Externally funded project

The Houses with Balcony Access in Dessau-Törten. Reconstruction and analysis of the planning, construction and usage history of the project of the Bauhaus Dessau under the direction of Hannes Meyer (Laubenganghäuser in Dessau-Törten)

Project Details
Project duration: 11/201609/2020


The to date little-researched Houses with Balcony Access in Dessau-

Törten are the most important and - apart from the demolished Haus

Nolden - the only building project realised by the building department

of the historic Bauhaus. They manifest the Bauhaus concept of

combining research-based education with practice and of processing

and realising practical design tasks in the classroom. At the same

time the Houses with Balcony Access are an important contribution to

the then current debate concerning housing for the subsistence

minimum and the debate about modern urban typologies. Built after

the onset of the Great Depression in 1929/1930, they represent the

start of a new phase of modern architecture: Based on a conscious

rejection of the meanwhile firmly established formal and stylistic

conventions, Meyer and the teachers and students involved in the

project sought a consistent orientation towards efficiency and usage,

which among other things led to the use of local building materials,

the application of new technologies and modern, collective housing

typologies. The first part of the research project will reconstruct the

progression of the urban development concept for the expansion of

the Dessau-Törten Estate. This will cover the controversial formation

of political will as well as the design conception. The latter will involve

an investigation of Hannes Meyers influence and, especially, Ludwig

Hilberseimers role. The only partly realised estate is the first practical

example of the concept of a mixed development, formulated shortly

before by Hilberseimer. This at the time completely new concept not

only contributed significantly to the debate on new building typologies,

but was also defining for Hilberseimers further career (e.g. project

Lafayette Park in Detroit, 1956). The second part of the research

project turns toward the object planning, for which the Bauhaus

building department was responsible. It will examine which teachers

and students played a part in this and which idea and concepts

influenced the development process. How were design and

architecture taught? How was the practice of design and construction

conceived in the building department, and which other Bauhaus

departments participated in the project? Which understanding of

architecture and which educational concept were reflected here? The

third part of the research project focuses on the history of reception

and construction: How was the project received by the users, by the

city of Dessau and in professional circles? How was the building

used, altered and restored during its decades of use up to the present

day? Sources of information consulted in order to answer this last

question will include not only archival documentation, but also the

users and the building itself. Users will be questioned in structured

interviews and information will be sourced from a site survey of one of

the buildings, building restoration research and archaeological


Balcony Access, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau-Törten, Hannes Meyer, Laubenganghaus

Last updated on 2020-23-02 at 15:40