Many believe they are pioneers in their lifetime. Believes himself to think again. But when things are tested by history's bright light appears very little truly new and lasting. Modernism brave geniuses are still highly relevant. We visit the Bauhaus School in Dessau with a Tatra T87 and T600. A charged meeting. Text & Photos Claes Johansson.
During long periods Bauhaus practically been a ruin. Renovation and reconstruction has been done without sacrificing authenticity. An experience in every detail.
Bauhaus is today school and museum. Students missed, however, this basic course in modernism.
The Tatra T87 was a autobahn - 75 horses from a three litres large and yet easy V8. And streamlined it. The sharpness characteristic modernism.
As to sit freely in the sky. Marcel Breuer's "Wassily Lounge Chair" as it is known today originated in bike technology. The bent handlebars showed the way.
We roll into a teardrop #Tatra-T600
and an equally teardrop Tatra T87 in front of the camera. With facades of glass and stucco that fund.
It's not gourmet dining or shopping. To Dessau in Germany pilgrim man with a single explicit purpose. Therefore Nor is there any awkward questions, and the sense of presence and worship is for real, when we gently roll into a teardrop Tatra T600 and an equally teardrop Tatra T87 in front of the camera. With facades of glass and stucco that fund. Everyone who sees understand why. And how it fits together.
Bauhaus school was inaugurated in 1926. It was not long before international visitors was noticed among the hundreds of people each month were guided by students in workshops, classrooms and in the famous auditoriums. It's October 2014, and behind my back is a whole bunch of concentrated Japanese. Architecture People. Design Freaks. Bauhaus is a very strong magnet and a World Heritage Site.
In all its tranquility is a shudder through the spectator, they seem to think that there is a carefully directed happening or workshops. The topic would be how modernism considering goods and ideals flowed between engineering and architecture in the young the 1900s. Or it is a practically oriented course in the understanding of two of the 1900s great geniuses, Walter Gropius and Hans Ledwinka. But it is a holiday and the cars are here thanks to planning, a generous welcome by the Bauhaus Foundation, plus a little luck. The latter underlined when a taciturn, round man with disproportionately large bunch of keys unexpectedly shows up and wonder in what room the gentlemen wish to rig his camera tripod. He has worked as the Tatra mechanics during the GDR years and is now the caretaker of the Bauhaus!
There are so many dizzying angles in this masterful building complex that completely lacks a given viewing point. A walk around the reduced the buildings open constantly new and startling perspective where everything is about proportion, reflections, shadows, surfaces, materials meetings. Where features that window mechanisms and balkongräckens fixings are subtly decorative element, even if just the word decoration is the most taboo of all. The precision is striking, an experience that deepens when you look closer and experience tactile craft techniques in simple basic materials like concrete, plaster, glass and steel. It never gets cold, however, human and indeed - romantic.
Key man's question is almost paralyzing. I have dreamed a half life of getting to find myself right here and do just that. But the light indicates a direction, a calm. The light also led the architect Walter Gropius, placing the school in an open field near the train station in a town unlike other German cities realized that it took courage to shape the future. Here was already cutting-edge industries in the chemicals and air manufacturer Junkers.
Exactly what would come out of the Gropius experimental school was a little more difficult to predict. Concretely, he would contribute with new housing for the growing city, but the big things was to be expected, there was no doubt. The premises was quickly filled by the works that the murals, light fixtures and furniture - made of teachers and students. Gropius was a visionary and functionalist of a unique kind (although the word was barely invented).
As early as 1911 was the super-modern, beautifully shimmering skolästfabriken Fagus Factory in Alfeld clear. Modernism's first standard works. Gropius had designed the building volumes and glass walls disposed in a completely new and unprecedented ways. A sumptuous yet light and inviting function building - without pompous Classicist elements. A tribute to the industry, and the machines, but just as much to man. As Bauhaus School.
The operations of the Bauhaus, founded in Weimar in 1919, was about getting young and extremely talented students in hands-on experimentally find forms of expression that broke with the old, traditionssnärjda, heavy. Disciplines flowed together. It was craftsmanship paired with basic theoretical arguments about the nature of light, colour and space makes the man. And outside the school walls sprouted machines and aviation age. The circumstances were ideal, a window was opened in time - would soon be crushed by the Nazis. It was architecture, music, art, photography, theatre and design. It was avant-garde and still today incredibly modern.
