Here’s How to Take a Bauhaus-themed Road Trip Through Germany
This year marks the centennial of the design academy's founding — the perfect moment for an architecture-themed road trip from Frankfurt to Berlin.
The Bauhaus, the influential German school of Modernist design founded by Walter Gropius, whose members included architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, existed for only 14 years before the Nazi regime shut it down and its founders fled Germany. Yet the school's ethos — a clean aesthetic and a philosophy that prized both form and function — has become ubiquitous across the globe. Now, with the April debut of the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, two more museums on their way, and a calendar full of celebratory exhibitions and events all year long, Germany has Bauhaus on the brain. Here's how to take a pilgrimage to the country's most notable Bauhaus sites.
Fly in to Frankfurt and rent a car. Before you skip town, stop at the German Architecture Museum, where scale models trace the evolution of architecture, from prehistory to the present. One current exhibition, "New Human, New Housing," explores how Modernism shaped the city of Frankfurt’s urban design.
Drive northeast to the Bauhaus Museum Weimar, in the city where the group was founded. It shows how the Bauhaus approach was expressed in everything from lounge chairs to children's toys. Buy an all-access card that gets you in to four other sites, including the 1923 Haus am Horn, one of the first Bauhaus model homes, which reopens in mid-May. Stay the night at the newly renovated, 1920s-inspired Hotel Elephant Weimar.
On your way to Berlin, stop in Dessau, where Gropius and his cohort moved after the Bauhaus’s Weimar location was closed down. Spend the day at the Bauhaus Building, site of the school itself, and the Masters' Houses, faculty residences that were once home to luminaries such as Kandinsky and Klee.
Check in to the centrally located Das Stue, then swing by the Gropius-designed Bauhaus Archive. It’s in the midst of a major expansion, so you can’t go inside, but it’s worth a stop nonetheless. For a taste of the museum’s offerings, visit the temporary location in Charlottenburg. At the adjoining Bauhaus-Shop, you can buy a set of clean-lined Josef Hartwig chess pieces, or perfectly formed teacups designed by Gropius himself. Book a tour with Art:Berlin to see several notable Bauhaus sites or get an in-depth look at just one, such as Gropiusstadt, Walter Gropius's model city on the outskirts of Berlin.