Queer Places:
Haus am Horn, Am Horn 61, 99425 Weimar, Germany

Benita Koch-Otte.jpgBenita Koch-Otte (23 May 1892 - 26 April 1976), born Benita Otte, was a German weaver and textile designer who trained at the Bauhaus. Benita Koch-Otte and Gunta Stölzl were very close friends, and the two were fascinated with exploring abstraction using textiles. They were considered to be the most talented students in the weaving workshop, and are now considered to be some of the most influential modern weavers to come out of Germany. From 1925 to 1933, Koch-Otte directed the weaving department at the City of Halle, State-Municipal School of Applied Arts at Burg Giebichenstein. In 1929, Koch-Otte married Heinrich Koch, the director of the Bauhaus photography department. After the Nazis rose to power, Benita and Heinrich moved to Prague. When her husband passed away suddenly, she returned to Germany and became director of a weaving mill that is still in operation today.

Benita Otte was born on 23 May 1892 in Stuttgart, Germany. Otte's father was a chemist.[1]

After attending Lyceum in Krefeld, Otte taught drawing and physical education in Uerdingen. In 1920, she enrolled at the Bauhaus in Weimar where she studied in the studio's weaving workshop. She was later employed in the workshop, working closely with Gunta Stölzl. Otte left the Bauhaus in 1925.[2]

Although she worked primarily as a weaver, Otte, on a number of occasions, produced work beyond the medium. Notable among this work is Otte's design for the kitchen of the 1923 Haus am Horn in Weimar, which inspired Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky's 1926 Frankfurt kitchen.[3] [4]

After leaving the Bauhaus, Otte served as head of the weaving workshop at the Kunstgewerbeschule Burg Giebichenstein, a vocational arts college in Halle, now the Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle (Burg Giebichenstein University of Art and Design).[5] In 1929 she reunited with the Czech photographer Heinrich Koch (1896 - 1934) who studied with Otte at the Bauhaus; Benita married Koch later that year.[2]

A number of former students and teachers from the Bauhaus went to work at the school, including: Gerhard Marcks, the Rector from 1928-1933; Hans Wittwer, who ran the Architecture department; Marguerite Friedländer and Erich Consemüller. Following the Nazi rise to power in 1933, Koch-Otte and other staff considered avant-garde were dismissed from the school.[5]

Koch-Otte and her husband then moved to Prague. Heinrich Koch died in a fatal accident in 1934, and Benita returned to Germany where she taught at the Bodelschwingh Foundation Bethel (Bodelschwinghsche Stiftungen Bethel), a psychiatric hospital in the Bethel district of Bielefeld. At the hospital, Koch-Otte ran weaving workshop for patients.[2][6] She worked at the foundation until her 1957 retirement.

Koch-Otte died on 26 April 1976 in Bielefeld.[1]

Benita Koch-Otte street (Benita-Otte-Straß) in Erfurt is named after her.

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