Hans Wittwer was the right-hand man of Hannes Meyer. Together they ran an architectural office. With Meyer’s appointment as Bauhaus director, Wittwer also came to the Bauhaus as an adjunct teacher. They explored the needs of the future residents of their buildings from the ground up, in order to design 'for the people'.

Portrait of Hans Wittwer, photo: unknown, around 1930. Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur an der ETH Zürich (gta-archiv7ETH Zürich) / © gta-archiv/ETH Zürich.
Portrait of Hans Wittwer, photo: unknown, around 1930. Institut für Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur an der ETH Zürich (gta-archiv7ETH Zürich) / © gta-archiv/ETH Zürich.

Between 1912 and 1916, Hans Wittwer completed his architecture studies at ETH Zurich under Friedrich Bluntschli and Karl Moser. He then worked until 1919 in Karl Moser’s architecture office in Zurich and had completed his subsequent internship in Basel by 1924. Wittwer then studied the history of urban development at the University of London in 1925 and joined a group of architects that, alongside other projects, published the magazine ABC – Beiträge zum Bauen (ABC – contributions to building). At the same time, Wittwer founded his own office in Basel, which he co-directed with Hannes Meyer in 1926–1927.

Competition design for the Petersschule, Basel, 1926, draft: Hannes Meyer, Hans Wittwer and the building department of the Bauhaus Dessau. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).
Competition design for the Petersschule, Basel, 1926, draft: Hannes Meyer, Hans Wittwer and the building department of the Bauhaus Dessau. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).

In 1927–1928, Wittwer began working as an adjunct teacher for installation theory and technical design in the building studies department at the Bauhaus Dessau. From March 1928 to February 1929, he also headed the construction office of the building department directed by Hannes Meyer. During his period as a teacher at the Bauhaus Dessau (1927–1929), he introduced new teaching modules such as methods for calculating the position of the sun that opened up new areas of knowledge for the design process.

Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, draft: Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer, 1927. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).
Palace of the League of Nations, Geneva, draft: Hannes Meyer and Hans Wittwer, 1927. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).

After his departure from the Bauhaus Dessau, Wittwer moved to the workshops of the city of Halle, the Staatliche-Städtische Kunstgewerbeschule Burg Giebichenstein (Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design Halle). Wittwer worked there as head of the architecture class and creative director of the studio for construction and interior design until 1933. During this period, Wittwer also held a job as an architect for the company Flughafengesellschaft Halle/Leipzig m.b.H. In addition, he worked as a creative consultant for the municipal council of Merseburg. Wittwer lived as a self-employed architect in Halle (Saale) until 1934. That same year, he returned to Basel to work in the family business.

Trade Union School of ADGB, Bernau near Berlin, architecture: Hannes Meyer / draft: Hans Wittwer and the building department of the Bauhaus Dessau, 1930 / photo: Junkers Luftbild. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).
Trade Union School of ADGB, Bernau near Berlin, architecture: Hannes Meyer / draft: Hans Wittwer and the building department of the Bauhaus Dessau, 1930 / photo: Junkers Luftbild. Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / © Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau (Meyer) / Hans-Jakob Wittwer (Wittwer).

Literature:
Brinkmann, Ulrich (2003): Zurück auf Meyer und Wittwer, in: Bauwelt, No. 8, 2008.
Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin (1995): Bauhaus in Berlin. Bauten und Projekte, Berlin.
Winkler, Klaus-Jürgen: Baulehre und Entwerfen am Bauhaus 1919–1933, Weimar.
Wittwer, Hans-Jakob (1998): Hans Wittwer, Zürich.