The modernist movement started in several places simultaneously at slightly different times. As with the school in Dessau, it is difficult to find a fixed viewing point. Portal The characters are many and the international exchange large, with distinct offshoot to Sweden and Finland. But it was Gropius school that was to become the mother ship where the movement both deepened, given a practical expression but also was questioned. It was an energy zone which despite its short operation time schooled global name in furniture design, architecture, graphics and art. Nazi proposals to demolish this example of "degenerate architecture" in #1931
was averted, but the party managed to close the school for good the following year and in #1933
dissolved the last remnants of Berlin. The buildings became the training center for female Nazis and then bombed during the war. The hard distorted the buildings were given a certain restoration and renovation during #GDR
times, but it was after the reunification that area, including the amazing teacher residences, restored with devout German class.
Walter Gropius is one of the few architects who also engaged in automotive design. The car at this time was a product of its technology. The quest for its own visual identity was strong, albeit tentative. Architects found a strong allure in this creative task, but few achieved any lasting beyond the sketchbook. Gropius model series from Adler 1931 was characterized by objective, still a bit dated lines. The French fixed star and Le Corbusier participated in 1936 with great energy in a state proclaimed the small car project. His proposal Voiture Minimum built on geometry and mathematics and was no point Citroëns before Citroën itself found there by the 2CV. But the recent full-scale models have shown that Le Corbusier car despite its small size was perceived as clunky.
If the production of the house is all about-borne and carrying, light and volume are cars additionally moving, volatile and above all, very little fuss. With wheels. There was some parameters too much for even the most independent-minded architects. Rather, it was the cars that architects themselves admired, sometimes also drove, which approached it a new future spirit. Le Corbusier loved his Voisin. They populated his city plans to small signatures and return to private photographs in front of his newly erected buildings. The lines correlated with the buildings objectivity, but yet was missing a crucial element. Something that corresponded to the underlying aspirin the architecture.
If aviation pioneer and futurist Gabriel Voisin was France's universal genius at this time, filled his Ledwinka same role in what has just been Czechoslovakia. Tatras unique among the icon brands that embody Modernism looking rooted in the tanks His Ledwinka developed during the 1920s. And it was his gentle nature and lack of grandiose ego that was the key to the creation of automotive and design history's most revolutionary model, pre Citroën DS, which always should be added.
Just as the modern architects were Ledwinka questioning. He took up the issue without preconditions, but no more risk than he picked up the existing design ideas, which were refined and combined with their own and others' solutions. The ability made him a true pioneer. He paved the way for Ferdinand Porsche's unprecedented success with the great German people car project and a custom sports car than a decade later. Horse carriages stiff shoulders were perhaps not optimal for self-propelled cars. And why should an engine be heavy? Then it was something with the air impact as soon as automobile rolled out in rural and left squares and cobbled streets behind.
Ledwinka had taken a short period of employment in 1897 as 19-year-old in the company then called Nesseldorfer Wagenbau. After some years of exile in Vienna and constructing he was back in 1905 and was responsible for a fairly conventional car called the Model S - but with hemispherical combustion chambers and overhead cam!
After the First World War saw a new radical people's car lights. The surrounding mountains were renamed the company to the tympligare Tatras, and Ledwinkas T11 / T12, the latter with four-wheel brakes, turned on all the concepts. Gone were the heavy frame rails and the inflexible suspension. An eleven cm thick tube with three mm wall linking the drive unit and the split rear axle. Although the front suspension was individual. On top of the easy central tube was screwed bodywork, the engine was an air-cooled two-cylinder boxer that drove the rear wheels through a cardan in the tube. The model came in 1923. The idea of the Rector Gropius could have placed a self-contained chassis that outlook objects in any of the Bauhaus airy studios located not far away.
But technical brilliance and innovation was not enough. Modernity needed a suitable costume, nothing spectacular. The answer lay in science. The development of the engines had passed quickly in the 1920s and suddenly the sprawling bodies were identified as an obstacle in the development of faster and more efficient cars. With airplanes and airships due had experiments with the car body in a short time gained a more systematic character. The Hungarian-born engineer Paul Jaray (who worked with seaplanes and airships) demonstrated with practical studies of models and prototypes to the entire body drop shape was close to ideal. The last straw lent itself exceptionally well to an artistic interpretation of a body, and it was not just where the very definition of modernism was to be found? The fusion of function and art.
Droplet harmony and effective beauty got a completely new kind of density with an air-cooled V8 stern. Ledwinka made sure it happened. The central spine sagging thus gimbal and the engine liberated the front could be rundkindad and effective. Pendulum shafts lived on and became a hallmark of the way to today's eight-wheel-drive trucks from Czech Republic. 1934 Tatran with the sharp-sounding model T77 a world sensation. The technical composition resulted in an ultra-low silhouette that surpassed the more traditional Chrysler Airflow with his pompous and easily over decorated figure.
