The industrial region of central Germany started to undergo rapid development even before the First World War. Technological innovations made it possible to intensify existing industries and establish new ones, while at the same time the technological and economic boom provided fertile ground for the development of artistic and creative avant-gardes, which came to full fruition after the end of the war. Technological progress, a desire for reform, a sense of the need to be socially relevant, artistic creativity and the courage to embark on innovations became powerful forces for social and artistic renewal.
Between 1919 and 1933, smaller and larger projects involving the application of modernist ideas were implemented in cities such as Magdeburg, Halle and Leuna, as well as towns such as Elbingerode, Quedlinburg, Stendal, Zeitz, Hohenmölsen and elsewhere. Landmark achievements were made in the field of product and communication design and grand plans were formulated at colleges of art and design such as the Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design in Halle (Saale), founded in 1915 and still in existence today, and the Kunstgewerbe- und Handwerksschule Magdeburg (College of Arts and Crafts) – and at the Bauhaus in Dessau as well, starting in 1925.
The state government has therefore undertaken to give special attention to this cultural legacy and to present Saxony-Anhalt as the home of modernism. The state’s clear objectives here include completing the extension of the Bauhaus' legacy in Dessau, which has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1996, as well as celebrating the centenary of the founding of the Bauhaus in 2019 together with partners in Germany and from all over the world. The 2016 curtain-raiser for these projects was the ‘Big Plans!’ exhibition, which has been shown at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and at numerous other participating sites all over the state. The climax of the great Bauhaus centenary programme in Saxony-Anhalt will be the opening of the new Bauhaus Museum at the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation in 2019.