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Penda: Bauhaus Museum

Work / Architecture

A minimalist building that moves: Penda’s dynamic entry for Bauhaus Museum design competition

Bauhaus style is so ingrained in the world of design around us, from bold, geometric painting to Mies van der Rohe skyscrapers to rip-offs of Marcel Breur’s chairs, the last of which have even made their way into one of the entries for this year’s Turner Prize. On the occasion of the modernist German school’s 100-year anniversary, plans to build a Bauhaus Museum in Dessau have given way to an open international architecture competition. It was announced last month that two designs drew first place, Barcelona firm Gonzalez Hinz Zabala and New York architects Young & Ayata. However, Austro-Chinese firm Penda’s entry caught our eye not only for its beautifully simple appearance, but also because the design is dynamic and parts of the proposed building would move.

Taking a quote from Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius as its starting point – “Only perfect harmony in technical function and in the proportions of form can produce beauty” – Penda designed a brilliant example of flexible, transformable architecture for the new Bauhaus Museum. With split entryways that both rotate 360 degrees, creating new space under the building, the design is intended to adapt to the needs of the park around it and is in keeping with the Bauhaus ethos of innovation and fusing art, work and life.

“Life in a city is multiple, ambiguous and in constant change,” Penda writes. “Our aim was to create a museum that connects and interacts with those multiple settings of daily life in Dessau in a very direct and responsive way. Due to its ability to transform itself, the museum can react to various needs within the City Park and offers the possibility to become a connecting hub, which shapes the community around it and links its visitors to the vision of the Bauhaus era.”

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Penda: Bauhaus Museum