On a scale from nothing to something, I know less than nothing about architecture. But I just couldn’t resist talking about a local hippie co-op when my art history teacher began describing the Bauhaus movement of post-World War I Germany. The Bauhaus folk were some of the first people to teach fine art and craft in one building, giving birth to modern ideas about what an art school should look like. Their schools were housed in very mod buildings that used steel and glass to represent strength and transparency.
…BUT before the Bauhaus hung out in those sleek, shiny digs, they created this “unified art piece” called the Sommerfeld House (or I guess I should say “haus”).
“It’s in a way a kind of Utopian hippie commune,” said my teacher. “They had their own gardener, they were vegetarians for a time, and they ate of a lot of garlic thanks to this mystical teacher they had.”
That’s when I thought, “Wait! I know people who don’t eat meat and have bad breath because they’d rather conserve water than brush their teeth!” So I decided to compare the architecture of the Lorax alterna-co-op near my campus with that of the Sommerfeld House. Turns out they’re pretty different- Sommerfeld is a wooden house in a sparse, neoclassical style while the Lorax reminds me of a medieval castle with its brick walls and massive tower. The inside of the Lorax is grimy and covered with strange murals, while pictures of Bauhaus interiors show very clean and tidy spaces.
In any case, it’s interesting to see where the idea of such a co-op might have come from. And I always drool when I look at that tower. I’ve always wanted one of those!