Bauhaus Museum Dessau

Architecture

Bauhaus Museum Dessau is a building within a building, a soaring concrete block enveloped in glass. At the end of 2015 the proposal from Barcelona-based young architectural practice addenda architects won over the jury in the open international competition, which had attracted 831 submissions from all over the world. The architecture stands out for the clarity and simplic-ity of both the concept and the aesthetics. It is restrained yet persuasive, and the formal vocabulary is a creative take on both the present and Modernism.
Located at the heart of Dessau, Bauhaus Museum Dessau acts to draw a line between city and nature, while likewise interfacing them. Depending on the light, the surroundings are reflected more or less strongly in the glass façade or enable views through the building. On the side facing the city, the block relates all the more strongly to the urban environment, while the buildings opposite are reflected in its facade. On the side facing the park, the in-teraction with nature is all the stronger when the trees are reflected in the glass. And when you enter the building everything nevertheless seems open and transparent.

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ, 2019
Bauhaus Museum Dessau

Facts

Contractor Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau
Architecture addenda architects (González Hinz Zabala), Barcelona
Function Exhibition spaces and rooms for pedagogical activities, visitor service, shop, lounge and café
Exhibitionspace 2.100 m²
Costs 28 Mio. Euro
Construction period 2016 until 2019
Opening 8th September 2019

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The Black Box on the first floor forms the core of the museum. It consists of a closed cube made of reinforced concrete that stands on stilts. For conservational reasons there is no natural light inside, and the 1,500 square metres of space provide optimal climatic conditions under which to present the sensitive items from the collection. The box is about 100 metres long, 18 metres wide and floats five metres above the heads of the visitors.

For the load-bearing structure, addenda architects took their cue from bridge building and pushed things to the limit. The cube thus rests only on two stair-well shafts 50 metres apart and there are no intervening supporting pillars. The two ends project about 18 metres over the stairwells. Beneath them, on the north side are office spaces and the delivery bay for art, and on the south side, event venues and education spaces.

On the ground floor, the Open Stage is positioned between the stairwell shafts. This flexible multipurpose space boasts a lobby, the ticket desk, a café and shop as well as 600 square metres of space for changing exhibitions. The two artworks Lichtspielhaus by Lucy Raven (art for architecture) and the Arena by Rita McBride provide a forum for dance, concerts, plays, performances, debates, conversations, lectures, film screenings and encounters.

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The glass façade that runs around all four sides forms the outer envelope. It embraces the Black Box and the Open Stage and turns them into exhibits in their own right presented in a display case. Structured by a 2.10-metre grid, here addenda architects deliberately rely on repetition to structure their design and yet ensure its maximum flexibility. While the dimensions of the Black Box result from the predefined size of exhibition area required, the museum’s outer dimensions were not included in the brief. Economic factors, namely money and time, were decisive here. The building was made as large as possible with the budget available. The result took just under two and a half years to construct and features a 105-metres-long, 25-metres-wide and 12-metres-high building. A total of 571 triple-glazed glass panes were needed – they provide heat insulation, protection from the sun, bird protection and security.

Interview with architect Roberto González
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ, 2019
Bauhaus Museum Dessau by night

Versuchstätte Bauhaus. The Collection

On the 1st of November 1976, the “Galerie am Sachsenplatz” in Leipzig charged the City of Dessau-Roßlau with the amount of 145,000 Marks for 148 works of Bauhäusler. Ranging from ceramics to furniture, it was a colourful mix. The items were exhibited for the first time in the Bauhaus Building, which was re-opened as Scientific-Cultural Centre in the GDR on the 4th of December 1976 on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Bauhaus. This purchase formed the basis of the collection of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, now consisting of more than 49,000 items. This first convolute will welcome the visitors of the Bauhaus Museum Dessau on the occasion of the centenary of the Bauhaus’ foundation.  

