woensdag, augustus 19, 2015

Meisterhäuser, Dessau #2

"In 1925, the city of Dessau also commissioned Walter Gropius with the construction of three semidetached houses for the Bauhaus masters and a detached house for its director. The plot lies in a small pine-tree wood where Ebertallee stands today – one of the axes of the Dessau Wörlitz Garden Realm between the Seven Pillars of the Georgium and Amaliensitz. In 1926, Gropius and the Bauhaus masters László Moholy-Nagy and Lyonel Feininger, Georg Muche and Oskar Schlemmer as well as Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee were able to move in with their families.

Later tenants included Hannes Meyer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Josef Albers, Hinnerk Scheper, and Alfred Arndt

With this ensemble of buildings, Gropius aimed, using industrially prefabricated and simple “building block” construction elements, to put the principles of efficient construction into practice – both in relation to the architecture and the building process itself. The standardisation of construction elements was, however, in view of the technical resources available at the time, only partially realised.

The houses acquired their form through interleaved cubic corpora of different heights. Vertical rows of windows on the side façades provide lighting for the stairways, while the view of the semidetached houses from the street is characterised by the large glass windows of the studios. The façade of the Director’s House was the only one to feature asymmetrically arranged windows. The sides facing away from the street have generous terraces and balconies. The houses are painted in light tones and the window frames, the undersides of balconies and down pipes in stronger colours.

The semidetached houses are essentially all the same: Each half of the house shares the same floor plan, albeit mirrored and rotated by 90°. Only on the second floor do the halves of the houses differ – the western section always features two additional rooms.

All the houses were equipped with modern furniture, and fitted cupboards were integrated between the kitchen service area and the dining room and between the bedroom and the studio. While Gropius and Moholy-Nagy fitted their houses exclusively with furniture by Marcel Breuer, the other masters brought their own furniture with them. The artists also developed their own ideas with respect to the arrangement of colour, which, with Klee and Kandinsky, for example, was closely related to their own artistic work." (bron: Bauhaus Dessau)

House Moholy-Nagy

House Moholy-Nagy from the east, 1926. (foto: Lucia Moholy)

Living room in House Moholy-Nagy, 1926. (foto: Lucia Moholy)

"Laszlo Moholy-Nagy and his wife, Lucia Moholy lived in the first half of the semi-detached pair. It was both spatially and conceptually close to the Gropius House. Gropius and his "Minister President" Moholy-Nagy - so Oskar Schlemmer poked fun at the time - steered the new course at the Bauhaus. Thus the arrangements of this apartment agreed to the fullest extent with the interior decoration intentions of Gropius himself. Moholy-Nagy and his wife left house number 2 in June 1928. Josef Albers and his wife, Anni, were the next tenants."

House Feininger

House Feininger, 1993. (foto: Heinz Ambrosus)

House Feininger, living room.

"Lyonel Feininger together with his wife, Julia, and their sons, Andreas, Laurence and Theodor Lux, lived in the next half of the semi-detached pair. He soon gave up his reservations concerning the architecture when he realised how wonderful not only the cupboards were (built in the Bauhaus following designs of Andreas Feininger) but also how it allowed the placement of the 19th century furniture. Feininger's sons each occupied one of the two first floor rooms and possibly one of the rooms beneath. Laurence later became a composer and music historian. Andreas, the eldest son, studied in the Bauhaus in Weimar and in 1927 took up architectural studies in Zerbst. Theodor Lux began his studies at the Bauhaus in the year they moved in. He was, inter alia, a member of the stage workshop and the Bauhaus band. Fascinated by the photographic experiments of his neighbour Moholy-Nagy he took up photography in 1927. Apparently Theodor Lux's photographic interest spilled over to his brother Andreas who started on a photographic career. Theodor Lux turned his talents to painting in 1929. Like in Feininger's atelier, within a few years first class works of painting and graphics appeared from the other Masters' Houses too."

