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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Dessau and the Bauhaus

You don't go through architecture school without learning about the Bauhaus and its founder Walter Gropius. One of the most famous art institutes in the world, the Bauhaus played an important role in the foundation of architecture to come. It is a building that was ahead of its time and the inspiration for later works. The travel program was fortunate enough to get a chance to tour this building and see the studios, apartments, stage and exhibition area. This was designed to be a place where students could live and work in the same environment while interacting with other students. The primarily neutral toned building uses the  three primary colors to establish direction and the floor you are currently on, which can be seen in variations of architecture today. It  of note to learn that it became a famous architecture school but didn't even offer those classes in its first year. It is still a major tourist attraction to this day with tours and the cafeteria open to visitors. It was a nice opportunity to visit a building that you have heard so much about over the past few years.
The Bauhaus
From Berlin, it only took us about two hours to get to Dessau. It doesn't take long to realize that the speed signs with no numbers or x's mean there is no speed limit. Sports cars fly by you and its crazy to see. Luckly the bus was nice and roomy and it was a smooth ride. Dessau is not nearly as big as Berlin, but it was refreshing to see something more on that scale. It's located south of Berlin and almost halfway to our night's destination of Nuremberg. The last night in Berlin was an eventful one with hotel glass breaking and rough sleep so now it's time to see what else is out there.

Federal Environmental Agency
The other building we got a chance to see was the new Federal Environmental Agency building headquarters in Dessau. This was a very modern building sitting in a older part on the city. Germany is one of the leaders in energy efficient architecture and this building follows that trend. Germany also has laws to give all employee offices fresh air so this building uses an atrium to give interior offices natural daylight. The outside of the building has ribbons of wood strips and colored window treatments that reflect the surrounding area. Red/Yellow on the sides facing the city and Green/Blue for areas facing the gardens. The roof and atrium are made of glass in an innovative design that allows for natural ventilation. This design allows for plants and shrubs to be grown indoors while allowing light to penetrate offices of both the inner and outer sides.
Federal Environmental Agency
We arrived in Nuremberg yesterday and I am staying at my first hostel, which sits high atop a large hill in an older castle construction. This is a city with a deep history and a lot to learn from. So heres to hoping I don't fall at the top.

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