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New Bauhaus, Chicago ( 1937- today, known as CHICAGO INSTITUTE OF DESIGN
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Foreword

Among those leaving Germany after the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1932 were Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer who went to the Harvard School of Design, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who went to Chicago and the Illinois Institute of Technology. Bauhaus design or the international style was not unknown in the United States, but the arrival of these teachers and their training of a new generation of architects helped spread Bauhaus design principles in the following decades.

Bauhaus design was based on several theories: the combination of the fine arts and craftsmanship with industrial engineering, and the use of steel, glass, and prefabricated materials. Houses and commercial structures built in the Bauhaus style had flat roofs, smooth façades and cubic shapes. Colors were white, gray, beige, or black. Floor plans were open and furniture was functional. In Germany there was the social goal to create housing in the depression years following the first world war; in the United States, the international style is seen more frequently in commercial and institutional buildings

Josef and Anni Albers also came from the Bauhaus, and in 1933 went to western North Carolina and Black Mountain College, which had opened its doors a few months earlier.

New Bauhaus / CHICAGO INSTITUTE OF DESIGN

When one speaks of ID's history, one name quickly comes to mind: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Moholy headed the Visual Fundamentals program that was central to the German Bauhaus, the first school dedicated to the new world of industry. At the Bauhaus, faculty and students looked forward to a new world full of possibilities. They believed that intelligent design could improve the world. The Nazi government, considering the Bauhaus subversive, closed it in 1933.

Four years later, Moholy came to Chicago at the invitation of the Association of Arts and Industries, which wanted to organize a design school in the hope that it would enhance the economic and cultural life of the city. Moholy instituted his idea of "total education" and dubbed the school "The New Bauhaus" , 1937. The Association members felt it was too experimental and just over a year later, in the fall of 1938, withdrew their support.

Moholy, however, continued his pursuit. He found an important backer in Walter Paepcke, a member of the Association and chairman of the Container Corporation of America. Paepcke and his wife, Elizabeth, helped Moholy reopen the school under a new name, the Chicago School of Design. In 1944 it acquired its present title, the Institute of Design.

In addition to his distinguished reputation as a painter, photographer, graphic designer, and educator, Moholy brought boundless energy and enthusiasm for the new undertaking. His ideas were more experimental than those of many of his Bauhaus contemporaries. Hence, from its inception ID has had an experimental and theoretical character.

 


New Bauhaus

Das 1937 in Chicago gegründete New Bauhaus war die unmittelbare Nachfolgeschule des 1933 unter nationalsozialistischem Druck aufgelösten Bauhauses. Zwar wirkten Bauhaus-Ideen auch andernorts in Amerika fort, doch wurde allein am New Bauhaus prinzipiell das volle, in Weimar und Dessau unter Walter Gropius entwickelte Ausbildungsprogramm aufgenommen und weiterentwickelt.

Der ehemalige Bauhaus-Meister László Moholy-Nagy, Gründungsdirektor und bis zu seinem Tode 1946 auch Leiter der 1938 aus dem New Bauhaus hervorgegangenen School of Design (seit 1944 Institute of Design), wollte durch ein diszipliniertes Experimentieren mit Materialien, Techniken und Formen die gestalterischen Fähigkeiten seiner Studierenden freisetzen. Dies entsprach dem am 'alten' Bauhaus praktizierten Vorkursprinzip, welches ebenso übernommen wurde wie die strikte Werkstattbindung in der Ausbildung. Vermehrt wurden natur- und humanwissenschaftliche Kenntnisse an die Studierenden vermittelt, und auch die Fotografie wurde im Chicagoer Bauhaus stärker berücksichtigt. Diesen Vorgaben entsprechend, gab es am New Bauhaus einen 'preliminary course' (später auch 'foundation course' genannt). Im 'basic design' wurden die Schüler mit der den verschiedensten Materialien bekannt gemacht (Holz, Furnier, Kunststoffe, Textilien, Metalle, Glas, Gips etc.), um so deren Struktur, Oberflächenwirkungen und Anwendbarkeit zu erlernen. Stärker als in Deutschland wurde der Einsatz maschineller Techniken trainiert.

Auf diesem Grundstudium bauten dann die verschiedenen Werkstätten auf, darunter 'light, photography, film, publicity', 'textile, weaving, fashion', 'wood, metal, plastics', 'color, painting, decorating' und andere, auch 'architecture'. Mit Lehrkräften wie Gyorgy Kepes, Nathan Lerner, Arthur Siegel oder Harry Callahan hat die Fotografie am Chicagoer Bauhaus vielleicht die bedeutendsten Leistungen aufzuweisen.

Während anfangs neben Moholy-Nagy mit Hin Bredendieck und Marli Ehrmann weitere Emigranten aus dem Bauhaus in Chicago lehrten, wurde das Lehrpersonal im weiteren Verlauf durch Amerikaner ergänzt. Auch die Methodik und die Ausbildungsziele wurden zunehmend an die amerikanischen Erfordernisse angepaßt. Dabei hielt sich auch noch Moholy-Nagys Nachfolger in der Leitung des Institute of Design, Serge Chermayeff, an die sich vom Bauhaus herleitenden erzieherischen Ansätze und das Ziel eines universal denkenden, ganzheitlich orientierten Gestalters. Dies änderte sich schrittweise durch die 1950 erfolgte Verschmelzung mit dem Illinois Institute of Technology, vor allem jedoch mit einer radikalen Umstrukturierung des Lehrprogramms seit 1955 durch den Industriedesigner Jay Doblin, das nunmehr sehr viel stärker auf ökonomische Zweckbestimmungen abstellte. Das Institute of Design selbst existiert noch heute als Teil des Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago und gilt als eine angesehene, professionell orientierte Design-Hochschule.

Die vom deutschen Bauhaus nach Chicago übertragene und dort weiterentwickelte Methodik wurde von anderen amerikanischen Hochschulen in vielfach modifizierter Form übernommen. Sie hat in hohem Maße dazu beigetragen, daß die bis dahin in den Vereinigten Staaten vorherrschende Beaux-Art-Tradition zurückgedrängt wurde.


History of ID When one speaks of ID's history, one name quickly comes to mind: Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. Moholy headed the Visual Fundamentals program that was central to the German Bauhaus, the first school dedicated to the new world of industry. At the Bauhaus, faculty and students looked forward to a new world full of possibilities. They believed that intelligent design could improve the world. The Nazi government, considering the Bauhaus subversive, closed it in 1933.

 

Four years later, Moholy came to Chicago at the invitation of the Association of Arts and Industries, which wanted to organize a design school in the hope that it would enhance the economic and cultural life of the city. Moholy instituted his idea of "total education" and dubbed the school "The New Bauhaus." The Association members felt it was too experimental and just over a year later, in the fall of 1938, withdrew their support.

 

Moholy, however, continued his pursuit. He found an important backer in Walter Paepcke, a member of the Association and chairman of the Container Corporation of America. Paepcke and his wife, Elizabeth, helped Moholy reopen the school under a new name, the Chicago School of Design. In 1944 it acquired its present title, the Institute of Design.

 

In addition to his distinguished reputation as a painter, photographer, graphic designer, and educator, Moholy brought boundless energy and enthusiasm for the new undertaking. His ideas were more experimental than those of many of his Bauhaus contemporaries. Hence, from its inception ID has had an experimental and theoretical character.

 

For more information:

 

Visit the Bauhaus-Archiv Museum of Design

 

Browse the ID archives at IIT's Galvin Library

 

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