The ideas of the »Arbeitsrat für Kunst« [Work Council for Art] founded in 1918 – to which Walter Gropius, Otto Bartning, and Lyonel Feininger also belonged – materialized at the Bauhaus. The Bauhaus understood building not as a purely private endeavor, but as a public task. The school’s architectural films reflect most clearly the broad scope of the reform efforts in the Weimar Republic.
Ella Bergmann-Michel studied at the Bauhaus for only one semester before moving to Frankfurt in 1920; however, the influence of the Bauhaus on her work is undeniable. Her film »Wo wohnen alte Leute?« [Where do old people live?] begins with a polemic against the lonely, noisy living conditions in Frankfurt am Main’s old town. The film presents a socially progressive senior citizens’ residence with airy and light modern functional architecture, situated in a green area. The focus lies on the achievements of modern architecture that restructures the norms of social housing and collective living.
The nine-part film series »Wie wohnen wir gesund und wirtschaftlich?« [How can we live healthily and economically?] by Walter Gropius presents the ideas of the »Neues Bauen« [New Building] movement. It shows the modern materials used, concrete, steel, and glass, and the new construction methods of prefabrication and buildings made of concrete slabs. Three of the series’ nine parts are dedicated to the Bauhaus and evidence that the Bauhaus’s legendary status by no means only originated in the post-war period. Since the 1920s, Bauhaus artists, teachers, and students con- structed and publicized this unique school in their advertising films. The directors Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe developed sophisticated marketing strategies in which the novel designs of the Bauhaus products were advertised using the then new media of photography and film.