Hannes Meyer

Hans Emil Meyer, called Hannes Meyer ( born November 18, 1889 in Basel, † July 19, 1954 in Crossifisso di Lugano) was a Swiss architect and urban planner, who also worked in Germany and there as a teacher and director at the Bauhaus exerted great influence.


From 1905 Meyer began a bricklayer and training as a draftsman and foreman in Basel. He then attended trade school in Basel, where he took " courses for Baubeflissene ". In 1909 he began the architectural firm of Albert Froelich to work in Berlin. Then he moved to Johann Emil Schaudt, architect of the Department Store of the West. The same time he attended various evening classes at the School of Applied Arts. 1912-1913 he went on for some time for studies to England. In 1916 he became an assistant to Georg Metz village in Munich. From 1919, he was self-employed as an architect in Basel.

The time at the Bauhaus

Hannes Meyer was appointed in 1927 as a master architect at the Bauhaus in Dessau; from 1 April 1928, he is the successor of Walter Gropius director there. Under Meyers aegis an architecture department will be set up in the Bauhaus, also get the technical subjects a significantly higher value. He argues that the Bauhaus to make his idea of ​​"for the people ", so for the poorer districts, has strayed, and are the slogan of: " People's necessities, not luxuries " Bauhaus products at that time were not for " anyone affordable, " the buyers were found in elite circles of Bauhaus members, friends and well-heeled patrons.

Hannes Meyer is oriented in its urban development plans of the cooperative goals and knows itself to the left-wing of social democracy connected. During his directorate there is an increasing radicalization of Bauhaus students. The Bauhaus was in Nazi circles that on January 30, 1930 leading political force, were as " red elite ". On 1 August 1930 he was dismissed from politically motivated reasons. His successor as director came to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

After 1930

Meyer goes to Moscow in 1930, where it is high school teacher. To his accompaniment include some students and Bauhaus employees. At this so-called " Brigade Meyer " was also born in Munich Jewish architect Philip Tolziner who later spent over ten years in a Soviet gulag. Other members include Margaret Mengel Bela Scheffler, Rene man, Klaus Meumann, Konrad Püchel, Anton Urban and Tibor Weiner.

Meyers s girlfriend and secretary Margaret Mengel, with whom he had a son, first remains in Bremen and takes place at the family of Heinrich Vogeler a home. In 1931 she settled also on with their child to Moscow - accompanied by Heinrich Vogeler, now investigated as a member of the KPD in Moscow refuge.

Meyer drops in 1933 the Stalinist authorities are increasingly out of favor. Also start the first so-called " purges " within the large expatriate community in Moscow. Therefore Meyer in 1936 returns to its native Switzerland. His partner does not receive a visa as a German citizen. Therefore confirms with their son in Moscow. Margarete Mengel was arrested in 1938. With many other foreigners she is sentenced without trial to death and shot on 20 August 1938. The son of John Mengel ( born January 4, 1927) survives in a state reform school and first learns of his mother's violent death in 1993.

Meyer tries from Switzerland to Spain to gain a foothold, but this is prevented by the Franco coup.

1939 Hannes Meyer follows a call by the Mexican government under Lázaro Cárdenas del Río. He is director of the newly founded Institute for Urban Design and Planning, based in Mexico City. In 1942 he founded the publishing house La Estampa Méxicana the artists' association Taller de Grafica Popular ( Workshop of the People graphic artist, TGP ), which he derives from 1947 to 1949. In 1943 he published the exile publishing El libro libre a black book on the Nazi terror in Europe ( El libro negro del terror nazi en europe ). The end of 1949, he went to a falling out with the Mexican authorities returned to Switzerland and devoted to until his death in 1954, concentrating on publishing architecture scientific literature.

View of architecture

Hannes Meyer looked at the building as an elementary process that takes into account the biological, mental, spiritual and physical needs, thus enabling life. A very comprehensive approach in which Meyer wanted to include as many factors. He was concerned above all with the housing: in homes and settlements he studied systematically focus, exposure, ventilation, confounding factors (noise, smell), visual relationships, neighborhood. He analyzed the functional and psychological factors of a floor plan, then made ​​tables and charts on, trying to reduce the architecture to the formula " function x economy". Architecture is a logical and rational process, which had to lead to a correct result only in absolute optimization. Meyer said building is not an aesthetic process and building is only organization, and denied so that the design component of the architecture. Even the image of the architect is at Meyer quite different from, for example, still with Gropius: " The new house is [ ... ] an industrial product and as such it is a work of specialists. The architect was an artist and is a specialist in the organization. "

Works (selection)