Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
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What We’re Following
Bauhaus rock: It was the German art school that changed the world. In the 14 years of its existence, the Bauhaus attracted a cadre of teachers and students who would go on to define Modernism, despite its small size and upstart status. When it was shut down under Nazi rule in 1933, Bauhaus alumni scattered and spread their way of thinking and making around the world, to outposts like Chicago and Tel Aviv, and to a new generation of disciples. In his 1925 roundup of modern architecture, Bauhaus director Walter Gropius wrote that the featured architects “embrace the modern world of machines and vehicles and their speed; they strive for ever more daring design means to create a sense of soaring high and overcoming earth’s inertia.”
That “modern world of machines” ended up creating cities dominated by private automobiles and zoning codes that drastically changed land use and architecture—an evolution that is often seen as a hindrance to true urban progress in the 21st century. So a proper look back at the Bauhaus on the 100th anniversary of its founding should not pine for an aesthetic, but explore the roots of its ideas and what happened when they were applied in an impure world.
That’s what we’re doing this week on CityLab with our special report on the architectural and urban legacy of the Bauhaus. Contributors writing from Europe, the Middle East, and North America will tell stories about the history of the school, the buildings its members created, and the endurance of its ideas in some of the many cities it touched. First up, Darran Anderson has the story of how the Bauhaus kept the Nazis at bay, until it couldn’t.
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What We’re Reading
It’s 2050 and here’s how we stopped climate change (NPR)
In Silicon Valley, plans for a Silicon Valley monument (New York Times)
Oregon just enacted statewide rent control—and it could be a model for the country (Curbed)
Democrats choose Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for their 2020 convention (Washington Post)