It was just a short walk from the Bauhaus school building to reach the Master’s Houses, which had been designed by Gropius. There were originally 3 pairs of semi-detached houses for the senior Masters and a detached house for Gropius himself all set in the pine woods which were then on the edge of the town. An idyllic setting. The detached house was destroyed during the war but is being rebuilt. The semidetached houses are essentially the same with the same floor plan, albeit mirrored and rotated by 90°. They were built from prefabricated elements – “cubes”. Their use facilitating construction.
It was possible to access 5 of the Master’s houses which have been renovated. The first we looked at were those initially occupied by Klee and Kadinsky. It was hard to believe that we were walking through the same rooms where they lived and worked. They were quite spacious and had large balconies and massive workrooms/studios with large north facing windows to let in the light but also so passers by could see them at work.
It wasn’t possible to see all the rooms as some weren’t accessible and it would have been nice if they had been furnished. When originally built, all the houses were equipped with modern furniture, and fitted cupboards were integrated between the kitchen service area and the dining room and between the bedroom and the studio.
Gropius and Moholy-Nagy fitted out their houses exclusively with furniture by their Bauhaus colleague, Marcel Breuer, but the other masters brought their own furniture with them.
The staircases had long windows extending almost the height of the building which let in plenty of light
and provided views over the other houses and woods.
There are spacious balconies which could, in effect, become outdoor rooms during pleasant weather.
We gained a good impression of how the Masters lived. It must have been a pretty ideal living and working environment, but with a lack of insulation and single glazed windows with metal frames, the houses must have been either pretty cold in the winter or cost a fortune to heat.