Walter Gropius

Meisterhäuser . Dessau

Walter Gropius . photos: © David Altrath

Walter Gropius’s Meisterhäuser as well as the reconstructed Bauhaus Director’s House and Moholy-Nagy House Bruno Fioretti Marquez shot by David Altrath.

The “Meisterhäuser” in Dessau are considered “prototypes of white modernism” and shape the image of modern architecture worldwide. Three semi-detached houses and a director’s villa form the Meisterhaus ensemble built in 1925-26. Only a few minutes’ walk from the Bauhausgebäude, this is where Walter Gropius first realised his architectural ideas in an artists’ housing estate.

The white houses, surrounded by pines and deciduous trees, were designed for the Bauhaus masters and their families. In addition to the respective Bauhaus directors, the residents included Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Oskar Schlemmer, Georg Muche, Anni and Josef Albers as well as László and Lucia Moholy-Nagy. It was not only the prominent residents, but above all its radically modern and much-publicised architecture that established the legendary reputation of the estate. It quickly became the epitome of New Building and New Living.

The estate has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. Since 2014, the ensemble has been completed by the reconstruction of the war-damaged Director’s House and the Moholy-Nagy House. The responsible architectural office Bruno Fioretti Marquez opted for an “architecture of blurriness” that consciously differentiates between original substance and reinterpretation. In the course of the reconstruction, the drinking hall built by Mies van der Rohe in 1932 and later demolished was also restored.
David Altrath