A Visit to Dessau

Dessau and the Bauhaus Museum have a close tie to great names such as Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. A magnet for international talent, the Bauhaus also attracted famous artists like Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Lyonel Feininger, who made their marks on modern painting.

The Architecture and the Design groups had a day trip to Dessau on 14 June 2016. Despite different focused activities, the Bauhaus brought the two groups together in perfect symbiosis. We were accompanied by architect Ulf Meyer, whose fascinating narrative during the ride prepared us for the tour in the Bauhaus School, the "Masters' Houses" and other points of interest. He explained that the Bauhaus was regarded not only as an architecture icon, but also as a socio-political movement. The Bauhaus did not have an architecture department during its first years of existence. All works of art were unified to create “Gesamtkunstwerk” (universal artwork). He also talked about the role of the women of Bauhaus, who were encouraged to pursue weaving rather than male-dominated mediums like painting, carving, and architecture. Some taught in the Bauhaus school and contributed fundemental work and innovation to the school.

Arriving at the Bauhaus, the group briefly visited the attractive design shop before a tour of the building, the director's room that was once occupied by Walter Gropius, the room of designer Marianne Brandt, the auditorium and the cafeteria. After a group photo in front of the school's entrance, the group continued the tour to the Masters' Houses where lecturers Walter Gropius, Muche/Schlemmer, Kandinsky and Klee lived. The lunch took place in the historic restaurant “Kornhaus” on the Elbe designed by Carl Flieger in 1929.

The next visit was to the winning design of Walter Gropius: Municipal Employment Office. Unfortunately a sudden rain shower disrupted the plan for the walk through Gropius’ Törten Housing Estate. The group had to be content with the explanation and commentary of architect Ulf Meyer inside the bus.

Our day trip concluded with a visit to the Federal Environmental Agency by Sauerbruch Hutton, a curved, meandering building with vibrant coloring. A massive glass roof spans a light-flooded atrium and large plants create the impression of a botanical garden rather than a ministry. It was something of an explosion of light and color after the rather restrained architecture of the Bauhaus. The reappearance of the sun ended the wonderful excursion to Dessau.

A Visit to Dessau
Staircase window
Umweltbundesamt by Sauerbruch Hutton