Bauhaus Masters' Houses reinterpreted
by Bruno Fioretti Marquez


Two houses originally designed by Walter Gropius for professors at the Bauhaus art school in Dessau, Germany, have been rebuilt as a minimalist arrangement of geometric shapes by Berlin office Bruno Fioretti Marquez.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

The reconstruction of the Director's House and the Moholy-Nagy House by Bruno Fioretti Marquez completes the restoration of an estate that contains a total of five properties designed by Gropius in 1925.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

Located at the campus in Dessau, where the famous Modernist institution moved in 1925 after the Nazis won control of the state of Weimar, the buildings known as the Masters' Houses were designed to accommodate the school's professors, including the artists László Moholy-Nagy and Wassily Kandinsky.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

During World War II, Gropius' house and half of the semi-detached house previously occupied by Moholy-Nagy were destroyed in an air raid, while the rest of the houses were let out or used as a hospital and factory.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

The rebuilding of the two properties, and of a refreshment kiosk on a corner of the site designed by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1932, marks the completion of a restoration project that began in 1992 with the renovation of the surviving houses to their original states.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

Rather than faithfully reconstructing the destroyed buildings, Bruno Fioretti Marquez decided to retain the proportions of the original structures but further reduce the already minimal design of the exteriors and create them using contemporary methods.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

Working from drawings, models and photos of the two houses, the architects constructed shells of poured concrete with windows mounted flush to the facades and treated with an opaque wash to accentuate the flat, sculptural nature of the boxy forms.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

The interior spaces are given over to an installation by German artist Olaf Nicolai called The Colour of Light, which is influenced by the colour experimentations conducted by Moholy-Nagy during his time at the Bauhaus.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez

Using the existing volumes as a starting point, Nicolai divided the interiors into a series of rectangles and squares that resemble the artist's geometric paintings.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez
Photo by Lena Böhnlein

Instead of colour, walls, floors and ceilings are finished in monochromatic renders with varying textures that respond in different ways to the affect of daylight and the shape of the rooms.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez
Photo by Lena Böhnlein

The two reconstructed houses were opened by German President Joachim Gauck this month and the buildings will now be used to host events and exhibitions by the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation and a cultural organisation called the Kurt-Weill Zentrum.

Bauhaus Masters Houses reinterpreted by Bruno Fioretti Marquez
Builders working on the original Masters' House in October 1925

Photography is by Christoph Rokitta, unless otherwise stated.

  • Kris

    Those shadow gaps though.

  • well done

    Masterful and sensitive.

    • Guest

      Agreed. A fantastic and respectful job well done.

  • _DAV_

    The house where I don’t want to live.

  • Z-dog

    I like to think that our modern knowledge of materials may make these houses even better than they originally were.

    Lovely detailing and expression.

    • scot sims

      Better than the original?

    • mitate

      Doubt materials are better, and not sure workmanship is as good. Ceiling panels/hatches/gaps: phew!

  • scot sims

    This project should never have been approved. The final product is an “interpretation” of Gropius’ work.

    • Colonel Pancake

      Good idea. Let’s just stop architects in their tracts so that no historical standards of design may be developed or modified without the written consent of people that have been dead for half a century. That’ll show society and its demand for housing who’s boss.

      • scot sims

        Sorry you lack comprehension. See Iryna’s comment below.

        Tracts are religious in nature, Did you possibly mean “tracks”?

    • Iryna

      I fully agree. It creates a wrong impression not only of the work of Gropius but of the Bauhaus principles and architecture of that period as a whole. It’s falsified history.

  • Rufio

    Those ceiling access hatches though.

  • Lydia K

    It’s sad because the project is very poorly described by Dezeen. I’ve followed it up closely on the German architecture press, and I also attended a lecture by Professor Fioretti a couple of years ago while they were still in the design process.

    First of all, there are not enough plans and photographs left in order to reconstruct the buildings.

    Secondly, anyone who has worked in an architecture office dealing with restorations and especially in Germany with its strict laws, knows, that it is not possible to have the effect of modernism ie at the window frames, which have to be much thicker in order to be insulating. That can ruin the whole effect for a modernistic house! Instead of that the architects experimented with some kind of resin for the windows in close cooperation with construction companies.

    But most importantly, they said that their intention was not to reconstruct the buildings, but a vague memory of them, which one gets from their old photographs. Professor Fioretti said that photographs by Hiroshi Sugimoto were an inspiration to them in this direction. This is a very interesting point and it opens up an architectural/historical discourse. How can the past and the present meet each other, in what kind of relationship do they stand to each other.

    Is the point to reconstruct the buildings exactly as they were before? Then it is a fake (see also F for Fake from Orson Welles). Is this the point? That the tourists go there, and see something and think that it is 100 years old?

    Well Modernism and Bauhaus are not only form, and this is something that most of the people don’t get. It’s as ridiculous as building a Medieval church or ancient Greek column in front of my house in the 21st century.

    All those styles represent societal shifts, represent a way of thinking and specific ideals. We don’t have this way of thinking anymore. We don’t need Modernism in 2014, that’s why we don’t produce it anymore.

    People in the 1920s needed it, it was a revolution! It’s like this silly discourse in Berlin, now they are reconstructing the palace, a HUGE political decision.

    I think the project of Bruno Fioretti Marquez is great. It’s delicate, intelligent, contemporary and with respect to history. Respect doesn’t mean copying anyway! If you don’t like the shadow gaps (which fit the concept perfectly!) they belong to a powerful and mature statement for the 21st century.