What Are the Bauhaus Principles of Style and Design?

The Bauhaus principles of style and design are based on a minimalist approach which features clean lines with bold, simple coloration. The style has been reflected in buildings and home furnishings since the Bauhaus Art School was founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar Republic Germany in 1919. The Bauhaus architectural design influence has since spread worldwide and features a focus on sustainability and a combining of form and function.

The Bauhaus principles were extremely influential on modern design, architecture, graphics, interior design and typography. Historians characterize Bauhas-style buildings with a prevailing harmony between design and function and a noticeable lack of ornamentation. The Bauhaus school’s approach of unifying art and craft with technology also influenced design education. The teaching philosophy at the Bauhaus school was that artists should be capable of working with the industrialists.

The Bauhaus fell under criticism as the Nazis began to rise to power. The Nazi government deemed the new modern lines favored by the Bauhaus “un-German,” and controversy arose regarding radical architectural concepts, such as flat roofs. From its early beginnings, the Nazis viewed the work of the Bauhaus as “degenerate art” and the product of “undesirable” foreign influences. Many of the Bauhaus artists fled Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power. The emigrating artists helped spread the Bauhaus design principles worldwide and brought about a major change in architectural design in the United States, Canada, Western Europe and Israel.