The Bauhaus design movement was born in Weimar in 1919 and has since conquered the world. Discover where it all started on a modernist trip through Saxony and Thuringia.
Weimar – Dornburg – Jena – Chemnitz – Leipzig – Löbau
Explore Weimar’s sites that are part of the UNESCO listing “Bauhaus Weimar”, including “Haus Am Horn” that was built as a model for residential housing in 1923 as part of the first Bauhaus exhibition (re-opening April 2019). At the new Bauhaus Museum Weimar, which opened on 6 April 2019, you can see the world’s oldest Bauhaus collection with a multitude of iconic items. Neighbouring Neues Museum’s new permanent exhibition “Van de Velde, Nietzsche and Modernism around 1900” provides more insights into the spirit of the time and “Haus Hohe Pappeln”, designed by Henry van de Velde, is a showcase for Modernist style.
Only 45 minutes drive from Weimar, the small town of Dornburg is home to the Bauhaus Pottery Workshop, to this day a production site of fine ceramics. Tip: While here, make a detour for the Dornburg Palaces ensemble of charming palaces and gardens. Spend the second part of the day in Jena (30 min drive) to visit the Zeiss Planetarium in a 1920s modernist building. At “In der Göhre” café you can enjoy your cake served on porcelain plates designed by Henry van de Velde.
Jena (10 min from Dornburg) is Thuringia’s 2nd largest town and connects Art Nouveau, Bauhaus and Modernism. It features two (privately-owned) villas by Walter Gropius and is well known for its traditionally close relations between industry, Bauhaus artists and university.
On to Chemnitz in Saxony (approx. 1h 15 min drive), also known as the “City of Modernity” where modernist architecture is scattered around town, such as Schocken department store (now a museum for archeology), Villa Esche, designed by Henry van de Velde or Gunzenheimer Museum in a former bank building and now housing an excellent collection of works of classical modernism.
Another hour north in Leipzig, you’ll find a splendid work of one of the Bauhaus greats in the shape of a large-scale glass window by Josef Albers in the city’s Grassi Museum. As one of the world’s foremost museums of applied art, the Grassi features, among others, an outstanding textile collection including Bauhaus designs. The residential “Rundling” complex is an example for pioneering communal housing of the 1930s and the “Versöhnungskirche” (Church of Reconciliation) is another major historical monument of classical modernism in Leipzig.
Venturing east (approx. 2 hrs 45 min drive), be surprised by “Haus Schminke” in the small town of Löbau. It was designed by Hans Scharoun in 1930 for a local manufacturer and is today an internationally renowned example of the “Neues Bauen” style. Extensively renovated for the Bauhaus centenary in 2019 and an impressive sight for architecture lovers inside and out!