Friday, June 18, 2010
Today was fascinating! We started off the morning on bus, rather than foot (which was nice) to head to Dessau where we went to see Bauhaus by Walter Gropius. The Bauhaus is the iconic architectural model of modernism, designed by Walter Gropius. When we arrived, I was excited to see the images I have seen and studied come to life. All architecture students across the world know of the Bauhaus. It’s a pretty big deal because is one of the most influential buildings that started the modern movement in architecture. Gropius designed the Bauhaus in 1920 to house a school for crafts and fine arts. His idea behind the design was to create a total work environment for all arts; including architecture would eventually be brought together. He believed that the designer should also be the maker so the students would learn through hands on experience and is able to follow through a completed design. The ultimate goal for the school would be to eventually mass produce industrial designs. His ideas and design for the school was controversial and many people disapproved because it installed a democracy. He intended for the school to act as a design house; where the students would design, build, eat, and sleep to create a unified, efficient, and effective learning environment. The purity of form, geometry, and lack of ornamentation allowed for the function of the building to harmonize with the design. My favorite aspect of the Bauhaus was the windows, for their delicate framing and accessible operation. The building offered an interactive experience with its design for the students to maximize their comfort and use. Gropius set the main structural columns back so the external glass envelope was very thin and light, transparent for the public to see what they were doing. The BMW plant was amazing. Although I was very impressed with Zaha Hadid’s fluidity of form in her design, I was more fascinated with watching the process of the assembly line. Unfortunately, we were unable to take pictures beyond the public lobby, but you are still able to see the continuous gestures of Zaha’s design where form and function meet. One of the really cool aspects about this building is the assembly line is carried overhead and throughout their office spaces. This allows for an open work environment where the office employees can be intimately involved with the actual production of their product. My absolute favorite part was walking through the plant. The environment is difficult to describe without experiencing it yourself. I was infatuated with watching the high-tech robotic arms assemble the car bodies. The precision, efficiency, complexity, and ability of these robotic arms was rather impressive. We also got to walk through the rest of the plant where we learned about the different stages of the assembly. Surprisingly, 94% of the production was manual and the other 6% by machine. The manual work was not much labor, but more of supervision and small installations. I think I could easily spend a whole day watching the assembly line, being in awe of the advanced technology.