they also went vertical in tiers.
| Date posted: July 2009|
|Ian Cade (England):|
If your idea of a good World Heritage site is a historic city centre, then this is perhaps not the best place to visit as arriving from the train station the Bauhaus itself could easily be mistaken for any other municipal building pretty much anywhere in the world. However if like me you have a keen interest in modern architecture or design this is less a visit and more a pilgrimage.
The main building of the Bauhaus was designed by Walter Gropius after the school was forced to relocate due to political changes in Wiemar. Gropius is one of the key architects of the twentieth century and this building is his masterpiece. As I have already said it seems to look like many other buildings throughout the world, however it would be more accurate to say that all the other buildings look like this one.
It feels instantly familiar being like the buildings I have used for everything in my life; schools, housing blocks, offices and hospitals and this is where its great value lies. Many of the aims of the Bauhaus have been corrupted, as shown by the particularly expensive gift shop, however the international spread of ideas and objects pioneered in this building are undeniable.
I would recommend taking the guided tour, it was only available in German however it allows you to see much more of the building, especially impressive was the main auditorium, and the office from which Gropius and later Mies Van Der Rohe (a bit of a personal hero) conducted the day to day running of the school. I was also impressed that many of the chair designed by Breuer were available to be sat upon, normally when you see them they are very much of limits in museums and it was with great joy that I finally sat down in his famous Wassily chair looking out of the rows of windows.
About a 10-minute walk away are the master’s houses, also designed by Gropius and these are great pieces from the International school of architecture, however we did not visit their interior.
The international importance of the Bauhaus institution is huge, Mies and Gropius both developed the ideas further at IIT and MIT respectively in the USA and architects that have trained under them have shaped the face of many modern cities.
For many people the Bauhaus may not be very interesting and Dessau itself is often ignored by guide books, it is not the most aesthetically pleasing of cities, however for me this was a great World Heritage site and one that can identifiably been seen as having a global impact, a personal favourite.
|Paul Tanner (UK):|
When one thinks about it there are not too many cultural sites on the list about which one can say that “here emerged ideas which have impacted my daily life”. The Bauhaus is such a place – in terms of the buildings I have worked in, the chairs I have sat on, the consumer goods I have used etc. A truly “Imaginative” WHS both for what it achieved AND for being selected! A refreshing change from the turgid lists of minor religious buildings! OK – so no “idea” starts solely in 1 place, much “Bauhaus thought” predated the organisation and even the Bauhaus itself came from Weimar (which the inscribed site includes) but I still felt a frisson from walking the corridors of the School in Dessau and looking out of these windows – a frisson I have found missing at many more supposedly “significant” sites. There are several "bauhaus buildings" in the town - not all on the inscribed list - I rather liked the Restaurant near the river which for some reason wasn't included.
| Date posted: August 2005|
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