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Bauhaus Walk in Weimar

The door swings open and out comes an international group of young people - the Weimar Bauhaus University is popular with students from all over the world. For it was this very building into which the State Bauhaus, under the direction of Walter Gropius, moved in 1919. People walking through the town today may ask "Does the Bauhaus come from Weimar? Then why is there not more Bauhaus architecture here?" This can best be explained by students on a Bauhaus walk.

The Bauhaus comes from Weimar

"In Weimar, the Bauhaus met with a ready-made infrastructure" says Thomas Apel, who co-ordinates the walks led by students. "Gropius was able to use the buildings of the Art School and School of Arts and Crafts designed by Henry van de Velde." And so today the walk takes visitors through the halls used by the Bauhaus members long ago, goes to the replica of Walter Gropius' director's office which he furnished in 1923, with copies of his furniture, and includes the skylight hall and the curved staircase designed by Henry van de Velde. And what makes the walk more interesting is that it is led by young people studying at the Weimar Bauhaus University, who can explain the Bauhaus and what they still find fascinating about it today.

Out of studios and into workshops! This is what Walter Gropius called for in his manifesto. He set his sights on "the great building" - a unified work of art in which the boundaries between architecture, design and art were to be fluid. But first of all every Bauhaus member and student was to learn a craft. Famous contemporaries were also enthusiastic about the radical way in which Gropius paved the way to Modernism. So artists like Oskar Schlemmer, Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee and Vassily Kandinsky came to Weimar one by one.

The "Haus am Horn"

The break with the past is illustrated particularly well by the "Haus Am Horn", located on a slope above Goethe's Garden House. The "Haus Am Horn" was built for the Bauhaus exhibition in Weimar in 1923. It has a square ground plan and a flat roof and was intended to be a prototype for new living. All the rooms are functionally grouped around a central living room with a skylight. The "Haus Am Horn" had one of the first fitted kitchens, central heating, pivot-hung windows and fitted cupboards - all this was radically new.

Today the house is no longer a sensation. And products like the Wagenfeld lamp or steel-tube furniture have long been classics. At the time, the ideas of the Bauhaus remained foreign to many of the people of Weimar. The conservative state parliament elected in 1924 cut the financial funds for the Bauhaus by half and so the school moved to Dessau. It later went to Berlin, where it was closed in 1933 by the Nazis. Like many of his fellow artists, Gropius emigrated to the USA, taught and designed buildings there. A number of decades had to pass before it was understood in Weimar that the town had not only made history with Goethe and Schiller but with the Bauhaus too.

Things you should not miss at the Weimar Bauhaus University:

  • staircase by Henry van de Velde
  • "Eva" sculpture by Rodin on the ground floor
  • paintings by Herbert Bayer and Oskar Schlemmer on the staircases
  • replica of the director's office designed by Walter Gropius in 1923 (on guided tours)

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