This year we celebrate the centenary of the creation of Bauhaus – an art and craft school that has revolutionized thinking about how to create architecture. Its priority was to provide good living conditions. On this occasion, I would like to recall the “prototype” of functional thinking in planning, maybe a bit controversially, from the period that you would never have suspected. The early Middle Ages in the Carolingian era were not only the moment of re-shaping of the European identity, but also the return of urban and social structures. Before cities developed their capabilities in this field, ideal solutions were sought in the layout of the monasteries.
The oldest preserved scheme presents the buildings of St. Gallen and dates from around 825. It has probably never been realized. However, it shows how the dependencies between particular aspects of activity, the rhythm of the day and the needs of residents were included.
The monastery was organized according to the rules of Saint Benedict of Nursia, which can be summarized by the motto “Ora et labora” – pray and work. According to that, the dominant building is the shape of a huge temple with adjoining spaces for monks: a dining room, a bedroom, a lectorium, where they listened to the reading of the scriptures. There has been workplaces also designated – such as a bakery, a kitchen, a scriptorium (where books were copied), a school, a hospital and various farm buildings. They were all arranged in a way that allows for the optimal functioning.
The plan is made on parchment, i.e. leather, with large dimensions: 112 x 77.5 centimeters. From April 12, it is presented, for the first time on a public view, in the place of its storage, in the monastery of St. Gallen in Switzerland.