THE BAUHAUS MOVEMENT, GERMANY: 1919 to 1933 For many the Bauhaus is considered an art-related movement and school, however the Bauhaus Movement relates not only to the historical roots of technology education and design education, but that these methods are increasingly more relevant today. The German word Bauhaus essentially means “House of Building or Building School”. In light of all the different understandings of what the Bauhaus is, there is something more important, the ideologies and methods that were taught there, “above all, the Bauhaus was a place where powerful ideas and creative action were vigorously generated by talented and lively people” (Wasserman, 1969, p. 19). METHODOLOGY the Bauhaus during its brief existence, from the 1920’s through 1930’s the Bauhaus developed a style that has impacted virtually every aspect of the applied arts, A man named Walter Gropius fueled the primary and founding vision of the Bauhaus. His vision for education was one that encompassed all fields. Under his leadership and direction the Bauhaus Movement and school should be considered an antecedent of technology education. This school embraced what would have been considered technology education combined with both art and creativity, From a historical point of view the separation of crafts, technology, design and art is a recent phenomenon. The Bauhaus provided a foundation of how one studies and evaluates design. Consequently, this is where a conscience effort was made to explore design as a human activity. HISTORY & TIMELINE OVERVIEW The Bauhaus movement can be narrowly defined from the period of 1919 to 1933. The school existed in three German cities and functioned with three different directors. The first director and founder was a man named Walter Gropius, the second director was Hannes Meyer, and lastly, for a short period Ludwig Mies van der Rohe led the school. The school can be examined through three distinct phases, The frist period The Founding Phase lasted from the period of 1919 until 1923 and was led by Walter Gropius in the city of Weimar. The Period of Consolidation,the second phase, lasted from 1923 until 1928. In 1925, at a critical juncture for the Bauhaus, after loosing the support of the Weimar government, In 1928, Gropius resigned and architect Hannes Meyer took his place as second director, The last phase,This period is considered the Phase of Disintegration. In 1930, Architect Mies van der Rohe becomes the third, and final director, of the Bauhaus. The Nazi Party considered the Bauhaus style un-German and by 1933 the Berlin Bauhaus closed.
THE CONTEXT The Bauhaus came about at a time in which technology education, as we know it, was in its infancy. The Bauhaus would not have been considered a school for the “industrial arts” as this term was not it existence. At the same time, on the horizon, were all of the potentials of modern technology. The sources for its history stem to the industrial revolution of the 19th century and thus from romanticism. The work into the bauhaus of Morris and Ruskin captures the opposing forces that the Bauhaus was founded on. The goal to educate students who will be able to create goods that are personal to the user that the role that use the technological strengths of industry. The role essentially given to the industrial designer is born, and therefore, a unique style of technical education or design education. Other antecedentsof the Bauhaus was Henry van de Velde. He created the Arts and Crafts School, the predecessor of the Bauhaus, and was the guiding spirit of that school for the eight or more years of its existence in Weimar. Prior to Gropius, van de Velde, laid the foundation for the Bauhaus, in both a physical and a doctrinal sense. Van de Velde erected the building at Weimar in which the Bauhaus came to be housed.
BAUHAUS END-PRODUCT 1920’3 to 30’s Wick (2000) described the type of students the Bauhaus was trying to educate. This was key to understanding the role of the school in society. Wick states that in, “1919 the Bauhaus wanted to educate, architects, painters and sculptures of all levels according to their capabilities.” He goes on to describe that the goal was to create competent craftsmen or independent creative artists that were integrated in the community. The goal was an artist-craftsmen who was able to build buildings harmoniously. In 1925 the Bauhaus focused on the training of artistically talented individuals to become creative designers in the crafts, industry and architecture. When the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, the structure of the program remained true to what had been taught at the Bauhaus in Weimar, but further progressed towards the technical. Its new location, in the industrial city of Dessau, undoubtedly played a part in this progression. Students were to work with original designs and were to justify the material choice, economy and technique. It was emphasized that the execution of the project be individual. Group criticism of the finished product was made based on the objects function, expressiveness and the possibilities of improvements. The training of the Bauhaus architect became more regimented and distinguished. Under Mies Van der Rohe the Bauhaus idea underwent a final reinterpretation. This can be seen in the
statutes of 1930 and in the teaching plan of 1932. Gropius’ contributions began to fade as the unified art school as did the school itself.
THE BASIC COURSE: CONTENT The Basic Course was a wealth of information to the student. It first introduced them to design and form and it spoke to them about light. According to Itten, the most expressive means to create drama in anything is the use and understanding of light. Engineering or architectural design uses these practices to create complex lighting design. Students would explore tonal value scales and exploration of light-dark harmony. Itten made sure that students understood pure color (hue) contrast, the light-dark contrast, the cold-warm contrast, the complementary contrast, the simultaneous contrast, the contrast of quality, and the contrast of quantity. Color forms everything we see and is essential to understanding both how we feel, and communicate, ideas in graphic design and advertising, This course content is foundational not only to technology education but essential to our understanding of the world.
BAUHAUS IN AMERICA To be part of the history of Technology Education, it is necessary to trace the roots of the Bauhaus to America and to recognize that the educational systems at this time knew globally what each other was doing. Once the school was closed in 1933, by the Nazi’s, many of the leaders of the Bauhaus, including Gropius, fled in exile to America. It is important to realize that the Bauhaus was not recreated in its former glory. The founding members did not want to repeat the process of founding a school. In addition, America as a nation, and the world, had progressed past the need for what the Bauhaus represented at the time it existed, However, it should be realized that these individuals did leave an impact on our educational system that was not by the education of another but by direct impact as they immersed themselve individually into our universities. It was said that Gropius’ teaching paved the way for at least two trends in the history of North American architecture and design education. The first trend is, “that students should realize how inexhaustible the means of creation if they make use of the innumerable products of our age and to encourage young people to find their own solutions to these problems.
FOR THE TECHNOLOGY EDUCATION TEACHER The pedagogy developed in the period of the Bauhaus remains relevant today and educators can learn a great deal from this movement. The Bauhaus provided a foundation of how to study and evaluate design, and this is where one first explores design as a human activity. The more one investigates and evaluates this movement they will find the roots of what every technology educator must be willing to integrate. Technology education in the future will look more like that of the Bauhaus and that of an industrial design education, based on the individual â€œinstructorâ€? who is a master of those fields. The education will be diverse. Education will incorporate computers, or the latest technology. In addition, the computer will be viewed as a tool much like the workshops were seen as the tools throughout history. The artists of the future will be forced to think and will not be able to rely on the computer or the creative processes to do the thinking. The Bauhaus was a multidisciplinary approach to education, where students learned by doing. They used architecture as a vehicle to educate students how to interact and create for humans. The Bauhaus approach has long been honored and accepted, but no further steps have been introduced to give the field a new impetus. It is still today the "proper" approach for the education of the designer.