The Bauhaus was one of the first colleges of design, and in the 14 years of its existence it brought together not just many of the most important artists, architects, designers and graphic artists of the age but also provided a blueprint for the comprehensive design and modernisation of our industrial society. At the time neither the teachers, their students nor society as a whole were able to predict with what ease and universal validity the design principles of the Bauhaus would be adapted to a range of applications worldwide. The institution itself was forced by conservative political forces to change location a number of times, moving from Weimar via Dessau to Berlin, where the Bauhaus was closed down in 1933 under political pressure of the Nazis.
Paradoxically it was this very harassment of the Bauhaus which was responsible for the unfolding of its worldwide significance. Many of its former teachers emigrated to the United States and as university professors had a major influence on generations of architects and product designers. Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer lectured at Harvard, Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) in Chicago, and Josef Albers at Black Mountain College, to name just a few.
It is accordingly not surprising that the term 'Bauhaus' became a style and is today representative of radical modernisation in architecture and everyday objects, with all its negative concomitants and extravagances.
Walter Gropius, 1928. Photo: Associated Press, Berlin Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin