Walter Gropius's 1906 Spichlerz - Atlas Obscura

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Walter Gropius's 1906 Spichlerz

Jankowo, Poland

A Bauhaus co-founder designed this quirky, abandoned granary. 

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In the quiet Polish village of Jankowo lies an architectural curiosity: a peculiar, abandoned granary that marks the early endeavors of a luminary in modern architecture, Walter Gropius, who later co-founded the Bauhaus movement. This structure designed by Gropius stands as a testament to his early years and the beginning of his revolutionary ideas.

Gropius was a budding architect when his uncle, Erich Gropius, entrusted him in 1905 with the task of designing agricultural and residential buildings for his estate in Jankowo. An architecture student at the time, Gropius readily took up the challenge, designing the granary along with various other farm and residential buildings.

Among these early works, the Jankow Granary is the only building that stands unaltered from Gropius’s original design. This whimsical structure, reminiscent more of a cartoon castle than the later sleek Bauhaus designs, embodies the architect’s youthful experimentation. Though other residential buildings attributed to him still stand in this area, they have been significantly altered over time.

The Jankowo Granary, with its unique and somewhat eccentric design, not only tells the story of a great architect’s beginnings but also offers a rare glimpse into the transitional phase of architectural history, bridging the old and the new. This building stands as a physical representation of Gropius’s early explorations and a prelude to the Bauhaus movement that would sweep across the globe, changing the face of design and architecture forever.

A house designed by Gropius also stands in nearby Drawsko Pomorskie. Gropius himself jokingly referred to these initial projects as his “youthful sins.” However, these structures are likely the earliest surviving designs of an architect who would soon dramatically transform the landscape of modern architecture.

The granary has been closed for many years, but the outside can be viewed. In recent years, efforts have been made to restore the building given its cultural significance.

Know Before You Go

The granary's exact location can be found by typing in "Spichlerz z 1906 (proj. Walter Gropius)" into Google Maps.

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February 5, 2024

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