Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau

N50 58 29.2 E11 19 46.2
Date of Inscription: 1996
Extension: 2017
Criteria: (ii)(iv)(vi)
Property : 8.1614 ha
Buffer zone: 59.26 ha
Ref: 729bis
News Links/Travelogues:

Between 1919 and 1933 the Bauhaus movement revolutionized architectural and aesthetic thinking and practice in the 20th century. The Bauhaus buildings in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau are fundamental representatives of Classical Modernism, directed towards a radical renewal of architecture and design. This property, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996, originally comprised buildings located in Weimar (Former Art School, the Applied Art School and the Haus Am Horn) and Dessau (Bauhaus Building, the group of seven Masters’ Houses). The 2017 extension includes the Houses with Balcony Access in Dessau and the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau as important contributions to the Bauhaus ideas of austere design, functionalism and social reform.

Between 1919 and 1933, the Bauhaus School, based first in Weimar and then in Dessau, revolutionized architectural and aesthetic concepts and practices. The buildings created and decorated by the School’s professors (Henry van de Velde, Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky) launched the Modern Movement, which shaped much of the architecture of the 20th century and beyond. Component parts of the property are the Former Art School, the Applied Art School and the Haus am Horn in Weimar, the Bauhaus Building, the group of seven Masters’ Houses and the Houses with Balcony Access in Dessau, and the ADGB Trade Union School in Bernau. The Bauhaus represents the desire to develop a modern architecture using the new materials of the time (reinforced concrete, glass, steel) and construction methods (skeleton construction, glass facades). Based on the principle of function, the form of the buildings rejects the traditional, historical symbols of representation. In a severely abstract process, the architectural forms – both the subdivided building structure and the individual structural elements – are reduced to their primary, basic forms; they derive their expression, characteristic of Modernist architecture, from a composition of interconnecting cubes in suggestive spatial transparency.

The Bauhaus was a centre for new ideas and consequently attracted progressive architects and artists. The Bauhaus School has become the symbol of modern architecture, both for its educational theory and its buildings, throughout the world, and is inseparable from the name of Walter Gropius. Hannes Meyer, his successor as director of the Bauhaus, realized the idea of collective work on a building project within the framework of training in the Bauhaus’s building department. These buildings stand for an architectural quality that derives from the scientifically-based design methodology and the functional-economic design with social objectives. The Bauhaus itself and the other buildings designed by the masters of the Bauhaus are fundamental representatives of Classical Modernism and as such are essential components, which represent the 20th century. Their consistent artistic grandeur is a reminder of the still-uncompleted project for “modernity with a human face“, which sought to use the technical and intellectual resources at its disposal not in a destructive way but to create a living environment worthy of human aspirations.

For this reason, they are important monuments not only for art and culture, but also for the historic ideas of the 20th century. Even though the Bauhaus philosophy of social reform turned out to be little more than wishful thinking, its utopian ideal became reality through the form of its architecture. Its direct accessibility still has the power to fascinate and belongs to the people of all nations as their cultural heritage.

Criterion (ii): The Bauhaus buildings in Weimar, Dessau and Bernau are central works of European modern art, embodying an avant-garde conception directed towards a radical renewal of architecture and design in a unique and widely influential way. They testify to the cultural blossoming of Modernism, which began here, and has had an effect worldwide.

Criterion (iv): The Bauhaus itself and the other buildings designed by the masters of the Bauhaus are fundamental representatives of Classical Modernism and as such are essential components which represent the 20th century. The Houses with Balcony Access in Dessau and the ADGB Trade Union School are unique products of the Bauhaus’s goal of unity of practice and teaching.

Criterion (vi): The Bauhaus architectural school was the foundation of the Modern Movement which was to revolutionize artistic and architectural thinking and practice in the 20th century.

Suggested Bases:

Berlin is Germany’s capital and co-extensive with the Land of Berlin, one of the 16 federal states that make up the Federal Republic of Germany. With a population of 3.8 million (2019) (and a million more in “suburbs” like Potsdam across the state line in Brandenburg), Berlin is Germany’s biggest city. The focus on and dominance of Berlin as a capital is and has historically been far weaker than that of London, Paris or Madrid, not least because of the federal nature of Germany and the havoc war and partition wreaked on the city Berlin is unusual among European capitals in many respects and the four decades of partition—28 years of them being physically separated by a wall—have also left traces. Merely a backwater town in the early 18th century, Berlin grew to be one of the most important and biggest cities in the world by the 1920s, only to lose much of its importance and historic architecture as a result of World War II and German partition [read more].

Leipzig is the largest city in the German federal state of Saxony, with a population of approximately 600,000 (Oct 2019). It is the economic centre of the region, known as Germany’s “Boomtown” and a major cultural centre, offering interesting sights, shopping and lively nightlife. The Gewandhausorchester is the biggest and one of the most prominent classical orchestras in Germany, and Leipzig Zoological Garden is one of the most modern zoos in Europe. The Neuseenland, outside of Leipzig, is a huge lake district. First documented in 1015, and endowed with city and market privileges in 1165, the city of Leipzig has fundamentally shaped the history of Saxony and of Germany. It was founded at the crossing of two ancient trade routes, Via Regia and Via Imperii. Leipzig has always been known as a place of commerce and still has large trade fairgrounds and exhibition halls known as the Leipzig Messe north of the city [read more].

Dresden is the capital of Saxony (Sachsen). It’s often referred to locally as Elbflorenz, or “Florence on the Elbe”, reflecting its location on the Elbe river and its historical role as a centre for the arts and beautiful architecture – much like Florence in Italy. While Florence flourished during the early renaissance, the Golden Age of Dresden was in the 18th century when, under August the Strong and his son, Friedrich August II, Saxony was a rich and important state and the rulers invested in lush architectural projects in their capital and supported artists of worldwide renown. Dresden suffered catastrophic damage from Allied bombing in 1945 and then lost much of its remaining architectural heritage at the hands of East German city planners. However, the city has managed to resurrect some of its charm by rebuilding various landmarks. The reconstruction of the famous Frauenkirche was completed just in time for the what was marketed as the city’s 800th birthday in 2006 (dated from the first mention in extant historical documents, as is common in Germany) [read more].

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.