Unesco-Welterbe Zollverein in Essen, © Simon Erath

Es­sen­er Auf­bruch

The first step in­to the mod­ern era

There is almost no other Ruhr Area town that has as many architectural highlights of the 1920s and 1930s as Essen. They reflect the close relationship between the Bauhaus and Folkwang. In 1923, the Museum Folkwang maintained close ties with the young Bauhaus in Weimar and various Bauhaus pupils such as Josef Albers first visited the Folkwang school before studying at the Bauhaus.

Museum Folkwang Essen, Neubau Foyer, © Giorgio Pastore

After the turn of the century, the Ruhr Area city experienced a breakthrough into the modern era. Groups such as the “Emschergenossenschaft” or the Ruhrverband associations settled in the city. Due to the increasing number of workers, leisure areas close to the city and new residential areas were built, such as the Margarethenhöhe, one of the first garden suburbs in Germany.

With the relocation of the important art collection owned by Karl Ernst Osthaus from Hagen to Essen in 1922, the Folkwang idea was born, and Essen became not only the “Folkwang city”, but also increasingly developed to become an aspiring cultural and artistic centre of the industrial west, and a focus of modern artistic and architectural creativity. This development was aided by the founding of the “Kunstverein Folkwang” artistic association in 1924, the first designs for the Museum Folkwang in 1925 and the merging of the Folkwang school of music, dance and language with the manual skills and applied arts institute to create the “Folkwangschule für Gestaltung”, the Folkwang school of design, in 1928.

Siedlung Margarethenhöhe, Essen, © Simon Erath


Bauhaus in Es­sen

The Margarethenhöhe settlement

Tip 1
The Margarethenhöhe settlement was created in 1906. It was built by the city and the Friedrich Krupp family and company. It was designed by the architect Georg Metzendorf. As well as the design for the houses and interior furnishings, he also had monuments and works of art erected in the settlement. The architectural gem attracted artists and artistic craftsmen and -women who set up their studios there. Today, a sample apartment shows Georg Metzendorf’s living culture standards, and can be viewed during a guided tour.

Zollverein UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tip 2
In 1932, architects Fritz Schupp and Martin Kremmer set new architectural standards with the central shaft system, the Zollverein XII. The steel frame buildings, built in the “new objectivity” style, are an outstanding example of the use of the Bauhaus architecture in an industrial context, and were built entirely according to the Bauhaus principle “form follows function”. This functional principle connects the Zollverein with the pioneering visions of the Bauhaus period.


Tip 3
The Church of the Resurrection in Essen is regarded as a model for modern church architecture. It was built in 1929/30 according to a design by Otto Bartning. Using steel, concrete and bricks, Bartning paid homage both to the modern era and to the Ruhr area.

Bauhaus in North Rhine-West­phalia

Hohenhof in Hagen, © Simon Erath

Ha­gen im­pulse

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Museum Haus Esters, Krefeld, Gartenseite, © Volker Döhne, Kunstmuseen Krefeld

Krefeld per­spect­ives

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