Believe it or not, Bauhaus is more than a quartet of brooding Brits who sang of the death of Bela Lugosi. This German word, which means “building school”, refers to both a school linking the fine arts with traditional crafts that existed in Germany from 1919 to 1933, and the style of architecture that emerged from it. It is, in the words of its founder Walter Gropius, “an architecture adapted to our world of machines, radios and fast cars.” In the spirit of simplicity and functionality, may I present the Leonardo Hotel Rigihof Zurich?
It doesn't look like much from the outside, a white box with some windows, the words “Bauhaus”, “Hotel”, and “Rigihof” scattered across its white paper surface in neon. It's a style many Americans take for granted, but in old world Europe, which has seen the rise of such ornate styles as Gothic and Baroque architecture, the simple “building as building, no frills” Bauhaus style sticks out, and such buildings create an interesting tension with their older, more ornate neighbors.
The hotel, located in the city often dubbed the “cultural capital of Switzerland” and of late the wealthiest city in Europe, is a love song to the city that gave birth to it (even if it did borrow its architecture from its German cousin to the north). Each of its rooms tells the story of a different famous person who lived in Zurich at one point in their life.
I personally would love to stay in The Magic Mountain of Room 209, dedicated to its author, Thomas Mann. Or maybe discover the definition of Energy in Albert Einstein's Room 304. But the chamber that intrigues me most of all would have to be 301, “The Forbidden Room”. Nothing piques the curiosity quite like that infamous f-word.
What better way to explore a city than through the great people who were inspired by it? After all, a city is not just built by architects and contractors, but by the men and women whose achievements change the world. RS