08/11/2019 | News

New Bauhaus build­ing opened in Des­sau

100 years after the founding of the Bauhaus and 86 years after its end, an original Bauhaus building was inaugurated in Dessau today (11 August). Scientists and students of the University of Kassel have built a residential building according to the plans of the architect and Bauhaus teacher Ludwig Hilberseimer in the „Laubengang“ estate in Dessau-Törten; this world cultural heritage site is located about 120 kilometres southwest of Berlin and was never completed.

Image: Uni Kassel.

Hilberseimer (1885 - 1967) designed the L-shaped one-storey wooden house in 1930. According to the plans of Bauhaus director Hannes Meyer and Hilberseimer himself, 400 copies of this type were to supplement the ensemble of „Laubenganghäuser“ (arcaded houses) in Dessau. While most of the arcaded houses were realised and have acquired World Heritage status in 2017, the economic and political crisis that began in 1929 prevented the construction of the additional low-rise buildings. In 1932, only one example was realized for the exhibition on the Growing House in Berlin. "By far the most innovative contribution of the Bauhaus to housing construction is almost forgotten today," says the Kassel architecture professor Philipp Oswalt, who headed the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation from 2009 to 2014. "Especially since it doesn't fit into the usual Bauhaus cliché: Not made of glass, steel and concrete, but of simple wooden construction, inexpensive, ecological and expandable".

Oswalt made up for this by prototyping one of the buildings with students over the past three weeks, on a site directly next to one of the „Laubenganghäuser“. "This is the first time that the innovative overall urban concept has been made clear, as has the stimulating Hilberseimer house type. We correct a one-sided picture of the Bauhaus and give an impulse to today's housing debate. At the same time, this is a kind of reenactment in the anniversary year of the Bauhaus," says Oswalt.

Today, the building was ceremoniously opened and the key handed over to the operator, the Deutscher Werkbund Sachsen-Anhalt.

Oswalt heads the Department of Architectural Theory and Design at Kassel University. One focus of research in this field is the work of Hannes Meyer (1889-1954) and its effects. As the second Bauhaus director in 1928-1930, Meyer reoriented the Bauhaus by forcing close cooperation with industry and establishing his own construction department. He was looking for an architecture oriented towards social use. His directorate followed the motto "People's needs instead of luxury".



Prof. Philipp Oswalt
University of Kassel
Unit „Architekturtheorie und Entwerfen“
Phone: +49 561 804-3632

Sebastian Mense
University of Kassel
Press Office
Phone: +49 561 804-1961