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Bauhaus and the Design School

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Under increasing pressure from the Nazis the school closed in 1930 but the ideas of the movement where disseminated throughout the world by its prominent leaders. Walter Gropius and Meyer moved to America and taught at the highly influential Harvard School of Design and essentially laid the basis for the American Bauhaus movement. Others moved to Russia and the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. The persecution by the Nazis and the spread of ideas did much to rescue the high achievements of German design from the stigma of association with its Nazi past. The opening of a design School in the Bauhaus model in Ulm in 1951 did much to reserect the the special achievement of the Bauhaus movement and in turn it did much to offer a new face to German design. Following the horrors of World War II there was a reaction to the the association between science and society as this had been a feature of the rationale for Nazi expansionism as it is put eloquently here: it is crucial to recall that the Ulm project to forge a new post fascist “industrial culture” diverged markedly from the more general postwar cultural pessimism about the potentially redemptive powers of science and industrial technology.

Much of this postwar sentiment was a response to the Nazi legacy of industrialized mass death and destruction, in which the West German right and left joined hands in denouncing Germanys 1930s theology of technology as a central element of the “German catastrophe. (Betts, 2004, p. 157) There was a fear of the past and it was logical, “ it is crucial to recall that the Ulm project to forge a new post fascist “industrial culture” diverged markedly from the more general postwar cultural pessimism about the potentially redemptive powers of science and industrial technology.

Much of this postwar sentiment was a response to the Nazi legacy of industrialized mass death and destruction, in which the West German right and left joined hands in denouncing Germanys 1930s theology of technology as a central element of the “German catastrophe”. (Betts, 2004, p. 157) The Bauhaus School and its innovators and thinkers were a way to distance German National image away from the horrors of the Nazis and reassert what had been good about the rationalism of that early design movement.

Rationalism then became the guiding force for the New Bauhaus school at Ulm. The school was successful in bringing back the area in where Germany excelled in design at a time when there had been the reactive impulse to withdraw from that tradition.

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