Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation is a Foundation (nonprofit organization) under public law. It is a centre of research, teaching and experimental design. The Foundation in its current form was founded by the German Federal Government, the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the town Dessau in 1994. It is based in the historical Bauhaus Building in Dessau-Roßlau. The Foundation’s staff with about 60 employees includes architects, town planners, sociologists, cultural scientists, artists and art historians.
After closing and expulsion of the historical Bauhaus in Dessau on 30 September 1932 a long time of 44 years had to pass, before the Bauhaus Building could be used again in its original sense. In 1976, 50 years after its construction, the GDR government had reconstructed the historical monument and founded a "Scientific and cultural Centre". Assembly of a Bauhaus collection of its own began and the Bauhaus stage was once again used for concerts and plays. In 1986 the GDR celebrated the reopening of the Bauhaus as a "Centre for Design", tied in the eastern Germany’s department of building.
After the German reunification it seemed to be completely unclear what the Bauhaus would evolve into during the following years. On 9 February 1994 the German Federal Government, the state of Saxony-Anhalt and the town Dessau finally founded the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation.
Today, the Bauhaus Building in Dessau-Roßlau is one of Germany's World Heritage Sites.
From 1994 until 1998 Prof. Dr. Rolf Kuhn was the Executive Director of the Foundation. His successor Prof. Dr. Omar Akbar was in charge until 2009. Since 1 March 2009 the architect and publicist Prof. Philipp Oswalt is the head of the Foundation; his deputy is Dr. Regina Bittner, who is also responsible for the Foundation’s Academy.
Mission and structure
Today, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation is based in the historic Bauhaus Building. As one of the cultural beacons in the new federal states, it is committed to conserving, researching into and passing on the Bauhaus legacy, while also finding solutions to the problems of designing today’s living environment. With its three sections – Collection, Workshop and Academy –, the Foundation addresses contemporary urban challenges, explores options for the future and develops stimuli for architecture, design and the performing arts.
Collection and archive
In terms of content, the Foundation’s work is based on three mainstays. Dessau-Roßlau has the second-largest collection in the world – around 26,000 objects – relating to the history of the Bauhaus. Part of the Collection may be seen in the Permanent Exhibition, which is located in the basement of the Bauhaus Building.
The Academy is the mainstay of teaching. Since 1999, the International Bauhaus Kolleg has offered a one-year interdisciplinary module through the medium of English, where architects, urban designers and urban scientists from all over the world are taught.
In the workshop, research and teaching are manifestly enmeshed, build on and complement each other in the different projects and project phases – just as craftsmen work hand in hand in a workshop until the final product is complete. Here, the current focus is on the International Building Exhibition IBA 2010, which is developing projects for 19 small and medium-sized cities in Saxony-Anhalt, in order to meet the challenges presented by population decline.
The Foundation’s work is complemented by experimental stage productions, stage events and festivals, creating a lively and creative atmosphere. Exhibitions – both permanent and temporary – in the historical premises address the heritage and design problems of today. The Foundation has revitalised the legendary Bauhaus Stage with a rich programme of contemporary music and dance. In Dessau, tourists and experts in the field, journalists and researchers, learn about the Bauhaus in all its complexity: guided tours of the building itself, and of the other Bauhaus buildings, overnight accommodation in the historic dormitory, temporary exhibitions and a wide range of events on the Bauhaus Stage bring the Bauhaus’s legacy to life, in Dessau more than anywhere else. Every year, the birthplace of Modernism attracts 100,000 visitors from around the world, who wish to discover the spirit of the influential School of Design for themselves. The permanent exhibition in the basement of the Bauhaus Building shows a selection of the 26,000 objects held in the second-largest Bauhaus collection in the world. who wish to discover the spirit of the influential School of Design for themselves. The Bauhaus Building and the Masters’ Houses – together with the Kornhaus by Carl Fieger, the former Employment office by Walter Gropius, the Törten Estate and the other Bauhaus buildings in Dessau – are key works of the international modern architecture par excellence.
- Official Website of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
- Friends of the Bauhaus
- Publications of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
- The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation today
- Web platform published by the three institutions which preserve the Bauhaus heritage in Germany (Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and Foundation of Weimar Classics)