Happy birthday, Bauhaus. The storied art school, which began in Weimar, Germany, is celebrating its centenary this year, and the Goethe Pop Up Seattle, a temporary space located in Capitol Hill mixed-use building Chophouse Row, is feting the milestone with a little playful innovation.
Now through July 31, the event is inviting viewers to slip on a pair of VR glasses for Virtual Bauhaus, an interactive exploration of all things Bauhaus—including a visit to Germany’s Dessau building (which was designed by the movement’s founder, Walter Gropius), including its famous staircase and the dormitories where students lived and worked, as it existed in the 1920s. Users can also engage with an experimental performance in the virtual building’s stage workshop.
“Bauhaus employed the technology of its time to mass-produce its products at an affordable price that made them accessible to as many people as possible,” says Christoph Muecher, director of the Deutschlandjahr USA initiative, which honors the friendship and heritage between Germany and America through a series of traditional German cultural events around the country. “The Virtual Bauhaus project takes the same approach.” In this way, he continues, users can experiment with form and structure in the spirit of the famous Vorkurs (a preliminary course that introduced the ideas to the school) to get closer to Bauhaus through kinetic learning.
“The exhibit enables a rediscovery of the Bauhaus heritage and the [experience of the] enduring significance of the Bauhaus’ central goal: to harness modern technology in order to improve the lives of everyday people through design,” says Arabelle Liepold, managing director of the Goethe Pop Up Seattle. “Virtual reality helps to engage visitors and make it easy for them to explore history in a playful and interactive way so they leave with a new understanding of the different facets of German culture.”
Virtual Bauhaus, Through July 31, Monday–Friday, 1 p.m.–7 p.m.; Goethe Pop Up Seattle, Chophouse Row.