The New Masters’ Houses in Dessau, 1925–2014
Debates, Positions, Contexts: Edition Bauhaus 46
Published by Spector Books.
Foreword by Martino Stierli. Introduction by Claudia Perren. Text by Regina Bittner, Donatella Fioretti, Ralph Walter Hagemann, Florian Heilmeyer, Ingolf Kern, Monika Lüttich, Pepe Marquez, Monika Markgraf, Livia Klee-Meyer, Werner Möller, Philipp Oswalt, Axel & Sabine Rackow, Andreas Schwarting, Wolfgang Thöner, Ulrike Wendland, Thomas Will.
When Dessau was bombed in early 1945, the Bauhaus Masters’ Houses, the epitome of the 20th-century artists’ colony, were reduced to rubble as well.
After the main Masters’ Houses were restored to their original state in the 1990s, Walter Gropius’s Director’s House and László Moholy-Nagy’s Master’s House were still in ruins, and a debate began over their reconstruction. What was the relevance of these structures at the turn of a new century? In 2010, after consultation with the British architect David Chipperfield, the decision was made to reinterpret the House Gropius and House Moholy-Nagy using contemporary means, rather than rebuilding them as 1:1 reconstructions.
The Berlin firm Bruno-Fioretti-Marquez was commissioned to design new Masters’ Houses. These new structures use the same formal vocabulary of simple, functional forms and right angles as the original Bauhaus buildings, but update these for the 21st century through selective reduction and abstraction. The project represents a unique, thoughtful engagement with the problems of architectural reconstruction grounded in criticality and creativity rather than blind reverence. The New Masters’ Houses in Dessau, 1925–2014 describes the checkered history of the Dessau Masters’ Houses and presents the reconstructed buildings for the first time in book form, with photographs by Armin Linke and Heidi Specker.