Bauhaus: Design in Stuttgart

Before this past weekend, Bauhaus was just a term filed away in my mind's folder labeled "Stuff the pretentious kids said in my art history class in college." You may know it as the style in which "form follows function." In other words, the space, or object, is designed with its function in mind and an emphasis on zero frills. I had heard of it, but I had never seen it. This it can refer to a style of architecture, and I had the opportunity to visit some examples.

As far as I understand, the Wiessenhof Estate in Stuttgart is a group of houses designed in the Bauhaus style. A group called the Deutscher Werkbund commissioned the estate as an exhibition in the late 20s. Sixteen different architects were invited to participate in the project and contribute their designs for single family and multi-family homes. The purpose was to introduce a new way of designing living space that would be utilitarian and affordable enough to help solve the housing shortage in Stuttgart.

The houses feature concrete building materials, flat roofs (which serve as space-saving terraces), and small windows. Today you can wander through the estate, a sort of outdoor museum, and read (in English, too!) about each house and view its floor plans. Beware the laundry hanging in the yard - the houses are fully occupied by residents.

Beyond the practical exteriors, the interiors of these homes were also specifically created to save space and money. Such functional features include built-in wardrobes, hide-away beds, and narrow hallways. If you'd like to get an idea of what the architects intended for the interiors, visit French architect Le Corbusier's double family home that was converted into the Weissenhof Museum (first three photos below) in 2002.

View from the Weissenhof Museum

Row houses designed by Dutch architect Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud

Row houses designed by Dutch architect Mart Stam

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