History of the foundation – In charge of legacy and present-day

Bauhausgebäude Dessau, 2009,  Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau
Bauhausgebäude Dessau, 2009, Stiftung Bauhaus Dessau / Foto: Yvonne Tenschert

The Bauhaus building is headquarter of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. It still seems modern in its cool elegance and formal simplicity – as if it was built recently. However it is located in Dessau since 1926. Walter Gropius’s Bauhaus Building is a long-established icon of Modernism, the manifestation of a complex idea in steel, glass and stone. In 1945, the Bauhaus building in Dessau  was partially destroyed. After a makeshift repair, it was used as a school building over and over again in the following decades. The house was only restored in according to guidelines for historical monuments in 1976 as the GDR rediscovered the Bauhaus legacy for itself and began to use it for political purposes. Back then, the "Wissenschaftlich-Kulturelles Zentrum" took place at Bauhaus building, an organisation, which started to build the Bauhaus collection and re-activated Bauhaus stage.

This original site of Bauhaus history is now the headquarters for the Dessau Bauhaus Foundation. In Dessau-Roßlau, the institution – which was established in 1994 by the federal government, state and city – is dedicated to the preservation of a rich legacy and simultaneously makes contributions to shaping the environment of modern life. It is a cultural lighthouse in the new German states.

With 26,000 objects, the foundation has the second-largest Bauhaus collection in the world. A portion of it can be viewed in the permanent “Workshop of the Modern Age” exhibition that primarily presents the Dessau period of the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1932. It therefore reflects a phase in which the teaching activities, as well as the workshops and architecture department, were able to develop their greatest impact.

As a pillar of the teachings, the academy offers programmes such as the International Bauhaus College, which is an interdisciplinary offering of courses in English that is primarily oriented towards architects, urban designers and urbanists. In Dessau and on site in alternating cities throughout the entire world, the college allows young professionals from architecture and art, design and the humanities to gain an insight into the complex realities of contemporary cities. The programme is complemented by annual summer schools on various topics.
The new workshop is dedicated to the architectural and urban-planning issues of the present age. It most recently hosted the 2010 International Building Exhibition on Urban Redevelopment Saxony-Anhalt in 19 small and medium-sized cities of Saxony-Anhalt. During the eight years of this project, a competence centre for the changes and future perspectives in the shrinking cities has been created at the Dessau Bauhaus.

From 1994 until 1998, Rolf Kuhn was the foundation's director. Kuhn was succeeded by Omar Akbar, who held the office until 2009. From 2009 til 2014 architect and publicist Philipp Oswalt was head of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation. Since August 1st 2014 Dr. Claudia Perren is the new director of the Bauhaus Foundation Dessau.