Symposium Bauhaus Beyond Borders

bauhausbanner © Irmi Maunu-Kocian

Fri, 04/05/2019 -
Sun, 04/07/2019

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Chicago Architecture Center

Exploring the Legacy in the 21st Century

  1. Chicago Architecture Center, Chicago, IL, April 5, 3 pm – 8 pm
  2. Northwestern University, Evanston Campus, Evanston, IL, April 6, 9 am – 5 pm
  3. Elmhurst College and Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL, April 7, 10 am – 3 pm (public) / 9 am – 5 pm (students)

This 3-day interdisciplinary symposium is organized to celebrate the centenary of the Bauhaus, one of the world’s most innovative art and design schools and movements, and to highlight its tremendous global influence. The German Bauhaus, known for its hands-on approach and its linear, functional, but elegant forms, was founded on April 1, 1919, in Weimar, and continued to operate during the Weimar Republic until 1933, when numerous artists and architects emigrated. Many moved to the USA and to Chicago, such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and László Moholy-Nagy.

More information and RSVP and registration forms for all parts
of the symposium and the immersion day will be available in early February, 2019, on this site:

auditoriumstuehle © Irmi Maunu-Kocian Friday, April 5, 2019  at 6:00 pm
Chicago Architecture Center, Joan and Gary Gand Lecture Hall
Keynote Address by Dr. Regina Bittner, Bauhaus Dessau
Episodes from a Cosmopolitan Project: Bauhaus Encounters and Resonances 

In October 1934, Jack Pritchard met Walter Gropius and his wife at Victoria Station in London. Jack Pritchard founder of the Isokon Ltd. welcomed the prominent couple and offered them an apartment in the Lawn Road Flats, designed by Wells Coats. These in 1934 opened service houses became a preferred destination and temporary place to stay for artists and intellectuals from Europe, a kind of ‘arrival city’.
The episode serves as point of departure of the talk, sketching out moving networks between various actors, objects, ideas and places, where the Bauhaus school resonates within different cultural context.
Taking Walter Benjamin`s conception of translation as conceptual frame, the lecture doesn`t present a homogenous system of the Bauhaus unchanged by its transnational journeys, rather reveals the misunderstandings, resistances and hindrances in the migration process of modern design and architecture.

gropiusdesk © Irmi Maunu-Kocian Saturday, Arpil 6, 2019 at 9:00 am
Northwestern University Evanston Campus, Kaplan Humanities Center
Opening Lecture by
Michael Dreyer (Forschungszentrum Politikwissenschaft und Weimarer Republik, FSU Jena)
Modernity and the Republic: The first German Democracy and the Bauhaus

The Bauhaus was not just an architectural, aesthetic, or even cultural “event”. It was born, it lived, and it was destroyed in a politically volatile environment – not unlike the Weimar Republic, which was conceived in the same provincial town in Thuringia. The talk will address the connections between the first German democracy and the democratic culture it created and nurtured. It will be argued that the Bauhaus could only be created – and exist – within the political framework of the Weimar liberal democracy and the cultural environment the new Republic deliberately furthered.


bauhauslicht © Irmi Maunu-Kocian Sunday, April 7, 2019  at 1:30 pm
Elmhurst Art Museum
Public Lecture by Dr. Regina Bittner, Bauhaus Dessau
Bauhaus Translated: Transcultural Encounters with the Avant-garde School

Regina Bittner © Regina Bittner Regina Bittner (PhD) studied cultural theory and art history at Leipzig University and received her doctorate from the Institute for European Ethnology at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin. As head of the Academy of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation she is responsible for the conceptualization and teaching of the postgraduate program for design and global modernism studies, the Bauhaus Lab and the CoopDesignReserach program. She has curated numerous exhibitions on the architectural, urban and cultural history of modernism as well as on the Bauhaus. She has been the Deputy Director of the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation since 2009. Since 2018 she holds a professorship for Art History at the Martin Luther University Halle. Her most recent curatorial and publication projects include Craft becomes modern. The Bauhaus in the making (in collaboration with Renee Padt 2017),  In Reserve. The Household! Historic Models and Contemporary Positions from the Bauhaus. (in collaboration with Elke Krasny) and  The Bauhaus in Calcutta. An Encounter of the Cosmopolitan Avant-garde (in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, 2013).

This project is a part of the “Year of German-American Friendship” initiative in 2018/19. The “Year of German-American Friendship” is a comprehensive and collaborative initiative of the Federal Foreign Office, the Goethe-Institute, and with support ‎of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), highlighting the decades long relationship grounded in common values, interests, and goals. It is co-organized by Northwestern University, the Chicago Architecture Center, the Goethe-Institut Chicago, the Northern Illinois AATG, and the Elmhurst Art Museum.