In late November, IES took a group of students to the Bauhaus School in Dessau. The Bauhaus was an art school in Germany opened by Walter Gropius in 1919 and shut down by the Nazis in 1933. The school was revolutionary, setting a new standard for how art and architecture could be thought of and created. Much of what is considered today as “modern art” was influenced by the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus style played with the relationship between art and technology, form and function, and design and industry. Dessau was the school’s second location (it was in Weimar from 1919-1925, then in Berlin from 1932-1933). The original building in Dessau was designed by Walter Gropius and still stands, serving as a museum as well as a school where students can still take classes.
Obviously, as an architectural studies major studying German, the Bauhaus is an interesting and relevant topic for me to study. In fact, I was able to take a semester long class last spring about it as well as conduct independent research. Since I was in Connecticut taking the course, we could read articles about, study pictures of, and analyse art pieces done at the Bauhaus, but not actually see any of the original works. Seeing everything I had learned about in person and standing in the spaces where such influential work was produced is not an experience I am soon to forget.
I was going crazy as we approached the building. I immediately recognized some of the design decisions Gropius made in the architecture, thinking back to floor plans and elevations I had studied in the spring. My favorite part of the tour was seeing the auditorium, cafeteria, and living spaces because it made it more real to me that people actually lived and worked at the school. This place I had learned so much about was real, not just an abstract concept. I also loved sitting in the Wassily Chair since it is such an iconic Bauhaus art piece by Marcel Breuer. We spent a long time discussing it in my Bauhaus class, so walking around it and sitting in it made all of the readings and conversations we had about it make sense in a new way. I know my professor from Connecticut College has visited the Bauhaus as well, so I am excited to see her when I am back on campus in January to talk about our experiences!
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<p>I am a rising junior at Connecticut College majoring in Architectural Studies. When I am not studying or constructing three-dimensional architecture models, I can be found playing ultimate frisbee or helping run the Womxn's Empowerment Initiative at Conn. After graduating from high school, I took a gap year to work as an au pair near Hamburg, Germany, so I could not be more excited to return to the country and share with you my adventures!</p>