Arts & Architecture

Case Study Houses & Bauhaus


In 1945, Arts & Architecture magazine announces the following:
Because most opinion, both profound and light-headed, in terms of post war housing is nothing but speculation in the form of talk and reams of paper, it occurs to us that it might be a good idea to get down to cases and at least make a beginning in the gathering of that mass of material that must eventually result in what we know as house-post war.

It is with that in mind that the magazine announces the project they called THE CASE STUDY HOUSE PROGRAM. After the last case study was finished, there where a total of 34 Case Study Houses and 2 Case Study Apartments. Some of them have not been build in the end and some of them have already been demolished, but the better part is still around and even open for visitors.

Case Study House # 8 Eames

These days when you hear or read about design in the media, they actually mean style. Whether the Houses are style is up to you, but they sure are top notch design. The Houses that were built since 1945 in the greater Los Angeles region, San Fransisco and even one in Phoenix, still belong to the most important American contribution towards modern architecture. The whole experiment came from the mind of John Entenza, publisher and chief-editor of Arts & Architecture. He expected that after the war, America would have to answer to house shortage and therefor he wanted to design affordable one-family houses. Through his magazine he offered upcoming architects the possibility to design and also build these kind of houses for real clients. All the materials needed were donated and of course the whole project would get widespread attention and coverage by media.

Case Study House # 22 Koenig

The project was quickly picked up, and more and more architects wanted to be involved. Only by a personal invitation by Entenza himself they could pass the test. Neutra, Davidson, Eames, Koenig and so on were no representation of the American architecture in those days, but it explains Entenza's preference: Modernism. Not only the exterior of all the houses, but also the interior can be looked at as aquintessential selection of the best interior design objects ever been made. Now that is design and style all in one. Find out all you need to know on the Program and the Houses in Case Study Houses.

Founded in Weimar in 1919, the Bauhaus school developed a revolutionary approach that fused fine art with craftsmanship and engineering in everything from architecture to furniture, typography, and even theater. Originally headed by Walter Gropius, the Bauhaus counted among its members artists and architects such as Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger, Wassily Kandinsky, László Moholy-Nagy, and Marcel Breuer. In 1930, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe took over as the leader, but soon after, in 1933, the Nazi government shut down the school. During its fourteen years of existence, Bauhaus managed to change the faces of art, architecture, and industrial design forever and is still hugely influential today.

Staatliches Bauhaus

The School started with the same frame of mind as those of the Case Study House Program. At the time where only few people could afford Jugendstil, they started to design beautiful, practical and affordable objects. The Staatliches Bauhaus, as it was originally called, combined elements of both fine arts and design education. The students commenced with a preliminary course that immersed them, who came from a diverse range of social and educational backgrounds, in the study of materials, color theory, and formal relationships in preparation for more specialized studies. In these days their teachers were people like Klee, Kandinsky and Albers..just imagine!
Following their immersion in Bauhaus theory, students entered specialized workshops, which included metalworking, cabinetmaking, weaving, pottery, typography, and wall painting. It was at this time that the school adopted the slogan Art into Industry.

In 1925, the Bauhaus moved from Weimar to Dessau, where Gropius designed a new building to house the school. The typography workshop here, while not initially a priority of the Bauhaus, became increasingly important under figures like Moholy-Nagy and the graphic designer Herbert Bayer. In 1928 Gropius was succeeded by Hannes Meyer, who in his turn was succeeded by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies once again reconfigured the curriculum, with an increased emphasis on architecture. The increasingly unstable political situation in Germany however, combined with the perilous financial condition of the Bauhaus, caused Mies to relocate the school to Berlin in 1930, where it operated on a reduced scale. He ultimately shuttered the Bauhaus in 1933.

Ausstellung 1923

During the turbulent and often dangerous years of World War II, many of the key figures of the Bauhaus emigrated to the United States, where their work and their teaching philosophies influenced generations of young architects and designers. Marcel Breuer and Joseph Albers taught at Yale, Walter Gropius went to Harvard, and Moholy-Nagy established the New Bauhaus in Chicago in 1937.

To get a glimpse of all this beauty, we at Eksturstore decided to give you some proper value for money. My favourite publisher Taschen has always been a great promoter of affordable art & design books. With that in mind read up on American mid-century modernist architecture with Case Study Houses & Modernist design with Bauhaus. To top it all off, try Decorative Art 60's and Decorative Art 70's to get a feel of what style really the eye of the beholder!