Tour Showcases Newly-Restored Bauhaus Architecture in Dessau

If its seeds were sown in Weimar, the Bauhaus bloomed in Dessau. Here, in the latter half of the 1920s, close links to industry and a tabula rasa urban form enabled Bauhauslers to finally build. The school’s fundamentally Modernist experiments found built expression in Dessau, yet this flurry of construction has aged variously since. With the centennial of the school’s establishment sparking a binge of events and celebrations—not to mention state investment—the Dessau-Roßlau municipality rehabbed a slew of these signature works, set to reopen this month and newly contextualized within a narrative tour called Originals Retold. Among them: the Masters’ Houses (top) and parts of the Dessau-Törten Housing Estate (see slideshow), a late-1920s rationalist planned neighborhood that aimed to ameliorate the interwar housing crunch. Walter Gropius’s Employment Office and Konsum Building, both government commissions, also reflect the Bauhaus’s social aspirations, as well as the economic and cultural mood of the times. But all that’s old is new again, in more ways than one, and with far-right elements increasingly represented in government—including in Dessau, which recently and controversially canceled a left-leaning band’s concert at the Bauhaus Building—perhaps the architecture’s optimistic, forward-thinking bent is primed to be unearthed.