Between the two World Wars, the style of architecture we now know as European Modern was
blossoming with various influences and “schools” stimulating new ideas. With the rise of Nazi Germany
and the beginning of World War II, many of the great architects were relegated to other countries,
therefore returning the focus of Modern Architecture to America. Be that as it may, the period between
1918 and 1939 should be canonized as an era that fostered unprecedented developments in Modern
Never before had the world seen a time when so many great minds were fabricating so many
new ideas and theories. The machine age and a newfound desire for functional design opened up new
realms for students, especially those at the Bauhaus. Created by combining the Academy of Fine Arts
and the School of Applied Arts, Walter Gropius hoped to merge aft with craft. He claimed that “the
complete building is the ultimate aim of the visual arts.
.. Let us create a new guild of craftsmen, without
the class snobbery that tries to erect a haughty barrier between artist and craftsman.”
Gropius' ideal was an integration of new social concepts and a higher level of spiritual synthesis.
The end of the first World War signaled a desire for such things in the general public, and he had his
mind set on the people. He also hoped to “conceive, consider and create together the new building of
the future that will bring all into one simple integrated creation: architecture, painting and sculpture
rising to heaven out of the hands of a million craftsmen, the crystal symbol of the new faith of the
The economic climate of the moment made for difficult circumstances for many students of the
Bauhaus. Yet, in 1920, a commission from wealthy merchant, Adolf Sommerfeld allowed Gropius to
involve students in the design and construction of a house. One of these students was Marcel Breuer,
would go on to have a successful career, especially in steel furniture design, that is still important today.
The curriculum and lifestyle at the Bauhaus was one of immersion in the arts and crafts. The Dessau
building itself manifested the principles it taught. Bridges connected different disciplines as did the
curriculum in a metaphorical manor. At one point the pottery shop was moved to the basement because
of its messy nature, a purely functional motivation.
Students studied various methods and topics while at the school. From a theoretical approach,
they were taught to observe nature and study it. They came to understand how their ideas should be
represented through geometry, construction, draftsmanship, and model building along with composing
concepts by their elements and principles. From a practical standpoint, students studied the properties
and possible functions of various materials. The process by which ideas came to fruition along with