Bauhaus building in Dessau

Built in
Dessau, Germany
Some parts of this article have been translated using Google’s translation engine. We understand the quality of this translation is not excellent and we are working to replace these with high quality human translations.


Bauhaus, etymologically means, Home Construction, was founded in 1919 in Weimar (Germany), by Walter Gropius, moved to Dessau in 1925 and disbanded in 1933 in Berlin. The spirit and the teachings of this institution can be said to be spread throughout the world.

With the move from Weimar to Dessau, the Bauhaus had the opportunity to create a building that offered the best working conditions to develop their own design, which was carried out by Walter Gropius himself and opened on December 4, 1926, quickly becoming icon of early modern movement.

….”¡ Architects, sculptors, painters, we must all return to manual labor! […] Us establish, therefore, a new guild of craftsmen, free of the arrogance that divides a class from another and seeks to erect a barrier between craftsmen and artists! aspire, together we conceive and build the new building of the future that will accommodate all-in architecture, sculpture and painting, into a single entity that rise up to heaven from the hands of one million artisans, crystalline symbol of a new faith that borders…. “Walter Gropius

With the building of the Bauhaus, Gropius implemented its ambition of designing processes of life, and to unite art, technique and aesthetics in search functionality. From the merger of the Academy of Fine Arts and the School of Arts and Crafts, trying to overcome the divorce between art and industrial production on one side and the other between art and craft. Develop the use of new materials and technology without neglecting the legacy of craftsmanship.


The building seems to remove the reasons for setting the conditions of the area where it is located, is bordered by a street, through another perpendicular to the first and two of its wings outlined a nearby sports field. His mailing address is: Gropiusallee 38 06 846 Dessau, Germany.


After the First World War, the defeated Germany was seeking a solution to the crisis of values in which he was immersed. Intellectuals believed that the political irrationalism had led to violence, should be imposed now critical rationalism, able to resolve social contradictions.

Gropius was deeply involved in these approaches, their great show of architectural rationalism would be the unique Bauhaus building in which are grouped the characteristics of the Modern Movement: rationally articulated pure volumes (functionalism), innovative use of new materials such as curtain wall glass facades, horizontal windows, no decoration, overall design of all elements and, above all, a conception of space dominated by the interplay between inside and outside through the glass wall.

These principles were accepted and were consolidated rapidly internationally with home workers who Mies van der Rohe, past director of the Bauhaus, raised near Stuttgart in the Weissenhof Estate.


  • Facades

The facades are mostly witnesses that the Bauhaus is by far a building typical of modernity. Although sought, never found a main facade, all were made with “affection” for the details, all with the intention that it be recognized outside the function.

Each facade responds to the demands of the activity taking place inside: the front of the classroom block is composed of horizontal windows, whose function is to ensure adequate lighting, the apartments, however, shows individual openings designed to increase privacy.

The workshops have a significant glass front, allowing maximum light and view of the interior from outside. Gropius on this facade incorporates the theme of Faguswerk and the factory in Cologne, setting a glass enclosure that passes the edge of the slab, leaving the recessed pillars and providing an overhang that lets you remove the buttress of the corner, thus creating that famous image of transparency angle which is one of the more typical formal aspects of the Bauhaus.

The front facade is where the first level is set back to produce the levitation of a higher volume consists of a curtain wall tension obtaining access to the product of the contrast of the opaque background volumes.

  • Ceilings

They were very large flat roofs, back then there was almost no experience with similar constructions. This means that the building of the roofs had several problems. The largest of these was his inclination to only one degree of slope, the following was the drain on the inside, and ultimately missing the drain with gravel, so the sun radiated directly onto the layers of tar, and as there were no meetings layers were deformed expansion. That is, the roofs of the Bauhaus were never tight.


The main entrance of the Bauhaus is divided by three separate doors with red columns that give access to the stairs and lobby.

  • Ladder

The latter is designed in three sections, the wider environment is what leads to the upper floors, down the sides closer. In front of the stairs we found a large window that runs from floor to ceiling and as wide as the stairs

  • Lobby

Going half the lobby level is reached, a very interesting place for its components.

