Bauhaus Meisterhäuser Gropius and Moholy-Nagy - Dessau-Rosslau - Germany
Nearly as controversial as the reconstruction of the Berlin Stadtschloss is the rebuilding of the Meisterhäuser [Masters’ Houses] once inhabited by Gropius and Moholy-Nagy in Dessau (built in 1926 by the architect Walter Gropius), which were destroyed during the Second World War.
Bruno Fioretti Marquez Architekten (BFM) confront this years-long conflict with a “strategy of blurred memory.” The Bauhaus Dessau Foundation had pointedly spoken out against a “faithful” reconstruction. Instead it launched a number of competitions in search of a strategy to reinterpret these modernist classics. For their reconstruction of the Director’s House, BFM reference not the original building, but a plaster model Walter Gropius once had made of it.
The architects see this as the “reconstruction of an idea” that should be reinterpreted “with all uncertainties and abstractions.”
Essentially, the plaster model will be enlarged to a scale of 1:1, maintaining its sketch-like quality with such features as frameless, flush windows. Inside, the original room structures are to be suggested by new woodwork.
For this abstract reconstruction, significant changes were made to the existing premises. Most notably, the removal of the Emmer House, which was built above the basement of the destroyed Gropius House in 1956. The pitched roof villa was a direct example of the at times destructive treatment of the Bauhaus legacy during the twentieth century.
The BFM project raises fundamental questions concerning reconstruction and recycling: why shouldn’t this construction be true to the original, as was done with the other Meisterhäuser nearby?
Here, in contrast to the Stadtschloss in Berlin, numerous original elements had survived. Why must this “blurred” reconstruction by BFM be erected on the “genuine” basement of the Gropius house? Would it have been more consistent to conduct this elsewhere as an independent experiment?
Only a classic reconstruction requires the aura of the original location and as many original elements as possible.
As the attempt to reconstruct the past—new, but out of focus—this remains an interesting project concept. But only upon its scheduled completion in 2013 will it be able to prove itself as architecture.