Thuringia

Birthplace of the Bauhaus

photo: Christoph Petras, 2011. Bauhaus Kooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar
Main building of the Bauhaus University, architecture: Henry van de Velde, 1904–11.

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The foundation stone for the Bauhaus was already laid in 1902 by Henry van de Velde when he established the Kunstgewerbliches Seminar (College of Applied Arts) in Weimar, which in 1908 became the Grand-Ducal Saxon College of Applied Arts. In 1919, Walter Gropius combined the institution with the former Grand-Ducal College of Art to form the Weimar State Bauhaus. Until 1925, it continued to work in the building designed by van de Velde for the College of Applied Arts. Walter Gropius’s Director’s Office, designed in 1923 and reconstructed in 1999, is located in the College of Art building opposite, also designed by van de Velde, along with reliefs and mural paintings by Herbert Bayer and Joost Schmidt. Today, the building houses the Bauhaus University of Weimar, and along with the other Bauhaus sites in Weimar and Dessau it has been on the UNESCO World Heritage list since 1996.

Foto: Christoph Petras, 2011. Bauhaus Kooperation Berlin Dessau Weimar
Haus am Horn, architecture: Georg Muche, 1923.

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The Bauhaus’s initial base features a network of institutions in which its legacy and reception is being collected, studied and presented to the public. The network includes Thuringia’s Landesarchiv with the Hauptstaatsarchiv (main state archives), the Bauhaus university, the Stadtmuseum (Municipal Museum) and the Stadtarchiv Weimar (City Archive), as well as the Bauhaus Museum belonging to the Klassik Stiftung Weimar. The Bauhaus Museum now has a collection of some 11,000 Bauhaus objects, including the world’s oldest collection, authorized by Walter Gropius. Thuringia’s Hauptstaatsarchiv holds all of the archival materials relevant to the early Bauhaus.

photo: Christoph Petras, 2011. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
Parish church Gelmeroda, the most important moftif in Lyonel Feininger's oeuvre.

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Beyond Weimar as well, the Bauhaus left traces throughout the state of Thuringia – such as the church in Gelmeroda, which gained worldwide fame as one the most important motifs for Bauhaus master Lyonel Feininger and featured on the title page of the programme for the State Bauhaus in Weimar. Other traces include the Auerbach and Zuckerkandl houses in Jena, designed by Walter Gropius, and not least the ‘Haus des Volkes’ (People’s Building) completed by Alfred Arndt in Probstzella, the entire interior decoration for which was produced in the Bauhaus workshops. It was also in Gelmeroda that Bauhaus member Ernst Neufert built his home and studio building in 1929–1930. What is known as the ‘Neufert Box’ there commemorates his famous ‘Bauentwurfslehre’ of 1938, which became an international standard text for architecture courses (translated into English as ‘Architects’ Data’).

As the first home of the Bauhaus, Weimar is a central location for the centenary in 2019, and numerous activities are to be based there. The new building for the bauhaus museum weimar is to open for the Bauhaus Centenary in 2019. In addition to its historic Bauhaus holdings, it will also be presenting significant works from two centuries of international design history. An exhibition organized by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar linking works originating in the historic Bauhaus with recent works by today’s students at the Bauhaus University in a fascinating project will be opening in the new museum building in 2019.

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Free State of Thuringia

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