This year marks a century since the Staatliches Bauhaus, commonly referred to as Bauhaus, was established. Bauhaus was a German school of the arts founded by architect Walter Gropius that sought to combine craftsmanship, like woodworking and design, with fine arts, such as painting and sculpture. The result was an entire movement, dubbed the Bauhaus movement, that focused on uniting fine art with functional design to create practical objects accessible to a wide range of people.
Essentially, the Bauhaus movement strived to level the hierarchy of the arts. No longer was the top of the hierarchy reserved for fine arts; instead, all forms of art and design were included and converged to highlight what each brings to the table individually and as a collective.
The Bauhaus style combines elements of the Arts and Crafts movement with modernism, resulting in visual art, architecture, and design that favors simplicity, functionality, and authenticity of materials over elaborate ornamentation.
The artwork of one of the original professors at Bauhaus, Wassily Kandinsky, is a prime example of the merger between art and function. His abstract paintings combine flat planes with overlapping geometric shapes to provide a sense of dimensionality.
Kandinsky painting; Source: mymodernmet.com
The influence of the Bauhaus movement also extends to furniture. For the first time, the supportive materials used to construct furniture, such as steel, were no longer hidden; instead, they became an integral part of the design, contributing to the streamlined, honest expression of the movement while enhancing possibilities for mass production.
One of the most prominent pieces of furniture to come out of the movement is the Wassily Chair. Named after the aforementioned Wassily Kandinsky and designed by Marcel Breuer, the chair features overlapping stainless steel tubes and rectangular panels that appear as floating geometric forms.
Wassily Chair; Source: chicicat.com
As mentioned, Bauhaus architecture borrowed elements from the Arts and Crafts movement and served to heavily inspire mid-century homes. It commonly featured sharp angles of glass, masonry, and steel to create pared-back, highly functional designs that could be mass produced for the everyday homeowner.
One of the first examples of Bauhaus architecture was designed by the founder of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius, and Adolf Meyer in 1922. The Sommerfeld House combined nearly all of the mediums that the Bauhaus school focused on, with an interior that featured geometric carvings by Joost Schmidt, weavings by Dorte Helm, stained glass by Josef Albers, and furniture by Marcel Breuer.
Sommerfeld House; Source: bauhaus100.com
Despite the Bauhaus school's influence, beauty, and ever-growing popularity, it was ultimately shut down by Nazis during World War II. It is thought that the Nazis were threatened by the style of the Bauhaus movement, which was in stark contrast to the nostalgic traditions of Nazism.
However, the school being shut down only served to make the Bauhaus movement more popular on a global scale. Bauhaus architects, artists, and designers, like Gropius and Mies van Der Rohe, ultimately fled Nazi persecution to America, bringing the influential style and its continued popularity with them.
The Bauhaus movement's impact on architecture can be felt through many architectural styles today. To search architectural homes for sale, like Craftsman or Mid-Century Modern, try our Search With Style tool and immediately narrow your home search to your favorite architectural style.