O espiritual na arquitetura nos discursos de Bruno Taut e Walter Gropius

Ao pesquisar sobre manifestos do inicio do século passado encontrei três textos que chamaram a atenção sobre a questão espiritual. Estes textos foram publicado com uma distancia de 4 meses entre eles por Bruno Taut e Walter Gropius. Sendo um deles o discurso da tomada de posse e reabertura pós guerra da Bauhaus por Walter Gropius.

Nestes textos Bruno Taut e Walter Gropius se questionam onde estaria a arquitetura e os arquitetos daquela época. Bruno Taut e Walter Gropius afirmam nestes textos que a arquitetura havia perdido sua arte. Pintores, escultores e arquitetos deveriam voltar a ser artesãos, pois segundo eles a “arte profissional” não existe visto que arte não pode ser ensinada. A arte é como magica, florescer das mãos dos artistas em raros momentos de iluminação onde este deixa de lado sua vontade e razão. Segundo eles o arquiteto deveria construir com sua imaginação deixando de lado as dificuldades técnicas, pois a dadiva da imaginação sempre será mais importante que a arte da técnica, que neste caso sempre se adaptará aos desejos criativos do homem.

Segundo estes textos o manipulador das forças espirituais e moldadores da sensibilidade pública deveriam acordar deste estado de sonolência em que se encontravam e voltar a construir para a alma, pois apenas uma revolução na esfera espiritual poderia recriar a arquitetura.

E assim afirmam que aqueles que estavam construindo estes edifícios cinzas que se assemelhavam a maquetes ocas e sem espirito deveriam se envergonhar de serem responsáveis pela queda espiritual daquela geração que haviam esquecido da grande arte que é a arquitetura. E assim deveriam permitir o renascer da unidade espiritual arquitetônica que uma vez foram alçados nas construções das catedrais góticas.

Bruno Taut, “An Architectural Program” (dez.1918)

Art—that is the thing, if it be there! Today such art does not exist. The disrupted tendencies can achieve a unity only under the auspices of a new art of building, in such a way that each separate discipline will contribute to it. At that point there will be no boundaries between the crafts, sculpture, and painting, all will be one: Architecture.

A building is the direct carrier of spiritual values, shaper of the sensibilities of the general public which slumbers today but will awake tomorrow. Only a total revolution in the realm of the spiritual can create this building; yet this revolution, this building, does not happen by itself. Both have to be sought—today’s architects must prepare the way for this edifice. Their efforts toward the future must be made possible and be supported by public funds. Therefore we propose:

I. Support and Concentration of Intellectual Resources among Architects.

a) The subsidizing of architectural ideas which, beyond the formal, strive for the concentration of all resources of the citizenry into the symbolic construction of a better future, which point out the cosmic character the religious basis of architecture—would-be Utopias. Making available public funds for such projects by means of scholarships to radically inclined architects. Funds for informational publications, for the construction of models, and:

b) Well-situated experimental grounds (in Berlin, for instance, the Tempelhofer Feld), on which architects could work out their ideas in the form of large models. Here, also, new structural effects, such as that of glass as a building material, should be tested, perfected, and shown to the public at large in the form of full-size temporary buildings or sections of such. Layman, woman, and child lead the architect further than would the cautious professional. Expenses to be met by using material melted down from monuments, from dismantled triumphal avenues, and so on, as well as by the aid of industries concerned with the experimental buildings. Workshops with colonies of craftsmen and artists on the experimental grounds.

c) Control over the distribution of funds should rest in the hands of a small council, half of it to be composed of creative architects, the other half of radically thinking laymen. If there is no unanimity, a layman is chosen to make the decision.

II. Community Centers for the People.

a) Launching of vast community centers, not in the city, but in the open country alongside settlements, comprising groups of buildings for theater, music, hotels, and the like and crowned by a general cultural center. [ . . . ]

III. Housing Developments.

a) Consistent supervision in such a fashion that one architect establishes the underlying and guiding principles, checking all projects and buildings against these, without hampering individual inspiration in the details. This architect should have veto power.

