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Picture Dictionary of Modern Architecture: Bauhaus


Architect Walter Gropius used Bauhaus ideas when he built his monochrome home in Lincoln, Massachusetts.
Second Story Terrace at the Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts

The Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts

Photo © Jackie Craven

Bauhaus is a German expression meaning house for building. In 1919, the economy in Germany was collapsing after a crushing war. Architect Walter Gropius was appointed to head a new institution that would help rebuild the country and form a new social order. Called the Bauhaus, the Institution called for a new "rational" social housing for the workers. Bauhaus architects rejected "bourgeois" details such as cornices, eaves, and decorative details. They wanted to use principles of Classical architecture in their most pure form: without ornamentation of any kind.

Generally, Bauhaus buildings have flat roofs, smooth façades, and cubic shapes. Colors are white, gray, beige, or black. Floor plans are open and furniture is functional. Popular construction methods of the time—steel-frame with glass curtain walls—were used for both residential and commercial architecture. More than any architectural style, however, the Bauhaus Manifesto promoted principles of creative collaboration—planning, designing, drafting, and construction are tasks equal within the building collective. Art and craft should have no difference.

The Bauhaus school originated in Weimar (1919), moved to Dessau (1925), and disbanded when the Nazis rose to power. Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and other Bauhaus leaders migrated to the United States. The term International Style was applied to the American form of Bauhaus architecture.

Shown here: The Bauhaus style Gropius House >>>

Learn more: Bauhaus Architecture in Dessau – Icons of modernism (in English) >>>

See more examples of Bauhaus and the International Style:

Architects Inspired by the Bauhaus Movement

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