Bauhaus: Berlin

This will be my final post celebrating 100 Years of Bauhaus. We have arrived at our final Bauhaus destination, Berlin. There seems to be an ongoing trend with these posts – places that I visited have either closed down or been transformed/renovated. What’s really exciting is that this is happening so brand new museums and archives can open in each of the three cities. It is certainly an ideal time for Bauhaus fans to make the journey to Germany!

The final post in this series will be short and sweet. While in Berlin, I only visited one Bauhaus-related site, the Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltung (Bauhaus Archive/Museum of Design). The original museum closed in 2018 for renovations and is due to re-open in 2022. It sounds like it will be quite a fascinating building with architect Volker Staab winning the design competition with his work “glass museum tower”. In the meantime, there is a temporary location open for the public in Charlottenburg. I will provide more practical information at the end of this post.

Museum History

If you have read either of my other two pieces in this series (Weimar and Dessau) you will already know a little something about the history of the Bauhaus School. The legacy of the Bauhaus continues to permeate our culture and our perception of design. Quick recap – after being forced out of Weimar, the Bauhaus School moved to Dessau in 1925. In 1931, the National Socialists won municipal elections in Dessau and members of the School once again found themselves on the move. They settled in Berlin in 1932. After only one year, the school officially closed. For some, the only viable option was to emigrate overseas and escape World War II.

In 1955, the Hochschule für Gestaltung opened in Ulm (near Munich). Here, art historian, Hans Maria Wingler, met Walter Gropius and started collecting documents and objects relating to the history of the Bauhaus. Gropius was one of the Masters of the Bauhaus School.

Over time the collection grew and in 1960 Wingler established the Bauhaus Archive. Just like any other collection, it eventually began to outgrow its location, Ernst Ludwig House. Wingler was soon searching for a new location to display and store the extensive collection. Eventually, the Bauhaus Archive opened in Berlin Mitte in 1979.

Bauhaus Archiv Berlin

Museum Today

Today, the Bauhaus-Archiv/Museum für Gestaltung holds the largest collection of Bauhaus-related objects in the world. It aims to display the history, practice and impact of the movement. Gropius, along with other Bauhaus members, donated their entire private archives in order for this goal to be achieved. Needless to say, it has become quite a significant repository of information relating to the significance of the Bauhaus School.

I visited the Museum back in 2012. I cannot remember a lot of details, but I do remember enjoying my visit and thinking it had a very impressive collection. I spent a couple of hours in this one room looking through some old papers trying to read and understand the German. I also really enjoyed the large furniture rooms filled to the brim with Bauhaus chairs, desks, lamps, etc. I am interested to see the layout of the new museum and how they are going to display such a rich and in-depth collection. I hope they have some weird and wonderful exhibitions and really have fun with what’s on offer.

Bauhaus Posters

As you can probably imagine, the temporary museum is holding many programs and events to celebrate the 100 years. You can find more information by clicking on the link here.

Practical Information

If you are lucky enough to be in Berlin this year for the centenary, or if you’re visiting prior to 2022, make sure you pop in to see the temporary location. Admission is free and the Museum is open Monday to Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm (closed on public holidays). It is located at Knesebeckstrasse 1-2, Berlin-Charlottenburg. There are so many other things to see and explore around that neighbourhood so I would strongly recommend visiting.

Reflection

It has been so wonderful to share these three blog posts. This year I have really committed to getting back into my German studies. This is partly because I’ve been reminiscing about my time in Berlin visiting all these amazing places. I cannot wait to explore these three cities again in the near future. How exciting to think that as I’m writing this post, new Bauhaus museums are preparing to open. This will potentially mean new stories, new objects, and a new look at the history of the School through some different perspectives.

Information sourced for this post can be found here.

 

Author: Rebecca Lush

Curator, Integrated Pathology Learning Centre.

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