Bauhaus Masters' Houses Restored, Now Open to Public

The Bauhaus school of design has made an indelible mark on the world of architecture, one that is still felt almost seventy years after its closing. After moving the school from Weimar to Dessau in 1925 to avoid confrontation with the Nazis, founder Walter Gropius designed a series of semi-detached homes for the design masters teaching at the Bauhaus. This small neighborhood, nestled in a pine forest near the school building itself, was an idyllic home for the likes of Lyonel Feininger, Oskar Schlemmer, and Gropius himself. They were abandoned in the 1930s as Germany plunged into war, and suffered years of damage from military conflict and neglect. Renovations to the houses began in 1990, and now, 24 years later, the Bauhaus meisterhäuser have been completely reopened.

The latest houses to be completed are those of Walter Gropius and artist László Moholy-Nagy. Both structures were destroyed during an air raid of Dessau during World War II. Rather than restore the buildings to their original appearance, the renovation architects reconstructed the meisterhäuser to re-emphasize the spartan qualities that were championed by Bauhaus Modernists. In addition, the windows of both houses were covered in an opaque wash, giving them an ethereal appearance.

In this article by the Guardian, renovation architect José Gutierrez explains that "memory lives off blurriness and imprecision,” going on to say: “We wanted to create something playful and light, nothing too heavy: an innocent glance at Germany's painful past."

The interior of the Moholy-Nagy residence. Image courtesy of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Image © Christoph Rokitta
Another interior view of the Moholy-Nagy residence. Image courtesy of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Image © Christoph Rokitta

The other masters’ houses completed before the Gropius and Moholy-Nagy residences have been open to the public for a number of events. The house of noted polymath Lyonel Feininger hosts a permanent exhibit devoted to composer Kurt Weill. The Kurt Weill Centre, which manages the exhibit, will move into the Moholy-Nagy house this year as well. The other meisterhäuser are used by the city of Dessau for seasonal events and exhibitions. Guided tours of these houses, as well as the Bauhaus facilities themselves are available all year. More information on tour times and tickets can be found here.

Reference: Goethe-Institut, The Guardian

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Cite: Connor Walker. "Bauhaus Masters' Houses Restored, Now Open to Public" 23 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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