Not only was the Faculty of Architecture at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar one of the first to convert its study courses into bachelor’s and master’s degree programmes as mandated by the Bologna Process, but was also the first architectural faculty in Germany to receive accreditation for its new degree programmes.
In keeping with the Bologna Process, the Bauhaus-Universität introduced study courses towards a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree – initially in Building Management and Infrastructure & Environment at the Civil Engineering Faculty. One year later, the Civil Engineering study course followed suit. In autumn 2003 the Media Faculty also adapted its study courses. The conversion to the new system wascompleted by the end of 2009.
Walter Gropius’ much quoted statement about the »unity of art and technology« was given a new meaning through the expansion of the study courses on offer. The university aimed to complement its engineering with art courses, not art or technology, but art and technology – a unique concept which a classical school of engineering or art would be unable to offer. This new modern and future-orientated profile was taken into account in the decision by the Council in October 1995 to change the name to Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. The official renaming was celebrated one year later. In autumn 1996, consistent with the art-technical thrust of the university, the Media Faculty was set up and today covers the whole range of possible studies, with courses in the sectors media culture, media management, media design and media systems (media informatics).
With the political turnaround and under the rector Hans-Ulrich Mönnig (1989-1992), a process of restructuring began which was oriented around the requirements of a cosmopolitan university. The section structure was abandoned and the faculties restructured: urban planning and regional planning were combined with architecture, while building materials components was integrated into the civil engineering faculty. When Gerd Zimmermann became rector, the Design Faculty was inaugurated in the winter semester of 1993/4, with the result that a wide range of courses could be offered, from free art to design, visual communication, architecture and urban planning, civil engineering and computer studies; the college became a university of »Building and Design«.
In 1954 the school received the constitution of a rectorship, and the Architecture Faculty also received the formal right to confer doctorates. The first rector was Otto Englberger. Two new faculties were opened: the Civil Engineering Faculty (doctorates 1956) and the Faculty of Building Materials and Building Materials Technology (doctorates 1958). The university became one of the most outstanding of its kind in the GDR, with a particularly wide range of civil engineering subjects. In the mid-1960s all the faculties received the right to offer a Habilitation or post-doctoral lecture qualification. The so-called Third University Reform of 1968/69 involved an expansion to five sections/faculties: architecture, civil engineering, building materials process engineering, computer engineering and data processing, as well as regional and urban planning, plus an organisational form based on the management of a centralist economy, which was adverse to a free development of teaching and research. A further training institution for urban planning and architecture was also established. In three decades, the Hochschule für Architektur und Bauwesen, abbreviated to HAB, became one of the GDR’s five academic civil engineering centres (Berlin, Cottbus, Dresden, Leipzig, Weimar).
Under the Soviet occupying power after the Second World War, the architect Hermann Henselmann built up the school again in the spirit of »anti-fascism and democratic reconstruction efforts«. Points of contact were seen in the humanist traditions and initially also in the Bauhaus. The objectives of the reopened school were mainly influenced by the urgent demands of post-war reconstruction.
1930 Staatliche Hochschulen für Baukunst, bildende Künste und Handwerk (State Academy of Architecture, Fine Arts and Crafts)
In 1930 the National Socialists in Thuringia succeeded in appointing the architect Paul Schultze-Naumburg as director of the school and he undertook a radical restructuring. As an alternative to modernism, he tended in the direction of native German national values, in compliance with the »Blut und Boden« ideology. Although the school of architecture, the art school and the decorative arts school were formally linked, they each led a relatively independent life. Their works were characterised by a style which aimed to promote local traditions and solid craftsmanship.
The institution that succeeded the Bauhaus was directed by the architect Otto Bartning and was the first in Weimar to offer a regular study course in architecture. The workshops adhered to the industrial design course steered by the Bauhaus, so that in those years the school programme also remained linked with modernist endeavours and was very much up to the minute. Evidence of this can be found in the »Typenmöbel« (series furniture) produced by the Staatliche Bauhochschule Weimar in the woodwork shop directed by Erich Dieckmann, and the light fixtures from the metal workshop under Wilhelm Wagenfeld. Both were former Bauhaus students.
As early as 1921, the more traditionally inclined Kunsthochschule was founded anew and separated from the Staatliche Bauhaus.
In April 1919, the architect Walter Gropius, with the support of the provisional republican government of the Free State of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach, succeeded in founding the Staatliche Bauhaus in Weimar, which fused the Kunsthochschule and the Kunstgewerbeschule by means of a novel programme. Under the aegis of architecture, the Bauhaus sought a new way of unifying all the design disciplines.
It overhauled the way art was taught by turning its back on the academic tradition, teaching the principles of design in a new way and favouring the workshop for training in the crafts, and later also in modern industrial design. For political reasons it was impossible for the Bauhaus to remain in Weimar as of 1925, with the result that it moved to Dessau. The Bauhaus was to gain global significance as a modern school of design.
In 1902 the Belgian Henry van de Velde was appointed to Weimar in order to promote the decorative arts in the Grand Duchy. He set up a decorative arts school which was succeeded in 1907 by the Großherzogliche Kunstgewerbeschule (Grand Ducal Decorative Arts School), directed by van de Velde until its closure in 1915. The objective of the school was to gain new groups of buyers and thus divert the economic ruin of the duchy’s traditional small trades and crafts, threatened with collapse due to competition from industry. At the Kunstgewerbeschule, van de Velde’s formal idiom made a radical break with historicism. As a pragmatic artist, he strove to find the »exact, logical form for objects«. He conveyed this concept vividly in his writings with the help of compelling linguistic images, which help to explain van de Velde’s great impact on the following generation and his reputation as a trailblazer of European modernism. Shortly before the outbreak of the First World War, van de Velde terminated his working contract in the face of increasing xenophobia; he left Germany in 1917.
In 1860, Grand Duke Carl Alexander founded the Kunstschule (Art School), which initially trained painters and taught history, genre and landscape painting. That school soon abandoned the academic traditions and went its own way, thereby distancing itself from the grand ducal court. The order of the day was a constant study of nature, which, like the French Impressionists, led teachers and pupils to plein-air painting, to new ways of seeing things and to a realistic concept of the image. This entered art history under the heading »Weimarer Malerschule« (Weimar School of Artists). Arnold Böcklin, Franz von Lenbach, Max Liebermann, Theodor Hagen and Christian Rohlfs, among others, were active in Weimar as teachers and/or students. In 1910 the extended institution, which now also trained sculptors, was raised to the status of a Hochschule für bildende Kunst or School of Fine Art.