Something very typical for the building of the Bauhaus, is that almost always when walking in the corridors or staircases have several options for where to go, the result of the different sections of the building get some correspondence.

Climbing the stairs from the lobby not only can go to the workshops and the administration, but since both sides of the stairs are located around large windows in every step you can see a new perspective of the interior, but especially abroad.

Plant shaped blade
  • Functional spaces

The building was distributed in three main wings connected by a bridge element, the form of blade breaks the concept of symmetry and functional efficiency puts the aesthetic coherence. It is characterized by plants and orthogonal sections, usually asymmetric and lack of decoration on the facades. The interior is light and airy.

Vocational education

Three levels in the northern part that housed classrooms and small laboratories

Laboratories, workshops, dining room and lecture hall

Three levels at one end are devoted to testing laboratories and workshops. At the opposite end provided for the student cafeteria, kitchen and lecture hall.

  • Aula Magna

The lecture hall is like the heart of the Bauhaus because here you can see in a compact form that was developed in those years and that is where the festivities were. This compartment of the building is called the holiday section and is composed of the hall, the stage and the dining hall. The dining room and the stage was separated by three folding doors, so that whole section is actually a great space.

  • Kitchen and dining

A window separates the kitchen from the dining room, still a novelty for the time to see what you are doing the cook.


Paving cantilevered in front bedroom

Six levels with 28 rooms of 20 square meters each. All have a small balcony, a slab of concrete that juts out into the open space.

Each floor also had bathrooms and a kitchenette. The students had semisubsuelo showers, a laundry room with vending machines and a gym. But what is special about the homes was that students had many opportunities to enjoy the good weather, as well as the balconies, the roof is a large terrace, surrounded by banks and partly semi-covered.

This building is also more massive volume, interrupted only in the east and west facades, respectively, for cantilevered balconies and windows.

Bridge Element

Besides connecting the various wings, was assigned to offices, the private workshop of Gropius and a club or play area.

The bridge embodies the idea of an architecture liberated from the soil, which does not hinder urban traffic.


An iron and concrete structure forms the skeleton of the building ensuring the unity of the whole and allows the existence of three different facades, built with fragile materials like glass and innovative.

The construction is not static as it may seem entirely concrete but it is only the skeleton, the areas in between are mostly paved with brick floors also.


The modern movement took advantage of the possibilities of new industrial materials like reinforced concrete, rolled steel and plate glass in large sizes.

Apart from these new materials, here the walls have the typical smooth white plaster, but also have a base with rough plaster and gray. This base has an optical effect, because it gives the impression that the building is still lighter.

Apart from the plaster and color are the windows to one of the basic elements of the structure of the facades. The windows of the Bauhaus are all steel, not glass drain and simple. Never had the color black but dark gray, and gray has the advantage that the distance does not recognize frames, so that seems to be a large area. Thus we see that the Bauhaus worked a lot with effects, whether light or optical illusions, but also did so with psychology, as depending on these effects are also influenced by the mood of the people who worked and studied in it.

The corridors and stairs were Magnesians floors, linoleum offices in different colors, the walls were made with a lime plaster.

The concrete used in construction was very porous gravel for having too much while the lining of the shell of the building was too low, which is why this frame has rusted iron. The plaster used in the columns of the bridge that has been seen as concrete presents a relief as having been worked to hammer, something that was not usual in works of modernism.

A detail that shows that not only was a functional building for the location of the spaces, but also in the sense of practical use, is that right from the start was scheduled a cleaning of the many windows of the building, consisting of hooks affirmed on the ceiling from which hang strings could chairs.

The central heating with radiators scattered around the building is a symbol that indicates the intention that the Bauhaus had wanted to work with industry and demonstrate the use of new technological systems. In some areas these radiators occupy the space would be devoted to the exhibition of a painting in the Baroque period, demonstrating the importance for the Bauhaus movement was the use of industrial elements.



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