Bauhaus: ADGB school in Bernau, a UNESCO site

A look back at one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites near Berlin: the ADGB trade union school.

The UNESCO-listed Bauhaus architecture in Germany is grouped around three “centres”: Weimar, Dessau and Bernau. Seven architectural ensembles are included, the World Heritage listing was spread from 1996 to 2017, this school with a group of buildings in Dessau represents the latest addition.

I have already written a post about this school which I first visited just over two years ago and this one reflects my recent visit. In between these two dates, a visitor centre has opened on the site and guided tours are once again offered, including from the inside.

The brand new visitor centre opened in early 2022:

At the time of my visit, the site was used as a reception centre for Ukrainian refugees, which imposed some restrictions on access to respect their privacy, but the rooms we were able to enter showed the work of the Bauhaus.

This site was built between 1928 and 1930 according to plans by Hannes Meyer (second director of the Bauhaus, between Gropius and Mies van der Rohe) and Hans Wittwer. The buildings of this period were built in light-coloured brick.

The buildings were designed to follow the gently sloping terrain, to accompany it.

Brick, metal elements and a lot of light are what make this school in the middle of the Brandenburg woods so charming. A striking feature is the glass gallery that runs along the main building, but there is also another gallery above the gymnasium in the classroom area. View from inside and outside:

The school gymnasium, with its exposed concrete structure:


The teachers’ houses, also built to follow a small natural hillock:

These buildings were extended in the 1950s under the GDR regime, with dark brick buildings, and I personally find that the two styles go well together.

A third phase of extension took place even later, which was less successful for my taste. The site has been completely renovated recently, recent elements have been deconstructed to recover the original design, it is worth a visit.

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