Hannes Meyer

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Meyer, Hannes


Born Nov. 18, 1889, in Basel; died July 19, 1954, in Crocifisso di Savosa, Switzerland. Swiss architect.

From 1909 to 1912, Meyer studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin. Between 1910 and 1920 he lived in Germany, where he was associated with the Dutch group De Stijl and with Le Corbusier. Meyer also lived in the USSR (1930–36) and in Mexico (1939–49). An active exponent of the principles of functionalism, Meyer sought to achieve an analytically precise spatial organization in his architecture, which resulted logically from the building’s system of functional processes (the unrealized project for the Palace of the League of Nations, with H. Wittwer, 1926–27; the trade union school in Bernau near Berlin, 1928–30).

Meyer’s social and political views, which were those of a convinced Marxist, were reflected in his designs, which answered the real demands of the workers (the Freidorf settlement near Basel, 1919–21; the unrealized project for the socialist city of Nizhnekur’insk, 1932), and in his teaching, which related architectural education to the demands of social reality (director of the Bauhaus, 1928–30).


“Stroif” and “Kak ia rabotaiu.” [Articles.] In the collection Mastera arkhitektury ob arkhitekture. Moscow, 1972. Pages 354–64.


Baukhauz. Dessau. Period rukovodstva Gannesa Maiera. 1928–1930. (Catalog of exhibition.) Moscow, 1931.
Schnaidt, C. Hannes Meyer. Zürich, 1965.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Subsequently Hannes Meyer and then Mies van der Rohe tried and failed to keep the school alive, the latter under the Nazi regime.
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He resigned as director in 1928, and Hannes Meyer (1889-1954), his successor and also an architect, led the school until 1930.
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El libro negro del terror nazi en Europa: Testimonio de escritores y artistas de 16 naciones (1) (The Black Book of Nazi Terror in Europe: Testimony of Authors and Artists from 16 Nations) was published in Mexico City in 1943 in two editions under the auspices of the exile press El Libro Libre, which historian Alexander Stephan has described as "perhaps at that time the most important emigre publishing firm in the world." (2) Totaling 10,000 copies, the book was a collaborative project between Mexico's Taller de Grafica Popular, an antifascist print workshop founded in 1937, and many of the country's German-speaking European leftist intellectuals, chief among them being Hannes Meyer, the former director of the Bauhaus, who found a safe haven in Mexico City during WWII.
One of those people was Hannes Meyer, a Marxist who believed aesthetics should play no role in design.
The story must end with Hannes Meyer, the most potent symbol of an alternative modernism that might have been.