Bauhaus… beyond the Halloween bash
At this year’s Bauhaus party, as you wobble back and forth in an interpretive dance and gawk at the various stages of undress that surround you, you might be blindsided by a sudden burst of curiosity-are those real? Have I consumed enough alcohol? And where did the name “Bauhaus” come from, anyway?
According to Eric Mumford, University professor and historian of architecture, the Bauhaus was a German school of design from 1919 until 1933, when it was closed by Nazis who believed that the school was “un-German” and “communistic.”
Historically, “the name [Bauhaus] recalls both the ‘Bauhuette’ where the medieval craftsmen who built . cathedrals met to determine their design and construction, as well as theÃ¿German words for ‘building’ (Bau) and ‘house,’” explained Mumford in an e-mail.
The term “Bauhaus” refers not only to the school, but also to the style of architecture taught at the Bauhaus.
“It evolved over its history, but in the usual sense today, Bauhaus architecture refers to modernism understood as a cubic architecture determined by functional considerations and the exact use of new materials in dynamic ways that promote multiple perspectives as one moves through and uses a building. There is usually.an effort to include access to outdoor space and recreation,” said Mumford.
The Bauhaus school’s first director, Walter Gropius, was brought to Harvard in 1937 in order to influence its architecture school into being more socially oriented and technologically aware. In 1948, a similar push towards Bauhaus occurred at the University’s architecture school; in fact, former University Architecture Dean Joe Passanneau studied under Gropius and continued the movement in the 1960s, Mumford said.
The Bauhaus school in Germany held a student costume ball, so when University architecture students first tried to come up with a name for their own costume party, “it made sense to draw that parallel. Wash. U. has a strong root in the Bauhaus tradition,” said Anisa Baldwin Metzger, president of the architecture school’s Undergraduate Student Council.
“I like that [the name Bauhaus] is so specifically ‘architecture.’ It gives a historical backing to the party because of the [original] Bauhaus ball; it gives us a connection to the past,” Metzger said.
The University’s Bauhaus party was originally held in Givens as an exclusive party for architecture students, but it expanded to the Givens parking lot about ten years ago in order to accommodate more people. In 2002, around 4,000 students showed up to let loose at Bauhaus, resulting in the current practice that requires students to have free Bauhaus tickets for entry as a means to restrict the number of people at the party.
Since the Bauhaus party is primarily thrown by sophomore architecture students, the sophomores are given a lecture on the tradition of the Bauhaus school before they decide on a theme for the party, Metzger said.
This year’s theme is Green Bauhaus, “the sustainable party.” On Oct. 29, you can expect to see environmentally friendly decorations and posters on sustainable building practices and alternative energy sources adorning the Givens parking lot-that is, if you can tear your eyes away from the girls claiming to be members of a primitive tribe that wears fingerpaint as clothing.
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