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Characteristics, Principles, and 10 Examples of Bauhaus Architecture

CEO Khai Intela
After the devastation of World War I, Walter Gropius had a vision. He wanted to create something beautiful out of the chaos, and thus, Bauhaus architecture was born. Combining fine arts, crafts, and applied art...

After the devastation of World War I, Walter Gropius had a vision. He wanted to create something beautiful out of the chaos, and thus, Bauhaus architecture was born. Combining fine arts, crafts, and applied art forms, Gropius and his colleagues established the Bauhaus movement. The Bauhaus school, with its three successive architect directors, became a pioneer in modern art and design, merging the Grand Ducal Saxon Academy of Fine Arts and the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts.

However, the Nazi regime closed the school, accusing it of promoting communist intellectualism. Despite this setback, the Bauhaus movement left a lasting impact on the world of art and architecture.

What is Bauhaus?

Bauhaus is a German art movement that spanned from 1919 to 1933. It aimed to create simple, functional designs using mass-producible materials and minimal ornamental details. The name "Bauhaus" is derived from the German word "hausbau," meaning "building house."

Characteristics and Principles of Bauhaus Style

Clean Lines

One of the defining features of Bauhaus architecture is its simplistic nature. Bauhaus buildings have well-defined lines that are neatly arranged to create geometric shapes. The use of clean lines in Bauhaus design has greatly influenced modern architecture.

Functional Design

Every aspect of Bauhaus style serves a purpose. Whether it's the exterior or interior design of a building, functionality is the key. Unlike other architectural styles that may prioritize aesthetics over functionality, Bauhaus embraces a function-first approach.

Flat Roofs

Bauhaus buildings often feature flat roofs. While seemingly simple, these roofs add aesthetic value and maintain the geometric shape of the structure. The use of flat roofs is a distinguishing characteristic of Bauhaus architecture.

Simple Colors

Bauhaus design embraces simplicity in color schemes. The exteriors of Bauhaus-style buildings typically feature neutral colors such as beige, grey, or white. In the interior, primary colors are commonly used, creating a bold and vibrant atmosphere.

Holistic Design

The Bauhaus school goes beyond architecture. It encompasses various art forms such as typography, furniture design, and even home appliances. The Bauhaus movement believes in considering all aspects of design to create a complete work of art.

Materials

Bauhaus architecture emphasizes the use of industrial and sustainable materials. Steel, glass, and concrete are often employed to achieve simplicity and functionality. The focus on materials and their inherent qualities is a hallmark of Bauhaus design.

Asymmetry

Bauhaus design often features neat lines and a lack of obvious symmetry. Despite this, a sense of balance is maintained through the consistent use of colors and other visual elements.

Neatness

Bauhaus architecture is characterized by its neat and orderly appearance. Plain colors, strong lines, and geometric shapes create a sense of cleanliness and simplicity. This design approach sets Bauhaus apart from other architectural styles.

Glass Curtain Walls

Glass curtain walls are a significant feature of Bauhaus buildings. These walls, made possible by mass-produced glass, allow natural light to flood the interiors and provide a distinct aesthetic element.

Use of Steel

Bauhaus design embraces the use of steel openly, as it is one of the materials that symbolizes industrial production. Steel is used in various applications, such as appliances, fixtures, and frames.

Concrete

Concrete is a primary material in Bauhaus-style buildings. Its versatility and simplicity make it an ideal choice for achieving the clean lines and open facades characteristic of Bauhaus design.

Mass Production

The Bauhaus movement revolutionized architecture through its emphasis on mass production. By using readily available and easily produced materials, Bauhaus architects aimed to repair the damage caused by World War I.

Material Integrity

Bauhaus architecture celebrates the raw, natural beauty of materials. By showcasing materials in their purest form, Bauhaus designers highlight their inherent qualities rather than covering them with costly finishes.

"Gesamtkunstwerk"

"Gesamtkunstwerk" is a German term that means a complete work of art. This principle embodies the Bauhaus philosophy of utilizing all forms of art to create harmonious and integrated architecture.

Renewable Methods Applicable Across Generations

Bauhaus design principles remain relevant and adaptable over time. The focus on form following function and the use of sustainable materials make Bauhaus architecture timeless.

Examples of Bauhaus Architecture

  1. Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts Gropius House The Gropius House exemplifies the Bauhaus movement with its straight lines, flat roof, plain colors, functional design, and minimalist approach.

  2. Bauhaus Dessau, Germany Bauhaus Dessau The Bauhaus Dessau showcases the use of industrial materials such as steel and glass curtain walls, along with a simple design and clean lines.

  3. Poli House, Tel Aviv Poli House The Poli House in Tel Aviv demonstrates a functional-oriented design with its flat roof, glass-curtain walls, and minimalist approach.

  4. Villa Tugendhat, Czech Republic Villa Tugendhat The Villa Tugendhat features large windows, plain colors, and the use of steel, showcasing the principles of Bauhaus architecture.

  5. Fagus Factory, Germany Fagus Factory The Fagus Factory is a prime example of Bauhaus industrial design, utilizing steel, concrete, and glass-curtain walls in its construction.

  6. Meisterhäuser (Master Houses of Kandinsky and Klee), Germany The Meisterhäuser reflects the spirit of Bauhaus design, with simple lines, plain colors, asymmetry, and a minimalist approach.

  7. Bauhaus Museum Weimar, Germany Bauhaus Museum Weimar The Bauhaus Museum Weimar represents the Bauhaus movement through its simple design and color scheme.

  8. Zentrum Paul Klee, Switzerland Zentrum Paul Klee The Zentrum Paul Klee utilizes steel and glass and embraces the Bauhaus aesthetic in its design.

  9. 117 Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv 117 Rothschild Boulevard 117 Rothschild Boulevard showcases the Bauhaus style with functional design, geometric shapes, and a minimalist color scheme in contrast to neighboring buildings.

  10. Bauhaus in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv is renowned for its "white city" architecture, featuring numerous examples of Bauhaus design. Buildings such as the Ehrlich House, the Hotel Cinema, and the Engel House embody the principles of Bauhaus architecture.

Famous Bauhaus Architects

  • Peter Keler: Known for his minimalist designs in furniture. Peter Keler

  • Johannes Itten: A lecturer at the Bauhaus school, he emphasized experimentation and individual style.

  • Hannes Meyer: One of the directors of the Bauhaus school, Meyer championed functional demands, low-cost materials, and designs.

  • Marcel Breuer: A Bauhaus student and later a lecturer, Breuer was known for his iconic chair designs.

Bauhaus architecture has made a significant impact on the world of art and design. Its principles of simplicity, functionality, and the use of industrial materials continue to inspire and influence modern architecture. Bauhaus remains a testament to the lasting power of innovative and forward-thinking design.

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