The history of the
Bauhaus is quite known since it is a living testimony of the history
of Modern architecture. That said, I have no interest whatsoever in
describing the history or architectural aspects of the building. I
will leave that to the Bauhaus Foundation who, I´m sure will do a
much better work then I ever would.
magnificent in buildings is the impression it is able to leave on us,
humans, while experiencing it. From immemorial times, buildings have
inspired humans to be brave, to be better, to have faith...even if,
for most of those times, it was also serving power purposes the dream
of powerful men to achieve immortality.
truth is, most humans don’t experience once the benefits of good
architecture in their entire lifetime, which is I think is quite sad.
Maybe if this wasn’t the case, the world would be more sensitive
towards the benefits of architecture and this profession wouldn’t
be becoming more of a marketing/branding product than anything else.
In my mind, before
arriving and living in this building, there were several aspects that
made no sense to me. I mean, architecturally speaking, it follows the
main principles of Modern Architecture and certainly the principles
of the Bauhaus; but I am part of the generation who was taught about
the achievements but also the failures of modernism so my perspective
was pretty analytical.
It seemed weird to
me, the glazed facades in such a cold region, and how the low West
sunlight should become uncomfortable in sunny days, but above all,
how the building imposed itself indifferent to its surroundings
instead with the arrogance of thinking it could determine the future
growth of the new industrial city of Dessau. It was a Modern building
fallen from the sky in Dessau.
However all of
that disappeared in a fraction of second, while approaching the
building from Gopiusallee and seeing the big letters that ornament
the South facade. I remember seating on the entrance outside stairs
and observing everything, I wanted to make sure I would never forget
that specific moment because I knew it was a special one, and there
are no photos that can testify that – only your memory.
sustainability is not one characteristic of that building, but lets
face it, I don’t even know if that term existed in 1925-6, and I
can only imagine the heating bill in winter, and yes, in sunny days,
the entire glazed windows have to be closed by long black curtains,
and the windows opened to allow air circulation and diminish
temperature, but...what a pleasure it is to pull the chains and watch
slowly opening the windows in groups of 5 or 6, a
clever designed for sure. In fact the entire building is a work of
art or, as Gropius would certainly prefer, a work of industrial
masterpiece – every detail, studied, prototyped and industrially
produced. Hopefully creating new products for the new industrialized
That got me
thinking, about how buildings affect us. What exactly touches our
hearts and minds? I believe it is passion, principles. There is
nothing more empty to me than a building that was designed to be
“beautiful”, or “sustainable”, or “suitable” - it sounds
unfair, I know, but I believe that happens because architecture is
not about one thing, one characteristic, one goal; it is about
principles, that go far beyond the building itself. I couldn’t
understand the Bauhaus building, because, I hadn’t been there, so
my analysis was pragmatic and analytical, but the design of the
building wasn’t analytical, it is the dream of a men, of a
generation, that had firm believes on how society would change and
how they could help shaping that society.
EIther they failed
or not, it doesn’t matter, because the building testifies their
believes, not just a simple sum of things or problems to be solved
and that makes all the difference – it is the difference between
architecture and construction. And anyone can feel that, it
transpires from the building wether you are an architect or not.
a paradox is created, even if I loved the spring time at the Bauhaus,
where you can sit in the grass for long hours, my favorite time is
definitely winter, when the building appears to be more unsuitable –
the white, grey and black building, surrounded by snow in a clear
blur sky background seems to enhance its features, almost like a
model, it looks surreal, ethereal...