International Symposium: Hannes Meyer as Pedagogue
15th –17th March 2018, Kassel University, Kassel, Germany
DATE: 15/3/2018
"The symposium engages with the pedagogical concept and praxis of Hannes Meyer, which he developed and subsequently pursued as a teacher and director of the Bauhaus Dessau from 1927 to 1930. Hannes Meyer significantly altered and restructured the educational programme of the Bauhaus, established by Walter Gropius and the masters he appointed (1919 – 1927 / 28). Not only did he found the architecture department at the behest of Gropius and introduce scientific studies into the design process. In the lessons, he also successfully realised construction projects with the students (the Houses with Balcony Access, the Nolden House) and industrial production projects (the Kandem lamps and Bauhaus wallpapers with the Rasch Brothers & Co.). By appointing new teachers he founded the urban planning department (Hilberseimer) and the photography workshop (Peterhans) and introduced important new scientific fields into the teaching by means of guest lectures. The three-day symposium focuses on three subject areas:

1. Pedagogical conceptDay one of the symposium presents the pedagogics of Hannes Meyer in relation to the architectural education of the 1920s in general and the Bauhaus pedagogy of the Gropius era (Gropius / Moholy-Nagy), focusing on the conceptual underlying ideas. These find their continuation and further development through Meyer’s later activities in Mexico and through the praxis of the Ulm School of Design (HfG Ulm) from 1956. A particular focus will be placed on the practical aspect of the teaching and on the question of how Hannes Meyer put his pedagogical idea into spatial practice in his buildings for educational institutions (Mümliswil, Bernau).

2. (New) teachers at the Bauhaus under director Hannes MeyerHannes Meyer implemented his pedagogical concept not least through his programmatic selection of staff, which was often accompanied by structural changes. Thus, the metal, cabinet-making and wall painting workshops were merged to form the interior design workshop, a new photography workshop was established and an urban planning class introduced. A female master – Gunta Stölzl – was also appointed. Guest lecturers and numerous guest lectures enriched the curriculum and enhanced its programmatic character. Day two of the symposium introduces a selection of the teachers who were most important to the Hannes Meyer era and pinpoints their conceptual approaches, theoretical positions and design methodologies, in which the re-orientation of education at the Bauhaus is manifested introduces.

3. Bauhaus students of the Hannes Meyer eraBased on the teaching of architecture under Hannes Meyer, the focus is on tracing the effect of his pedagogy on the next generation of designers. Of relevance here is that owing to the political upheavals of the time, the students were active in a wide range of societal constellations, for instance in the Stalinist Soviet Union, in Germany under National Socialism and in the Cold War era, after the foundation of the State of Israel, in Western Europe or South America. The critical question is whether the influences of the Bauhaus under Meyer and others really had a significant co-determining effect on the positions of the Bauhaus students, and how these were appropriated, further developed and altered."

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