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Architects Design a Performative Bauhaus Museum Concept

This building is not about form—it's about an adaptive dance.

by Marina Garcia-Vasquez
Sep 16 2015, 4:45pm

Images courtesy of penda

Beijing-based penda architects' submission for the New Bauhaus Museum competition for Dessau, Germany is picking up internet attention for its transformable design, featuring a museum lobby that opens up to the surrounding park like open arms.

Architects Chris Precht and Dayong Sun say they are interested in creating individual structures that consider “how life evolved throughout history, what influenced its process up to the present and what architecture can add to increase the quality of life for the future.”

Penda named their building “Flexible Bauhaus” for its ability to “perform within the park and therefore transform its surrounding,” Precht tells The Creators Project. The architects see their building as a character with flexible parts.

The building features lobbies, event spaces, a museum store, and a cafe situated on the lower levels of the museum in two cuboids. Each cube sits on a circular platform rotating around an axis, where staircases, elevators and the building’s hardware like cables and (flexible) pipes are located. The two entities can rotate in dance or performance depending on the occasion or season.

“The Bauhaus era was not about form. It was about the performance of form. Not about shape, but about the logic of shape. Not about aesthetics, but how to adapt aesthetics to a daily use," says Precht. "The design of the Museum was a translation of this pragmatism on one hand and an adaptive, interacting architecture on the other."

Penda’s "Flexible Bauhaus" was not ultimately selected from the competition but we respect their dedication to integrating the Bauhaus spirit into building form. In the 19th century the Bauhaus movement was concerned with the growing role of manufacturing and product culture. The artists of the time grappled with the soulnessness of industrialization and looked to unite design and spirit in everyday life.

The architects looked to integrate these Bauhaus values in the material and design considerations. The façade of the building was inspired by the fabrics of artists Anni Albers or Gunta Stölzl as a way to bring in thin and solid light manipulations. penda was most concerned with how the museum would function within the city. 

“A city is a fast-changing and vivid place. Contrary to architecture, which is long-winded, steady and passive. How about we start to think about buildings, that truly interact with people and are able react and adapt to whatever happens in their surrounding?” asks Precht. We like this notion of performative architecture and look forward to future penda projects.

Learn more about penda by clicking here

Design Team: Chris Precht, Dayong Sun, Xue Bai,Veit Burgbacher, Quan He, Pengchong Li, Frank Li, Jeong Hoon Kim, Yurii Suhov

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