IV. Other Buildings.

[ . . . ]

b) There should be no distinction between public and private buildings. So long as there exist free architects there should only be free architects. As long as there are no governmental master potters there is no need for governmental architects. Everybody can build public as well as private structures; commissions should be assigned as suggested in Ic or by competition—not an anonymous competition, but one in which the candidates are invited to participate and are awarded prizes by a council as suggested in Ic; no unpaid projects. [ . . . ] No majority decisions by the jury for the prize; if there is no agreement, each judge is individually responsible for his vote. The best would be one judge only. Final selection, perhaps, by plebiscite.

[ . . . ]

d) No titles or honors for architects, such as Doctor, Professor, Building Supervisor, Geheimer RatWirklicher Rat, Excellency, etc.

e) In all these matters creativity should be given priority. Once an architect is commissioned he should not be subject to regimentation.

[ . . . ]

g) Only such architectural fraternities as thoroughly observe the principle of mutual cooperation are to be eligible for the council or are to be considered of good standing and to receive public recognition. They will also advise the building inspectors. Only mutual help can make an association productive and efficacious. This is more important than the number of votes, which is meaningless without social union. It excludes inartistic and, therefore, self-interested competition.

[ . . . ]

VI. Architecture and the Other Arts.

[ . . . ]

c) Also, consequently, the introduction of architectural students to the creative “new art.” Only that architect is of importance who grasps the whole realm of art and who understands radical tendencies in painting and sculpture. Only he can help bring about a unity to the whole.

The architect’s greater importance in public life and his holding of more important offices and the like will result automatically from the carrying through of this Program. 

Source of English translation: Ulrich Conrads and Hans G. Sperlich, The Architecture of Fantasy, translated and edited by C.C. Collins and George R. Collins. New York: Praeger, 1962, pp. 135-36; reprinted in Rose-Carol Washton Long, ed., German Expressionism, Documents from the End of the Wilhelmine Empire to the Rise of National Socialism. Berkeley, Los Angeles, London: University of California Press, 1993, pp. 194-97.

Source of original German text: Bruno Taut, Ein Architektur-Programm. Berlin: Arbeitsrat für Kunst, 1919.

Walter Gropius, Program of the State Bauhaus in Weimar (1919) 

The ultimate aim of all visual arts is the complete building! To embellish buildings was once the noblest function of the fine arts; they were the indispensable components of great architecture.Today the arts exist in isolation, from which they can be rescued only through the conscious,cooperative effort of all craftsmen. Architects, painters, and sculptors must recognize anew and learn to grasp the composite character of a building both as an entity and in its separate parts. Only then will their work be imbued with the architectonic spirit which it has lost as “salon art.”

The old schools of art were unable to produce this unity; how could they, since art cannot be taught. They must be merged once more with the workshop. The mere drawing and painting world of the pattern designer and the applied artist must become a world that builds again. When young people who take a joy in artistic creation once more begin their life’s work by learning a trade, then the unproductive “artist” will no longer be condemned to deficient artistry, for their skill will now be preserved for the crafts, in which they will be able to achieve excellence.

Architects, sculptors, painters, we all must return to the crafts! For art is not a “profession.” There is no essential difference between the artist and the craftsman. The artist is an exalted craftsman. In rare moments of inspiration, transcending the consciousness of his will, the grace of heaven may cause his work to blossom into art. But proficiency in a craft is essential to every artist. Therein lays the prime source of creative imagination.

Let us then create a new guild of craftsmen without the class distinctions that raise an arrogant barrier between craftsman and artist! Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith.

Walter Gropius 


Lyonel Feininger, Cathedral, Cover for the Manifesto and Programme of the Staatliche Bauhause, April 1919
Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design, Berlin (6806)

Source of English translation: Hans Maria Wingler, Bauhaus. Weimar, Dessau, Berlin, Chicago. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1978, pp. 31-33.

Source of original German text: Walter Gropius, Programm des Staatlichen Bauhauses in Weimar (pamphlet), April 1919.

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