In March 1929, the Dessau city administration, together with the Schultheiss-Patzenhofer brewery, announced an architecture competition for a tourist restaurant. The building would be erected on the embankment of the Elbe, next to a steamer dock. The name “Kornhaus” was chosen as a reminder of the historic granary that had occupied the site until the 1870s.

The ensemble

The architect selected to build the Kornhaus was the Bauhausler Carl Fieger. He had been working as a draughtsman for Walter Gropius since 1921, and was closely involved in many of the director’s well-known buildings. In 1926, Fieger became self-employed and built the Kornhaus and his own residential home in Dessau under his own name.

The two-storey Kornhaus nestles against the embankment of the Elbe. All that is visible from the shore is the top floor with its flat roof and the semi-circular glazed conservatory, which appears to be suspended in mid-air. The conservatory was originally planned as an open balcony, but was glazed over during construction.

Fieger’s design alludes to the surrounding landscape, with various curves, semicircles, and quarter circles. The building, situated on a loop of the river, is reminiscent of a passenger ship.

Spatial organisation

The top floor of the building contains the kitchen, bar and vestibule, dance hall, and café. The basement originally housed a stand-up bar with a separate entrance. An elegantly curved staircase connects the two floors. An open terrace with a view of the Elbe adjoins the elongated part of the building.

The Kornhaus is a mixed construction of brickwork and a reinforced concrete skeleton.

Colour scheme

The white plaster, the blue window frames and doors, the red elements on the building, and the name “Kornhaus” in large red lettering on the flat roof emphasises the maritime theme of the building. The colour scheme of the interior draws attention to its visible construction.

The building now

Even though the Kornhaus has been converted several times, most of the original substance has been preserved. After being refurbished in line with listed building requirements in 1996, the building has now again become a popular destination for local trips in one of the most picturesque parts of Dessau.