It could thus be 1930 before there were cars, streamlined cars, which could seriously capture the radiance of Central Europe whitewashed luxury homes. In Sweden, called the International Style functionalism, launched at the Stockholm Exhibition in 1930, reflected by the Volvo PV36 Carioca.
Walter Gropius came to be relieved by including Marcel Breuer as starting from the bicycle industry created the precise tubular steel furniture, which forever changed our view of its force as a modern and highly active function. The steel tubes are also found in car interiors, just one example of how the feature embossed shape solutions quickly reduced to powerful symbol carrier for the new time. Raymond Loewe's most streamlined product was not Hupmobile or Studebaker without one - pencil sharpener!
Bauhaus movement never had time to take the step toward popular appeal. Like the #Tatra-T77
, most objects are handcrafted in small batches for wealthy clients. The legacy was sprawling all the way to the present day, via derailed mega projects in the communist Soviet Union to the flashy movie star homes in California and lick skyscrapers in New York, but in a figurative sense even coat hanger from Ikea as an almost teasingly way melts into my lovingly restored rooms in the accommodation wing at school.
The successor T87, Ledwinkas favourite car, approached anything resembling mass production. More than 3000 were made until #1950
. The model was short and contained a higher proportion of steel, yet it was 430 kg lighter. Weight distribution was more favourable and when it debuted in 1936, it was one of the fastest production cars with a top speed of 160 kph. A autobahn - Even more popular appeal of embossed T600 Tatraplan. The model was born into a completely reversed reality, as so often in this geopolitical spin. The model name Tatraplan came out of the concept of planned economy which describes the new political situation. Although some export success could be shown up was this four-door Volkswagen with two-litres boxer engine soon as an obscurity from another world - hardly faded with followers, V8 monsters, state limousines 603 and 613. More than 6000 #Tatra-Tatraplan
was built in #1946
and construction founded entirely on Ledwinkas ideals although by this time he left the company.
The sober dark grey 50-ball is temporally misplaced the 1920s facades, but the spirit of modernism lingered in its body thanks to a conservative political system. It has got to go flatbed truck from Dresden and the company Oldtimerwelt. Dessau has been a hit for streamlined cars at Junker Museum. Some small Swedish stickers on the car arouses suspicion - and that is something vaguely familiar with the specimen.
- We bought it recently in Palsboda said Robert Pfandke, and after a bit of common mental work, we concluded that it stood on Holmgren's Volkswagen museum and before that had been owned by a private person in Orebro.
The rolls with the occasional cough and a little oil drip and requires little love before the next owners will take over, specialist firm McPheat Automotive in England.
With T87: an #1939
is different. Its air-cooled V8 (from 603) revels steadily in the back and Fritz and Kana Katharina Müller has arrived from Munich in grand style, with the panoramic sunroof wide open.
- It is superb on long distance, we run a lot with it, says Fritz and talks about his long, almost torturous journey to become Tatra. It started in #1993
in St. Petersburg, where Fritz managed to intercept a T87 which reportedly would be restored. It had come to Russia during World War II, but rebuilt several times.
- I gave 12,000 German marks but there were some 100 000 before it was finished, sighs Fritz. The car was in the roasted and ground as real warped after crashed several times. By means of original drawings successful to build a completely new floor. The job was done by experts in the Czech Republic, but unfortunately died, two of them of old age during the process - and the project dragged on. Step by step re-created interior. The seats were like sacks of potatoes, which Fritz puts it, and the ceiling was full of rebuilt.
- And so was the original engine stolen! Quarter of standard German house is already in shadow. The light would not really leave the Bauhaus School. Some final images will it be with Mr and Mrs Kana Müller airships vehicle parked outside Walter Gropius personal residential garage. There's a lot to say about modernism garage. But after a full day of constant adrenaline flow must be content to state that it does not get much prettier than this.
On the eve of a beautiful, modern world. Engineering. Architecture.
Just as the modern architects were Ledwinka questioning.
The last straw lent itself exceptionally well to an artistic interpretation of a body, and it was not just where the very definition of modernism was to be found? The fusion of function and art.
Wing where you can stay! Extremely affordable accommodation in completely renovated original rooms. It is possible to park #Tatra
had air-cooled boxer and #Tatra-T87-V8
. Mr Kana Müller received the original motor stolen, but #Tatra-603
and fits nicely.
House is about airborne and carrying, light and volume. Cars are mobile, volatile and above all very small. With wheels. Get the architects created a permanent car design outside his sketchbook.
New additions have been made, as the wall in the background and new school buildings some distance away.
Spatial design at a high level. #Tatra-T87
is a machine. A fuss. An airship on wheels.