Titled Versuchstätte Bauhaus. The Collection, the exhibition in the Bauhaus Museum Dessau will tell the narrative of the famous school in Dessau. By means of original furniture, lamps, textiles and works of visual artists, it leads through the history of the School of Art and Design as a lively location of learning and teaching, artistically experimenting and working at industrial prototypes – and still coining our everyday life until today. In topical sections, it shows that teaching, designing and constructing at the Bauhaus should serve the change, improvement and shaping of the society.

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ, 2019
Exhibition Versuchsstätte Bauhaus. The Collection – Nordraum

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After World War I, the Bauhäusler searched for approaches to form and shape life in a new and modern way. Fonts, furniture, textiles, wall papers or architectures, the everyday culture of Modernism, which has become a matter of course for us nowadays, emerged in Dessau at that time. One more reason to bring to our minds the historical conditions, the visions and concepts, the working procedures and methods, the actors and networks of the Bauhaus from the distance of 100 years by means of the objects preserved by the collection activities since 1976. 

At the same time, the exhibition links, in space and contents, the numerous Bauhaus buildings that are lined up like a red threat from the north to the south of Dessau. Whereas the visitors of the Bauhaus Building can comprehend the teaching processes and the cohabitation of the Bauhäusler while walking through the building’s architecture, ideas and everyday life, classes and workshop, teachers and students come to life in the museum by sketches, photos, pieces of art and workshop products.

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ, 2019
Exhibition Versuchsstätte Bauhaus. The Collection – Südraum

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The presented collection is an exhibition in motion. Interludes in the form of temporary exhibitions in the exhibition allow to extend and perpetuate the Versuchsstätte Bauhaus in regular intervals. New convolutes of the Dessau collection or objects that are not included in the permanent exhibition in the museum are shown in them. Guest objects from international Bauhaus collections can be presented and enter into a dialogue with the Dessau collection. The interludes are also venues for experimenting by the Bauhaus Agents who give insights in their project work with schools in Dessau.   

 

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Thomas Meyer / OSTKREUZ, 2019
Exhibition Versuchsstätte Bauhaus. The Collection – Horizont Fabrik

8 Sept 2019 – 19 Jan 2020

Hochschule für Gestaltung Ulm (1953–1968) is widely considered one of the most influential design colleges in the Bauhaus Dessau tradition. This tradition included the concept of a basic course, one that was mandatory for all students. The HfG Archiv / Museum Ulm holds an outstanding collection of works created in the basic course run by Walter Peterhans and Josef Albers, a selection of which is guesting at the Bauhaus Museum Dessau.

8 Sept 2019 – 31 Jan 2020

Alongside László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Maximilian Umbehr (1920–1980), known as Umbo, is one of the most important photo artists associated with the Bauhaus. To this day he remains symbolic of Modernist photography, combining the formal language of New Objectivity with Expressionist ideas. This Intermezzo shows the photographs that the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation has received from the joint acquisition by Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, Berlinische Galerie and Sprengel Museum Hannover.

8 Sept 2019 – 31 Jan 2020

At the Schattenwerfer inspired by Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack’s appliance for playfully casting light, you can control your own play of light and view the re-sults on a screen in the room. The László Moholy-Nagy audio track describes the masters life and work and practical experiences with the pre-liminary course exercises. And the film Bauhaus Agenten Dessau – Die Schulprojekte gives an idea of the projects and cooperation between the Bauhaus Agents programme and the partner schools involved


Glass Skin and Black Box

Magazine bauhaus100.com

Roberto González, Anne Hinz, Arnau Sastre, Cecilia Rodriguez and José Zabala are all addenda architects. Together, the five architects are responsible for the building which will provide a new home for the Bauhaus Museum Dessau from 8 September. To begin with, the quintet has formulated ideas for the building’s form and material for you.

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Joachim Brohm
Detail of the glass facade, Bauhaus Museum Dessau

Bauhaus Museum Weimar

In 2019 when the whole world will be celebrating the founding of the Weimar State Bauhaus 100 years ago the most important date for Weimar and the city’s visitors will be 5 April. On this day the Bauhaus-Museum Weimar will open after a three-year construction period.

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Photo: Thomas Müller, Klassik Stiftung Weimar