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

Peter-Behrens-Bau, Oberhausen, © LVR-Industriemuseum, Andreas Schiblon

Over­view of ex­hib­i­tions

Hohenhof in Hagen, © Simon Erath

Ha­gen im­pulse

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

Krefeld per­spect­ives