Bauhaus - revolutionary school of art, architecture and design established by the pioneer modern architect Walter Gropius at Weimar in Germany in 1919. Its teaching method replaced the traditional pupil-teacher relationship with the idea of a community of artists working together. Its aim was to bring art back into contact with everyday life, and design was therefore given as much weight as fine art.
During the 1920s the influence of the School spread, thanks to books published by Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, and to the international staff employed: Kandinsky, Klee, Feininger, Bayer, Breuer and Schlemmer were all teachers there at some time. In 1925, after a dispute over funding and complaints about the lack of success, the Bauhaus moved to new purpose-built premises at Dessau, designed by Gropius and which themselves became models of the new International style architecture.
The motivations behind the creation of the Bauhaus lay in the 19th century, in anxieties about the soullessness of manufacturing and its products, and in fears about art's loss of purpose in society. Creativity and manufacturing were drifting apart, and the Bauhaus aimed to unite them once again, rejuvenating design for everyday life.
The Bauhaus movement continues to influence us today, where any modern environment often incorporates elements of the period. The ideas of the Bauhaus creators have influenced architecture, furniture, typography, and weaving.
Bauhaus implies not only building and construction but also reconstruction. Above all, the Bauhaus is identified with functionalism, which is now seen as the eradication of ornament in favour of the austere beauty of the industrial Aesthetic.
The students of the Bauhaus took part in the designing of buildings and fittings. They were encouraged to use their imagination and to experiment boldly yet never to lose sight of the purpose which their designs should serve.
Once celebrated as Europe’s leading art and design school, by early 1933 the Bauhaus was reduced to camping in a hastily converted telephone factory on the outskirts of Berlin and subsisting on handouts from its director, the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Denouncing it as “un-German,” the newly elected Nazi government forced the school to close.
“The democratization and Everyman aspiration of design shops, from Ikea to Muji, shows the influence of the Bauhaus,” says Barry Bergdoll, chief curator of Architecture and Design at MoMA and co-curator of “Bauhaus.” “They believed that if you combined modern design and practicality and utility, the public would be converted.” As with, say, the iPhone—very Bauhaus.
The Bauhaus ushered in the modern era of design. While there were similar movements, such as the de Stijl, the Bauhaus has become the symbol of modern design. [...] It left a legacy for visual communication programs, art and design schools to follow.
On the other hand, the avant-garde Bauhaus architecture developed in the twenties the works of Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van deer Rohe, with its monotone box-like constructions and soulless housing estates, is today not infrequently blamed for the ugliness of our cities and the violation of our countryside.
Gropius preached anonymity and a sense of service as the fundaments of his pioneering art school. In this community of workshops, students and maters would work hand in hand, as had the humble stonemasons and woodcarvers who built the Gothic cathedrals. Modesty and dedication to a shared purpose were to rule.
The legacy of the Bauhaus has been shaped by the tides of the twentieth century itself. After the school's forced closing, in 1933, many of its faculty and students left Germany for Americas, Mandate Palestine, South Africa, and elsewhere, and through this diaspora, varied understandings of the Bauhaus proliferated.
The Bauhaus was the site of the twentieth century's most influential experiment in artistic education. It gave institutional form to instruction in the avant-garde painting and architecture…
For Gropius and many progressive artists and architects in Germany, the end of the war was the beginning of a new history. From its inception the Bauhaus was associated with the idea of rebuilding a bankrupt nation. Gropius's and the Bauhaus's forward looking and implicitly leftist emphasis succeeded in capturing the imagination of many young people who sought a new Germany after the devastation of World War I.