Masters’ Houses

Tillmann Franzen, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2018

  • year of construction / construction time 1925 — 1926
  • architect Walter Gropius

  • year of construction / construction time 2014

  • year of construction / construction time 2002

building typology

Also known as: Meisterhaussiedlung

They are considered prototypes of “white modernism” and have influenced the image of modern architecture worldwide. Three pairs of semi-detached houses plus a director’s house make up the ensemble of Masters’ Houses from 1925/26. Here, only a few minutes’ walk from the Bauhaus building, the small artists’ colony gave Walter Gropius an early opportunity to implement his architectural ideas. In addition to faithfully restored buildings, the site of the Masters’ Houses now also offers contemporary interpretations of Gropius’s “modular architecture”.

The white houses, set amid pines and deciduous trees, were designed for the Bauhaus masters and their families. In addition to the three Bauhaus directors, their residents included Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, Georg Muche, Anni and Josef Albers, and Lucia and László Moholy-Nagy. Not only the buildings’ prominent inhabitants, but especially their radically modern and oft-published architecture established the ensemble’s legendary reputation. It quickly became the epitome of the New Architecture and the “New Living”.

Above all, the buildings should be functional – which is reflected in the design and placement of the buildings and in the spatial composition, based on functional units and exposure to natural light. In order to orient all the studios to the north, the architect mirrored and rotated the identical halves of the paired houses. Gropius’s design also adopted the idea of a set of “oversized toy building blocks”: By combining standardised building elements and standardised spatial forms, it was possible to create dynamic variation from uniform elements.

Gropius was not only interested in saving time and money by using standardised construction, but also in reshaping everyday life. With functional elements such as built-in cabinets and with new technology and optimised workflows, the buildings became showcases of modern housekeeping.

The houses have been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1996. In 2014, the ensemble was completed by rebuilding the director’s house and the Moholy-Nagy House, both of which had been destroyed in the Second World War. The architectural firm responsible for the work, Bruno Fioretti Marquez, opted for an “architecture of imprecision” that clearly differentiates between the original buildings and their new interpretations. Mies van der Rohe’s 1932 kiosk, which had subsequently been demolished, was also restored as part of the reconstruction. [FE/DK]


Map legend

  • UNESCO world heritage site

Contact and opening hours


Meisterhäuser (Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau)
Ebertallee 59–71
06846 Dessau-Roßlau

Open daily from 10 am to 5 pm with the exception of the Christmas holidays on December 24-26, December 31 and January 1.

conveying formula

Directions by local public transport:

Nächstgelegener Bahnhof der Deutschen Bahn: Hauptbahnhof Dessau; nächstgelegene Haltestelle ÖPNV (Bus, Straßenbahn o.ä.): Gropiusallee

Book: Bauhaus 100 Sites of Modernism

Extraordinary sites associated with the Bauhaus and modernism can be found throughout Germany—pioneering architecture that has enduringly shaped our understanding of life and work, learning and living. This travel guide brings the historical and architectural traces of over 100 examples of Neues Bauen building to life, making tangible the impact of the historical Bauhaus beyond the school, its sites and its time.

conveying formula

Die Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau ist eine gemeinnützige Stiftung des öffentlichen Rechts. Sie wird gefördert durch das Land Sachsen-Anhalt, die Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien (BKM) und die Stadt Dessau-Roßlau.

Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Foto: Yvonne Tenschert
Masters' houses, Dessau-Rosslau
Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau, Foto: Yakob Willmington-Lu
Masters' houses, Dessau-Rosslau

This place is part of the tour:

Tour 1

Discover Bauhaus

Weimar, Erfurt, Jena, Gera, Dessau-Roßlau, Magdeburg, Elbingerode, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Berlin, Potsdam, Caputh und Bernau

Experience the beginnings of the Bauhaus in Weimar and admire its outstanding legacy, which spreads from Dessau-Roßlau to the striking residential buildings in Berlin.

Show tour details
Tillmann Franzen, © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau