New museums in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin will be welcoming people in the coming years to experience the history of the Bauhaus and all the stories connected with it, in a wide variety of forms and with exhibits that have never before been shown, and to rediscover the Bauhaus’s ideas. The new museum buildings will mean that the avant-garde college will be both architecturally and ideally rooted in its three original locations.

New Bauhaus Museum Weimar: view of the city model, design: Prof. Heike Hanada with Prof. Benedict Tonon, Berlin. Klassik Stiftung Weimar
New Bauhaus Museum Weimar: view of the city model, design: Prof. Heike Hanada with Prof. Benedict Tonon, Berlin. Klassik Stiftung Weimar

Weimar: a new cultural district alongside the museum

In 2008, the Federal Government and the state of Thuringia commissioned the Klassik Stiftung Weimar with the building of a new Bauhaus museum. The museum design by Prof. Heike Hanada, in collaboration with Prof. Benedict Tonon (Berlin) was chosen as the winner from more than 500 contestants of an international architecture competition.

The new museum, in a historically significant location at the edge of the Weimarhallenpark, directly opposite the former Weimar ‘Gauforum’, shall emerge as a minimalist glass cube set over a concrete base. The new Bauhaus museum will in future be a vital cornerstone for the ‘Kosmos Weimar’ (Weimar universe), with the various museum institutions run by the Klassik Stiftung Weimar and with the City Palace at its centre. In addition, further locations and sites in Weimar will be developed on an inter-institutional basis to form a ‘topography of modernism’.

With its over 2,200 square metres of exhibition space, the new museum building will offer enough space for a thematic presentation of the Bauhaus collection. A workshop area incorporated into the museum presentation, will enable visitors to see and experience specific qualities and characteristics of objects. The exhibition collection and museum workshop will be complemented with a wide range of events and museum educational services.

The laying of the foundation stone of the new Bauhaus Museum on 28 October 2016 is the beginning of a new chapter for Weimar. At the same time, it is the initiation of the building of the first of three museums in Berlin, Dessau and Weimar, which are being developed to mark the Bauhaus Centenary.In time for the beginning of the centenary year 2019, the Klassik Stiftung Weimar’s Bauhaus collection will move to the new building.

 

Bauhaus Museum Dessau, design: Gonzaléz Hinz Zabala (addenda architects), Barcolena. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Bauhaus Museum Dessau, design: Gonzaléz Hinz Zabala (addenda architects), Barcolena. Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.

Dessau: historic collection and contemporary positions

The new Bauhaus museum in Dessau, which will be opening to coincide with the centenary of the Bauhaus in 2019, will make it possible for the first time to explain the history and variety of the design college comprehensively to visitors from all over the world. The museum’s work will focus on presenting the Foundation’s valuable collection, which is the second largest in the world with some 40,000 exhibits. However, the museum will also be a place for inquiring into Bauhaus topics and debates in the context of the twenty-first century. This will be undertaken using exhibitions, installations, performances and artistic and scholarly contributions.

In addition, the new museum will provide visitors with a location offering a variety of links to the Bauhaus in Dessau. The presentation of the collection will supplement the Bauhaus buildings by providing a historical narrative and linking the museum and the various Bauhaus buildings in Dessau, which are spread over the whole town from north to south.

The museum is being built by the young architecture office of González Hinz Zabala from Barcelona, Spain. The design was selected in an open international architecture competition for which 831 submissions were received. González Hinz Zabala designed a floating block of steel set in a glass envelope for the museum. With its reduced language, the design follows on from the architecture of the third director of the Bauhaus, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The spacious, transparent foyer on the ground floor, as an open Bauhaus stage, gives the curators tremendous freedom for arranging temporary exhibitions of contemporary work and events. The completely enclosed block on the upper storey meets all the museum requirements for presenting the collection and can be flexibly equipped with cabinets, open-plan installations and various media.

The planned date for the start of construction work for the new museum is 4 December 2016 – the ninetieth anniversary of the Bauhaus in Dessau. Financing of the new building project, amounting to € 25 million, is being shared equally by the Federal Government and the state of Sachsen-Anhalt; the organization commissioning the building is the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.

 

Extension buidling of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung: glass tower as entrance, design: Volker Staab Architekten, Berlin. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin
Extension buidling of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung: glass tower as entrance, design: Volker Staab Architekten, Berlin. Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin

Delicate entrance tower for the new Bauhaus-Archiv museum / Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin

A new museum building is also being constructed for the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung in Berlin. Increasing visitor numbers – with about 120,000 people from all over the world each year – and a constantly growing collection meant that the building designed by Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, completed in 1979, with its characteristic shed roofs and with only 700 square metres of exhibition space had reached its limits. To be able to present every facet of the rich holdings of the collection appropriately, the listed building now needs to be expanded and renovated after many years of intensive usage as a museum and archive.

In 2014, the Federal Government and the state of Berlin took the decision to support the project and share the building costs of € 56 million. The design by the Berlin architect Volker Staab emerged as the winner from a competition with a prior application procedure held in 2015, with a total of 41 participants.

Staab’s design satisfies the complex requirements involved in creating a new Bauhaus museum for the twenty-first century. In relation to what is probably the world’s most renowned college of architecture and design, the new building is intended to create an architectural symbol and at the same time to enter into dialogue with the striking building by Walter Gropius. The extension building by Volker Staab will consist of a delicate five-storey glass tower and a block for the cafe and shop. All of the exhibition areas will be located below a plateau level, which is designed as a new open space and will connect with the existing building across a patio.

Starting in 2021, the treasures of the Bauhaus-Archiv / Museum für Gestaltung’s large collection will be presented in an exhibition area of 2300 square metres, accompanied by extensive museum educational serves and events. The existing building by Walter Gropius will in the future house the research archive, library, collection storerooms and event areas, and it is be renovated in accordance with historic monument requirements during the coming years.