Farnsworth House (Illinois) - designed by Mies van der Rohe
"Architecture has for its first duty, in this period of renewal, that of bringing about a revision of values, a revision of the constituent elements of the house." - Le Corbusier
I don't know why but I have this interest on Bauhaus architecture. Maybe it's because the Bauhaus is not only architecture it's also social engineering. More precisely, as the book Living Machines - Bauhaus Architecture as sexual ideology by E. Michael Jones puts it, Bauhaus "embodied a new way of living in conscious revolution against traditional values".1
This book has a very interesting and reader friendly structure: it alternates between one chapter concerning Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius' life and ideas and a chapter examining the buildings with the Bauhaus style. The conclusion is that all these buildings brought more misery than functionality to their residents.
People living in different places like the Projects in Chicago, worker's houses in Poland or students dorms in Harvard University all experienced similar problems. A sense of isolation, imprisonment, despair and godlessness is produced by modern architecture. Not to mention problems such as alcoholism, drug abuse, violence and the destruction of families.
The same consequences happening to people in such different cities allows no space for doubts: it was intentional, it was social engineering.
Gropius was using architecture as a means for a cultural revolution. He wanted - in his own words - " to take part in a new community which is going to create the new Man in a new environment". 2
When someone starts talking about creating a new man - beware.
What do you think of the Bauhaus style of architecture? Do you see influences of it in your own city?
Image via Wikipedia
1 and 2: Jones, Living Machines, p. 82
PS: If you're interested in this subject, I also recommend Architecture of the Absurd by John Silber.