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Why was the Bauhaus Movement so Important for Modern Architecture?

12/24/2012

Originally published 24/12/12. Updated 07/05/17.
Bauhaus College in Dessau, Germany
Bauhaus or to give it it's full name of Staatliches Bauhaus is actually the name of the design school that taught the famous style of design and architecture. The school was originally based in the Weimar Republic until 1925, then moved to Dessau until 1932 and then in the final few months of its existence it was based in Berlin, the capital of Germany.

Even though the design influences of the school are clearly architectural, the school did not actually have an architecture department. Instead, they explored the fundamentals of the style through the use of artistic works such as paintings and 

The school insisted on using only primary colors; red, blue and yellow for the vast majority of their artistic works. This color palette, coupled with very simple geometric shapes, led to a distinctive look for the Bauhaus style.

The Bauhaus also aimed to expand their influence by designing many household items, such as clocks, kitchenware, and furniture. The common theme with all of the products that were designed is that they could be easily mass produced, and were therefore relatively simplistic in their appearance. This was a huge shift from other products that were on the market at the time, which were often very ornate and expensive. 

The Bauhaus had the intention of creating an 'International Style' by using shapes and colors that were easily replicated, and were unlikely to cause offence to other religions or cultures.

Key People
Throughout the time that the Bauhaus Design School operated, the professors that were employed were all well respected in their own fields, whether that be architecture, design or art. They all had diverse backgrounds and therefore taught each module from a different perspective, meaning that the courses were all well-defined and comprehensive.


1. Walter Gropius
  • Architect and Founder/Director of the Bauhaus Design School. 
  • Walter's ideologies as an Architect outlined the initial courses offered at the school, and therefore the fundamental philosophy of the Bauhaus Movement as a whole.
2. Johannes Itten
  • Itten was fascinated by the use of color in artistic works and architecture and was responsible for the focus on using the three primary colors, black and white.
  • Itten initially taught the preliminary 'Basics' course at the Bauhaus Design School, which all students had to pass in order to proceed to the next stage of their learning.
3. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
  • Took over the teaching of the preliminary 'Basics' course in 1932 after Johannes Itten had left the Bauhaus Movement.

Bauhaus Products

Silver Teapot - Designed by Marianne Brandy in 1924
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
The Sugar and Cream Set - Designed by Marianne Brandt in 1928
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
The Egg Cup - Designed by Marianne Brandy in around 1926
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv
Chess Set - Production of the product began in 1924
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Building Luminaire - Designed in 1923/24
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

9090 Espresso Machine - Designed by Richard Sapper in 1979
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv


Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Max Bill Wristwatch - Designed by Max Bill in 1972
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv

Bohner Table/Wall Clock - Designed by Matthias Bohner
Image Rights © bauhaus-archiv


Architectural Connections

So what makes Bauhaus so important in relation to modern style of architecture? Well, the answer is simple. In every single modern building, there are two distinctive options that an architect can choose when designing a scheme for their client. 

You can play it safe and replicate one of the other hundreds of modernist buildings that are dotted around cities such as London and New York. 


Or you can take a step back and apply the general principles of the Bauhaus, ending up with a remarkable looking building, simply by using geometric shapes and unusual angles. We personally think that the buildings below have been designed in such a way, that they subtly reference the Bauhaus, with the inclusion of modern design styles.


Modern Architecture, with Bauhaus-inspired elements


Modern Architecture, with Bauhaus-inspired elements
All of the buildings above were clearly designed from the basic starting point of a geometric shape and then more intricate details were added after. 

The last building is our favorite, for the bold use of the exterior shape and also because of the lines of wood continuing through the glass to the inside. If they had rendered the walls and painted them white the effect would not have been there at all.
Cite this article:
"Why was the Bauhaus Movement so Important for Modern Architecture?" 12/24/2012. ArchitectWeekly. Accessed .
"http://www.architectweekly.com/2012/12/why-was-bauhaus-style-so-important.html"
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