bauhaus, the obscure

i dig Bauhaus.

one of my favourite novels is by William Boyd titled THE BLUE AFTENOON and there’s a discussion of this architectural style, and it is from this novel that my interest in the Bauhaus School was born. i’m no expert. i just love the angles and an attempt at simplicity that’s harder than you imagine. it’s all about the striving. hmmm. kinda reminds me of writing.

here’s an excerpt from this obscure novel:

In architecture, as in art, the more you reduce the more exacting your standards must be. The more you strip down and eliminate, the greater the pressure on, the import of, what remains. If a room is only to have one door and one window then those two openings must conform exactly to the volume of space contained between the four walls, the floor and the ceiling. They must be shaped and styled with intense concentration and focus. One inch, half an inch, can make all the difference between something perfect and something botched. Without decoration, without distraction, proportion becomes the essential factor.


My aesthetic mentor, my inspiration, in all this was the German architect Oscar Kranewitter (1891-1929). He was a friend of Gropius and like him was heavily influenced by the austere ideologies of Johannes Itten. Kranewitter was one of the first members of the German Werkbund and taught occasionally at the Bauhaus between 1923 and 1925 (he departed, never to return, after a savage row-it came to blows-with Hannes Meyer). There is no doubt that had it not been for his tragically early death (in an automobile accident) Kranewitter would be regarded as one of the foremost German architects and leaders of the International Style. Because of his demanding temperament and the strictures he imposed on himself and his clients he built very little and his published work is confined to a few articles in obscure reviews such as Metall and Neue Europaische Graphik. (chapter 9)


it’s a journey story (my favourite) that ultimately ends up in the Philippines.  it’s convoluted and it kinda fails, but i’m all right with that. it’s the tone. the tone of the novel is precise, empty–a contradiction of terms but there you go.  Boyd writes women well–the main character is Kay Fischer and she’s an architect.

i also dig the band Bauhaus which some refer to as goth rock but i prefer to think of it as post-punk actually. here’s their obscure hit of 1978, Bela Lugosi’s Dead. it’s a beautiful thing: