This was an incredibly inspiring lecture which focused on how the opening of the Bauhaus Art and Design school changed the views on design forever, and helped to bring light through the horrors of the first and second world war.
The Bauhaus was the very first example of a proper Art and Design school, founded and created by Mr. Walter Gropious to better the social conditions during and after the war and aimes to unify arts through crafts. Many arts could be studied at the Bauhaus, such as furniture design, architecture, painting, sculpture, film, textiles, theatre and many more. The Bauhaus was somewhere where young people and adults could escape the war horrors, art and design is an amazing way to express how we are feeling inside and to escape our surroundings, people could create a vision with their own bare hands. Both student and staff created many prototypes at the Bauhaus, some of which are significant objects used today.
We must understand an objects nature before designing it.
- Walter Gropious
Famous artists such as Miles Van Der Rohe and Hannes Meyer were just two of the many masters teaching in the Bauhaus, it was here where they first became so well known and established. Van Der Rohe was named director of the Bauhaus up until it’s closing in 1933 due to the pressure of the increasingly right-wing municipal government i.e. The Nazi Regime. He was a specialist in architecture and following the closure he went on to design many more successful buildings i,e. The Seagram Building. This is a monumental sky scraper built in New York, Manhattan, it is the finest example of the functionalist aesthetic and monument of modernism, something which i have highlighted in my modernism 1851-present blog.
Influential artists Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee also taught at the Bauhaus school of art and design for the short period it was open. Like many of the professors whom played a major roll in the running of the Bauhaus, Klee and Kandinsky emigrated to the US after the closure of school, here their work and teaching ideologies influenced many young aspiring architects and designers. Architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer emigrated to Yale along with American artist Josef Albers, Gropious taught at Harvard and Moholy Nagy successfully opened the new Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937.
The Bauhaus Manifesto
The Bauhaus Manifesto was all about the decoration and refurbishment of buildings. The movement started in 1919 with an aim of ‘building the future,’ and merging all arts and crafts in an ideal unity. This was the coming together of all artists and craftsmen, the joining of all talents to come together and create an outstanding vision. Everyone in the Bauhaus, students and staff, would be educated to design buildings harmoniously from the structure of a building to the furniture. The skills learnt within the Bauhaus would go on to change the world we live in and become a huge contributing factor of modernism.
Relevant case study: Le Corbusiers’ ‘Unite Building’
Unite buildings or ‘Unite d’habitation’ are a build of modernist residential housing designed by Le Corbusier between 1947 and 1952. The apartments were built not long after the closure of the Bauhaus, this was the first sign of modernism and change and the influence of the Bauhaus in design.
The Unite buildings are located in Marseille, consisting of 337 apartments arranged over 12 stories, suspended on large Piloti. Inside of the apartments sit small shops, as well as sporting, medical, education facilities and also a restaurant. The building is designed so that residents do not actually need to leave the building, everything they could need is within that space, even work!
This ‘city living’ design was incorporated in four other buildings, Unite D’habitation of Nantes-Reze in 1955, Briey in 1963, Firminey in 1965, and Berlin-West end in 1957. The usage of the material ‘beton brut’ influenced the brutalist movement, and also inspired many other housing complexes including our very own Park Hill flats, Sheffield!
The Unite Building is still very popular with its professionals and is now mainly occupied by upper middle-class professionals.
(Fig.1) The Bauhaus, 24.10.15, http://www.lanyber.net/?p=428
(Fig.2) Sir Mies Van De Rohe himself, 24.10.15, http://www.dailyicon.net/tag/mies-van-der-rohe/page/3/
(Fig.3) Artist sketch of the Seagram building, New York, Manhattan, 24.10.15, http://glennwalls.com/2011/02/20/the-grid/seagram-building-1/
(Fig.4) The Seagram illuminating the skies of NY, 24.10.15, http://architectuul.com/architecture/seagram-building
(Fig.5) The Marcel Breuer B3 Chair, 24.10.15, http://www.theleathersurgeons.co.uk/wassily-chair-in-need-of-attention/
(Fig.6) The Bauhaus Manifesto advert, 24.10.15, http://barbarainwonderlart.com/2012/11/30/bauhaus-architettura-trasforma-vita/?lang=en
(Fig.7, 8) Le Unite D’Habitation apartments, 24.10.15, http://www.dezeen.com/2014/09/15/le-corbusier-unite-d-habitation-cite-radieuse-marseille-brutalist-architecture/
(Fig.9, 10) Le Corbusiers’ Unite building, Marseilles, 24.10.15, https://agingmodernism.wordpress.com/2010/07/04/the-house-of-the-mad-man/
(Fig.11, 12) Park Hill, Sheffield, 24.10.15, http://www.urbansplash.co.uk/