House Muche

House Muche, east side 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

House Muche, 1999. (foto: Helbig)

House Muche, living room. (foto: Consemüller)

House Muche, entrance, 1998. (foto: Pollmeyer)

"Georg and El Muche and Oskar and Tut Schlemmer lived in the next semi-detached house. A picture of the interior décor of the Muche House made it into Gropius' famous Bauhaus Buildings Book as the couple remained faithful to the Bauhaus line in the sitting room fittings. It included only furniture from Marcel Breuer and paintings from Muche.In 1927 the Muche House saw the first tenant change of the estate as Georg and El Muche left the Bauhaus and Hinnerk and Lou Scheper moved in. The leaving party for Georg and El Muche took place on the 2 July 1927 in the, now, Scheper House. The first "junior master" on the estate lived with Hinnerk Scheper and his family."

House Schlemmer

House Muche / Schlemmer, northwest side 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

House Muche / Schlemmer, entrance 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

"Oskar Schlemmer lived with his wife and three children in the neighbouring house. The Schlemmer's enjoyed a very lively family life in which their three children Tilman, Jaina and Karin played a prominent role. Since the Schlemmers had lived for some time in Tessin, Hannes Meyer, the architecture teacher moved into the house too. The Schlemmer family left their domicile in 1929 when Oskar Schlemmer was appointed to Breslau. Alfred Arndt the head of the Bauhaus interior design workshop, together with his wife the Bauhaus weaver, Gertrud Arndt, next moved in. The head of the weaving shop Gunta Stölzl and her child occupied the atelier and an adjoining room in the former Schlemmer House from November 1929 to July 1930. From 1930 on she was sometimes there with her husband, Arieh Sharon, who also worked at the Bauhaus."

House Kandinsky

House Kandinsky / Klee, from the southwest, 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

House Kandinsky / Klee, 2001. (foto: Große)

House Kandinsky, stairwell, 2003. (foto: Uwe Jacobshagen)

House Kandinsky / Klee, from the southeast 2000. (foto: Gunnar Preuss)

House Kandinsky / Klee, 1999. (foto: Helbig)

House Kandinsky / Klee, 2000. (foto: Helbig)

"Despite their reservations concerning the architecture Wassily and Nina Kandinsky were happy with the new quality of the Masters' Houses: "We couldn't invite many people in Weimar because the flat was too small. Dessau changed that. Now, at last, we can ask our countless friends and acquaintances to visit us. Twice a year we let loose in our house: for New Year's Eve we invited the Klee, Grote and Albers families. Muche and his wife were also on the guest list." The semi-detached houses of Kandinsky and Klee with their colourful internal decor and fittings made a complete contrast to the Gropius architecture. Kandinsky's finished colour designs for the living room, his atelier and other rooms clearly show that he was interested in autonomous artistic spaces. The living room was furnished with older pieces that did not, for example, stem from the Bauhaus. The niche with its golden colour - arranged with sofa, carpet and painting - was a production of a very special type of space.The Kandinskys felt so at home in Dessau that they took out naturalisation papers. On 8 March 1928 Wassily and Nina Kandinsky received their German passports that finally gave them the chance to travel even outside Germany."

House Klee

House Kandinsky / Klee, from the northwest, 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

House Klee, ground floor stairwell, 2000. (foto: Kleber)

House Klee, upper floor stairwell, 2000. (foto: Kleber)

House Klee, atelier, 2003. (foto: Uwe Jacobshagen)

House Klee, upper floor stairwell, 2000. (foto: Kleber)

House Klee, bedroom and hall, 2002. (foto: Wolfgang Thöner)

"Paul Klee lived in the last Masters' Houses with his wife, Lily, and their son Felix for whom he had arranged an apprenticeship at the Dessau theatre. Beside the maid, the gymnastics teacher at the Bauhaus, Karla Grosch, also belonged to the household. This latter was a pupil of the Palucca School and was described by Ludwig Grote, the State Curator of Anhalt, as a "powerful, jaunty personality of fair-haired freshness". Paul Klee, a cat lover, was a knowledgeable musician, and talented violinist. He often played music with his wife and also in a quartet with musicians from Dessau's theatre orchestra. The feature of the neighbourliness between Kandinsky and Klee lay in their close friendship. Their artistic work and their lessons in the Bauhaus indicate that they had many things in common in their time in Dessau. In opposition to the cool clean colours in the Kandinsky House Paul Klee decided for a warmer "earthier" atmosphere in his atelier and living room." (bron: Dessau Meisterhäuser)

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