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Bauhaus school building in Dessau

From Bauhaus to Baumhaus to Our House via Oz

2019 sees centenary celebrations for Germany’s groundbreaking Bauhaus design school, whose 14 year lifespan influenced art, architecture and design worldwide throughout the twentieth century and beyond. On 8 September The Bauhaus Museum opens in Dessau, and HE Translations have added the word Bauhaus to our growing list of German words used in English, many of them highly influential terms.

Bauhaus school building in Dessau

Bauhaus means literally building house, or construction house, and the school’s curriculum brought together all the arts to give practitioners a new approach to design and the new materials of a new century. The Bauhaus originated a now very widespread style of architecture known as Modernist or International, sometimes also called Bauhaus style, which is very focused on function and avoids ornamentation, but was not greatly concerned with energy conservation or CO2 emissions.

In the twenty-first century a newer greener style of  building might be the Baumhaus, a house which incorporates living trees, from the German word Baum meaning tree. Green roofs and domestic solar power are widespread in Germany’s green cities as part of the ongoing Energiewende in the country which invented and popularised the low energy Passivhaus. Interestingly, perhaps the best-known green city aside from the Hanging Gardens of Babylon is the Emerald City in the film The Wizard of Oz,  and that city was invented by one L. Frank Baum.  Mr Baum was the author of the original Wizard of Oz books which featured a wind-powered flying house, due to a tornado, which would present something of a challenge for any German technical translation today.