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Bauhaus in pictures: The architects exiled by Nazis

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The Bauhaus art school in Dessau, Germany.

Established in 1919, in the wake of World War One, Germany’s Bauhaus art school brought a radical new approach to design and aesthetics which would eventually go on to help inform modernist architecture around the world. Now in its centenary year, we look at a selection of some of the buildings shaped by the influential art school.

The Bauhaus was founded in Weimar by Prussian architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969). While Bauhaus translates as “building house”, Gropius didn’t want to build only houses; instead, he wanted to create artists who could turn their hands to anything. Students were taught pottery, printmaking, bookbinding, carpentry, typography and advertising. They were encouraged to look at the world around them in a new way, studying in hands-on workshops that were the opposite of the stuffy and elitist lectures of many contemporary design schools.

In 1925, the Bauhaus relocated to the city of Dessau, where Gropius designed a new base for the school. With a steel frame structure and large walls of glass, the building featured many characteristics of modernist architecture.

A view inside the Bauhaus building

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A view inside the Bauhaus building, which is now a Unesco World Heritage site.

Bauhaus Masters' House

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Not far from the school, Gropius also designed identical semi-detached houses for the Bauhaus masters.

The Bauhaus aesthetic combined form, function and efficiency and soon became evident in buildings around Germany.

The Kornhaus

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Designed by Carl Fieger, the Kornhaus was built on the Elbe River in Dessau in 1930.

Exterior of the Zollverein XII Coal Mine Industrial Complex

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The Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex in Essen, Germany. Designed by Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer, the building’s simple combination of form and function is typical of the Bauhaus philosophy.

Exterior of the Fagus Factory

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One of Gropius’s early works, the functional design of the Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany, foreshadowed many elements of the Bauhaus aesthetic.

Gropius left the Bauhaus in 1928 and was replaced as director by Hannes Meyer.

Under pressure from an increasingly right-wing government, Meyer soon stood down and was replaced by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), who began placing greater emphasis on architectural design.

As support for the Nazis grew, the school began to be seen as being at odds with National Socialism and students and teachers were forced to flee to a new base in Berlin. When Adolf Hitler became chancellor in 1933, the school was closed down.

Driven into exile, many key figures of the Bauhaus emigrated to the US and Middle East, where their philosophies inspired generations of architects and designers.

One hundred years later, the austere, modernist influence of Gropius and his cohort can continue to be seen in buildings around the world.

Exterior of Gropius House

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After relocating to the US, Gropius designed a home in Lincoln, Massachusetts. Gropius was joined in the US by other Bauhaus teachers such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, Walter Peterhans and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

SR Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, USA

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Mies van der Rohe designed the SR Crown Hall at Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, which was completed in 1956.

View at original Bauhaus building, Emile Zola Street, Tel Aviv, Israel, Middle East

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A Bauhaus building in the White City in Tel Aviv, Israel. As refugees arrived from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, Bauhaus-trained architects designed thousands of apartment buildings.

Bahuaus type architecture in Tel Aviv

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Now a Unesco World Heritage site, the buildings in Tel Aviv’s White City were adapted for the intense sunlight and feature few architectural flourishes.

The 100 Years of Bauhaus festival runs from 16 to 24 January 2019 at the Berlin Academy of the Arts in Germany.

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