Think Bauhaus. Building Jewellery in Architecture


The historic Bauhaus, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019, is recognized today as the most influential educational institution in the field of architecture, art and design of the 20th century. The Bauhaus Manifesto, written by Gropius in April 1919, articulates the objectives of the Bauhaus, which include among others “to unite architecture with art and design in the service of man as a social being” (W. Franks). Within this document, Gropius describes The Building as “the ultimate goal of all visual arts” ensuing that “the ornamentation of the building was once the loftiest task of all visual arts, as they were indispensable parts of great architecture. Today the arts exist in isolation, from which they can be rescued only through the conscious, cooperative effort of all craftspeople.”

The project “Think Bauhaus. Building Jewellery in Architecture” sought a contemporary interpretation of Gropius’ way of thinking. In so doing, the project was in no way about decorating a building devoid of consideration of its architecture; rather, it was much more about a visionary interpretation of the concept of jewellery in architecture following the idea of Bauhaus and its relevance in our present time.

A project inspired from an idea developed by Schmuck2, was originally designed for the parking garage and water tower in Halle, as well as the Deaconess Motherhouse “Neuvandsburg” in Elbingerode (Harz), in cooperation with the Saxony-Anhalt Arts Foundation. It was presented in two competitions by the Saxony-Anhalt Arts Foundation. Ultimately the design “Reif“ created by the Japanese architect Ryuji Nakamura remained unrealized.

A public talk was given as part of the series “Bauhaus – Open End” at the Goethe Institute Tokyo with Torsten Blume (Researcher, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation) and Toshimasa Sugimoto (Architectural Historian, University of Hiroshima) and Ryuji Nakamura (Architect), moderated by Susan Pietzsch.

© Ryuji Nakamura und Archiv

In commemorating the 100th anniversary of Bauhaus, this project is to install an installation at the building designed by the architects who were closely associated with Bauhaus. In Halle adjacent to Dessau there are many such buildings related to Bauhaus. The water tower that is one of them is the exhibition site. This water tower was designed by Wilhelm Freise, Wilhelm Jost, Oskar Muy and was built in 1927-29. This building has the decorative property of covering the reinforced concrete structure with bricks although its function is a water tower does not normally have people within. The interior is also decorated with a fountain and pendant lighting to welcome people. In early Bauhaus architecture, expressionism and functionalism coexist, and this building also shares these characteristics. Susan Pietzsch, the jewellery artist and the curator of this project, focused on the decorative rather than the functionality of Bauhaus architectures, and asked me, “What is jewellery for architecture?” Therefore, we planned to cover the water tower with new brick adding a ribbon that enhances its decorative elements. It covers the part of the building as if dressing a person instead of covering the whole building as done in iconic works of Christo & Jeanne-Claude. The cylindrical shape is inspired by the dance costumes designed by Oskar Schlemmer. The water tower covered with ribbons creates a chance to reconfigure the decorative sense the facade of the water tower provides to the people of the city.


Reif (German)


26 August 2019 (Unbuilt)




Wasserturm Sud, 06110 Halle (Saale), Deutschland

Exhibition Theme

Think Bauhaus – Building Jewellery in Architecture


φ20.50m H33.85m


Polyester ribbon W100mm L35m N720


Art Foundation of the State of Saxony-Anhalt


Schmuck2 (Susan Pietzsch)


Ryuji Nakamura and Associates


Ryuji Nakamura

© Ryuji Nakamura und Archiv