2. Community

From the very early days, the idea of a Bauhaus »community« was common currency, and its meaning shifted in many ways over the years.

In the very first school programme of April 1919 Walter Gropius emphasised that the aim was »to train architects, painters and sculptors of all standards according to their abilities to become either hard-working artisans or free artists, and to found a working community of leading and young working artists.«

As well as this community of labour, Gropius was just as interested in the living community of masters and students, which he also noted expressly in the Bauhaus programme. This was a community with shared leisure activities, particularly evident in the Bauhaus evening events and the legendary Bauhaus parties. In 1932, Bauhaus director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe also noted the importance of this working and living community, just as the closure of the Dessau Bauhaus was imminent:

»There is no educational institution to match the Bauhaus in Germany and the whole world. Particularly in the past two years, relations between teachers and students in Dessau have gained a far greater quality of cooperation than can be achieved in any other German university.«

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

And van der Rohe’s predecessor, Hannes Meyer, also made the cooperative and collective work of everyone at the Bauhaus his guiding principle.

The goal of a cohesive community at the Bauhaus was, however, repeatedly challenged by the formation of specific interest groups, such as the separatist Mazdaznan community led by Johannes Itten at the early Bauhaus, and also by communist groups during the era of Hannes Meyer and Mies van der Rohe. And the »equality of the sexes« that Gropius had proclaimed at the beginning was not always easy – it had to be renegotiated in the Bauhaus community many times over the years.

Curator: Boris Friedewald