Louisiana Architecture Foundation
Bauhaus in Bossier and Shreveport
Shreveport architects Samuel and William Wiener are the subject of a forthcoming documentary
In 1919, architect Walter Gropius opened the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. With a focus on the arts and design, the school was the birthplace of the “Bauhaus style,” a modernist, international design approach that continues to influence architects and architecture. After the school closed in 1933, the style quickly gained traction in the United States. By that time, however, Shreveport architects and half-brothers Samuel and William Wiener were already blazing a Bauhaus trail in the South. The little-known story of the Wieners and the birth of modernism in Shreveport is the subject of a new film produced by the Louisiana Architecture Foundation called Unexpected Modernism: The Wiener Brothers’ Story. The film will premiere at the 2019 Architecture & Design Film Festival: New Orleans.
Established in Weimar, the Bauhaus later moved to Dessau, then Berlin. In 1931, Samuel Wiener, his wife Marion, and an associate traveled to Europe to see firsthand the modern buildings produced by the Bauhaus movement; they were particularly interested in residential architecture. They visited Weissenhof Housing estate, studying examples by Mies van der Rohe, Peter Behrens, and Le Corbusier.
In Berlin they attended the 1931 Building Exposition and visited Erich Mendelsohn and his Universum cinema. Samuel Weiner also traveled to the Bauhaus School in Dessau and met with Walter Gropius. Not long after this visit, the Nazi Party came to power and the Bauhaus closed.
This visit in 1931 dramatically transformed the Wieners’ approach to design, as they applied the modernist principles they saw into their residential projects in Shreveport. The Wiener brothers not only were the first to bring the modernist style to the entire state of Louisiana but among the first in the nation to do so.
Gregory Kallenberg, owner of Shreveport-based Rational Middle Media Group, is, along with his team, directing and producing the film.
Learn more about the Wieners by visiting www.louisianaarchitecture.org.