Architecture and Music

5 Music and Architecture at the Bauhaus

In addition to the outlined analogies between machine aesthetics and neoclassicist trends in architecture and music as well as between utility music and functionalist architecture, expressionist analogies in music, art, and architecture can also be identified at the Bauhaus.

Architectural expressionism linked back to the Romantic notion of architecture as solidified sound or frozen music, and in subjective series of associations united architectural design with musical composition. This applies equally to Hans Poelzig’s designs for the Salzburg Festspielhaus and his sketches for the Dresden concert hall, as well as for the theater and music-hall designs by Wenzel Hablik, Hans Scharoun, and Wassily Luckhardt: expressionist architectural designs were meant to ascend and precipitate so as to become absolute music and absolute plays on color and form. The maxim compose like a musician was expounded in the manifestos (e.g., Hermann Finsterlin’s Casa Nova – Architecture of the Future, 1919) and publications by the German group of artists and architects Gläserne Kette (Crystal Chain), for instance in Bruno Taut’s book Der Weltbaumeister (The World Master Builder), which bears the subtitle Architekturschauspiel für symphonische Musik (Architectural Drama for Symphonic Music).