Renovation and Conservation – Archaeology of Modernism

The Bauhaus Building, erected in 1926 to a plan by Walter Gropius and described as "the icon of Modernism" or "the manifesto of Bauhaus ideas", is regarded as a revolution in the architectural history of the 20th century. In 1996, UNESCO adopted the Bauhaus Building and the Masters’ Houses, along with the Bauhaus buildings in Weimar, as World Cultural Heritage sites. The Foundation thus has extensive and fascinating scope for its activities in building research and conservation. In the course of their work the researchers repeatedly uncover new, surprising aspects of the building, e.g. the colouring of the Bauhaus.

Top priority is given to the maintenance and conservation of the original fabric of the building. Following an overall plan, and under the watchful eye of experts, original components of the building are restored, enhanced or reconstructed. In some areas, however, the period condition is not restored and changes that favour the current use of the building are very carefully introduced using a contemporary formal language. The renovation process also ensures that traces of the building’s history, that is, of the lifelines of the building, are secured, and that these are also displayed where they do not infringe upon the overall appearance of the building.
Following the completion of work on the shell of the building, the load-bearing structure and the technical installations, bringing work on the building’s interior to a close this year will complete with the design of the Outdoor Facilities.

With the strictly ordered physical structure of the Bauhaus Building and the bridge, which traverses the present Bauhausstraße, Gropius created a close and self-explanatory architectonic link between exterior and interior space. Because the building’s environs are an important part of the overall concept, they are also protected and included on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. The plan for the grounds followed on the basis of a competition tendered by the municipality of Dessau in 2004 for the design of the entire area between the railway station, the campus and the Anhalt University of Applied Sciences. The objective of the work on the grounds, which began in 2006, includes besides the functional improvement of, for instance, parking, delivery and waste disposal facilities, bringing the artistic and historical value of the Bauhaus to the fore.

The reserved design of the grounds works with very few elements. The historic profile of the thoroughfare, where the pavement, kerbside and road were paved with a variety of materials, is to be replaced by an asphalt strip, which will mark the course of the road from the Bauhausplatz (or Bauhaus court) to the station. It will also lie level with the remaining areas, which are reinforced with grey concrete slabs. Trees and lawns complete the development of the grounds at the Bauhaus, which were finished in 2009.