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Bauhaus and its Building
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In 1919, Walter Gropius, who was a renowned German architect, designed the Bauhaus building in the city of Weimer. In 1924, the Bauhaus was relocated to Dessau and eventually shut down in 1933 due to political pressure imposed by the Nazi Party. The school was known for simplicity, functionality, rationality, and the idea of mass production of artistic work to improve the artistic spirit of an individuality. The Bauhaus philosophy aimed to transform the material world to replicate the units of the arts.
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The fear of art loss and the sullenness of manufacturing was also the motivation behind the creation of the Bauhaus school. In the 19th century, the art began to experience a gradual change between creativity and construction. The Bauhaus rejuvenated the art of design by harmonizing these two aspects. With the creation of the Bauhaus, Gropius had an opportunity to explain his vision and passion for the union of art and design. Thus, the paper focuses on the discussion of the Bauhaus and its building, particularly on how it reshaped and influenced the art and why it is considered to be a special unit in the history of architecture.
Description of the Building
The Bauhaus building provides extensive facilities that include lecture halls, housing for students and faculties, offices and an auditorium. This structure represents a complex that comprises of advanced technology and design-oriented art, which shows a penchant for glazing as well as the urge to develop an architecture transparency with the supporting pillars erected behind the facing skin (Whitford, 2013). Additionally, the building is fitted with three wings and two-story bridges that connect the workshops and school and extend the approach road from Dessau. The wings are carefully structured in a well-thought-out system, which links the internal operation of the school systems. Its skeleton was reinforced with bricks, concrete work, mushroom-like ceiling, asphalt patched tile roof that represents the latest technology development of that time.
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The complex covers an extensive construction area of 32,450 cubic meters, 42,445 cubic yards, which cost approximately 902, 500 marks. The cost of construction was high, and such an economic achievement could be given to the Bauhaus teachers and the students who benefitted from the education process (Whitford, 2013).
How it Reshaped Art
The construction of the Bauhaus undertook the tremendous changes in the history of architecture of that time. The Bauhaus provided simple, modern, and sophisticated style at the same time in the designing of roofs, walls, and the floor. For instance, its new wall technique led to the abandonment of using walls for separating functions (Whitford, 2013). The old-fashioned walls were replaced with new space-saving walls made of steel and concrete framework. The conventional walls were used as concrete support because it fitted in the brick-built houses. Moreover, many architects embraced Gropius’ art as the walls only functioned as mere screens stretched to cover the framework created by the concrete pillars to bar the rain, noises, and cold. The wider border opened up spaces in the walls, and this improved the lighting level in the room, unlike the old-fashioned design where the hole had to be made through a concrete wall in the form of a window to boost the room lighting (Weber, 1991 p.66).
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Moreover, the roofing style was also significantly modified. The old penthouse roofing that was tiled and slated with gables were replaced by a flat roof design without them. This method was better as it prevented the use of timber rafters made of fir tree. Additionally, it provided an opportunity of converting the top of the building to an open-air gymnasium, a sun loggia, or a childrens playground. Additionally, the flat-topped roofs could allow subsequent additions of either extra wings or additional stories. Gropius also mitigated the peril of wind destructions by the elimination of unnecessary surface at the top of the building, thus reducing the costs of repairs (Smock, 2009 p. 112). Another significant contribution is the suppression of external rain pipes and hanging gutters that were prone to erosion and constant breakages. Many subsequent buildings started building the flat-topped roofs and turning the tops into the “grounds” as a form of re-acclimatizing nature. When these rooftops are viewed from an aerial view, they tend to appear like chains of gardens.
Apart from architectural design, Bauhaus’ philosophy also reshaped greatly the craft industry. This was facilitated by the popular Bauhaus workshops, which majored in cabinetmaking, metalworking, and topographic designing. The cabinetmaking design of the modern school furniture focuses on the transformation of large traditional school chairs to comfortable and reasonably sized ones (James, 2009 p. 83). This workshop also theorized the designing of the supporting column of air chair, which could render the conventional chairs obsolete. Another popular workshop was the metalworking which engineered the design of metallic architect products prototypes that proved to be extremely useful later. Today, many of metallic designs have copied Bauhaus’ metalworking prototypes for the commercial purpose.
Finally, the topography workshop performed better than it was expected. Bauhaus topographical work has influenced the building designs across the world. Bauhaus graphic and building designs are ranked higher than other architectural schools worldwide (James, 2009 p. 81).
The Bauhaus Legacy
The Bauhaus left a generous legacy that influenced the architecture in Western Europe, the United States, and Israel. In the education sector, the Bauhaus managed to unify the art that was drifting apart by incorporating successfully creativity and technology. The schools curriculum consisted of theoretical and practical immersion. The Bauhaus influenced other architecture schools which eventually adopted its curriculum. A notable example is the Australian Shillito School in Sidney, which has structured its education curriculum with a close link to the Bauhaus school. Many of Shillito School syllabus underpinned vital information from the Bauhaus theories and ideologies (Solomon, 2008 p. 44). Moreover, the Shillito borrowed Bauhaus’ first-year foundation syllabus that concentrated on the principle of design, theory, and practical application. Another significant contribution is in the field of modern offices and school furniture design. For example, the school appeared with the simplified and comfortable chairs such as cantilever chair and Wassily chairs, which were used in the lecture halls. During that time, other schools in the country started using these chairs in their lecture halls.
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Additionally, the Bauhaus made decent lectures and hired professors who also taught in other schools worldwide. For instance, Gropius joined Harvard School and taught at the graduate school of design while his colleague Mies Vander Rohe was appointed as a director at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Moreover, Josef Albers began to teach at Black Mountain College in North Carolina while Max Bill founded an Institute of Design in Ulm, Germany. Lastly, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy opened an Institute of Design in Chicago. Notably, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Max Bill, and Josef Albers contributed significantly in the refashioning and spreading of the Bauhaus philosophy. The Bauhaus philosophy created the foundation for the modern architecture research, commercialization of architectural designs, and the advancement in the architectural geometry abstraction across the world (Solomon, 2008 p. 80).
The Bauhaus School
The Bauhaus runs as an architecture school with a unique curriculum that entails theoretical and practical approaches to teaching process. Specifically, Bauhaus’ education system has incorporated both architectural design and fine arts. The first-year course outlines focus on the principles of supporting immersion of the students from different social and educational backgrounds (Bergdol & Dickerman, 2009 p. 14). The principles and foundations of architecture cover the study of building materials, color theory, and general preparation for more advanced studies. Instructors are responsible for giving the preliminary knowledge to the first-year students.
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The subsequent curriculum introduces to the students the Bauhaus theory before they could attend the specialized studies and workshops (Bergdol & Dickerman, 2009 p. 32). The workshops cover the comprehensive studies on design and fine art, which include cabinetmaking, metalworking, topography, weaving, wall painting, and pottery. The aim of this curriculum is to integrate the existing drift in the field of art through craft. Eventually, this strategy proves to be effective as it leads to the mass production of art and design products. It corresponds to the schools slogan that made the school adopt the slogan Art into Industry.
The Bauhaus building is a representative landmark that explains the history of architecture in the 19th century. It left a living legacy as many other architectures keep following the Bauhaus philosophy in their theoretical and practical applications. Additionally, Gropius design of the Bauhaus building substantially reshaped and modified the construction of walls, roofs, and floors during that period. Its influence is present in the modern architecture as well. The floors, walls, and roofs of the modern building has copied many features of the Bauhaus building. Finally, the Bauhaus school curriculum provides a comprehensive syllabus, which makes the school be among the best architectural schools for the students across the world.
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