Reconstruction of the Gropius Director's House – Reparation of the Masters' House Ensemble since 2011

Updating Modernism

The municipal purchase of the traditional duo-pitch-roofed Emmer House, built in 1956 on the WWII ruins of the Gropius Master’s House, triggered an internal debate with regard to the remembrance policy at this outstanding Bauhaus site in Dessau. The Foundation’s historical research formed the context for this topical debate by means of historic reference to the history of modern architecture in Germany, the history of the Bauhaus’ reception at this location and the remembrance policy strategies upheld by the Unesco World Cultural Heritage sites.

This research was able to serve the local political debate by indicating several alternative approaches to this memorial site. These included the reconstruction of the entire Masters’ House Ensemble in line with the precepts of monument protection; the aesthetic reconstruction of the outer form of the Gropius Master’s House in the interests of tourism; the conservation of the Emmer House as an historic record of destruction and reconstruction.

The final alternative – updating Modernism – integrates reconstruction and conservation, whereby the Bauhaus legacy is safeguarded by the up-to-date configuration/transfiguration of the building’s present state; the memories of Modernism preserved at this memorial site are thus updated/taken forward into the future of architecture and space development. Two symposiums held in 2003 and 2004 added to the intensity of this debate. For these, the Foundation held an experimental design workshop to update the Gropius House and made a film comprising interviews with international experts in the field of modern architecture, who gave their views on Modernism, the Bauhaus and the specific case of the Gropius House.

In December 2012 the Gropius Master's House celebrated its topping out ceremony. The opening was in May 2014.