The last two days we toured the Bauhaus in both Weimar and Dessau. This part of the trip was highly anticipated and the actual events did not disappoint, as it is sort of surreal visiting somewhere you have learned about for so long through books.
On Sunday, we took a two hour high-speed train we named “the bullet” to Weimar – one of the oldest cities in Germany and also the original location of the Bauhaus. We had a few hours before our tour so we walked around the quaint, beautiful city, and stopped for possibly the best tasting bratwurst we have ever had.
The Bauhaus in Weimar is not the city’s most visited attraction – Goethe was a famous citizen and his name is on many of the tourist attractions there. With the lack of signs, itmay have been difficult to find the school if Claudia had not been there before. The Weimar Bauhaus walking tour took us through the two buildings designed by architect Henry van de Velde. We were also able to stand in Walter Gropius’s office which was restored in 1999 according to Gropius’ 1924 plan based on the cube and the golden ratio. The next stop on the tour was the Haus am Horn, a house designed by Gearge Muche for the landmark 1923 Bauhaus exhibition. These original Bauhaus buildings are now back in use as the Bauhaus University where students study design. It was refreshing to see how – in the early stages of the Bauhaus development – even the great Bauhaus masters made mistakes to learn from.
On Monday, another two hour train ride took us to the city of Dessau where we would see the famous Bauhaus school buildings designed by Walter Gropius. This time signs for the Bauhaus lined the streets and we arrived after a quick walk. The tour started with the Masters’ houses. They are currently re-building the Director’s house and half of one Master’s house which were bombed in WWII. Actually, the director’s house was replaced with a 19050s designed home after the war which still stood until eight months ago. The city bought the property, knocked down the house and is currently building a replication of Walter Gropius’ original design. In the rebuilt house the outside will look like the original home, but the inside will be updated using modern day materials, appliances and layout.
We were able to tour the inside of Wassily Kandinsky’s and Paul Klee’s homes. It was interesting to note the unexpected wall colors and thoughts considered in the floor plans. For example, Kandinsky’s house used gold and highly saturated colors, while Klee’s house’s walls were more subdued. Gropius design these houses so passersby could see the masters at work in their studios from the streets, but the living quarters were hidden from public view.
From the Master Houses we went back to the main school building to take a look inside including the theatre and Gropius’ office. It was inspiring to take in the details and to walk the hallways where some of the greatest Modern designers once walked.
At one point on the tour Blake told Sandra – our tour guide – about his background, training and how this was the one request he had when deciding where to go after being a designer for 30 years. Her perfectly simple, elegant responce: “So, you’ve come home.”