In Jena, a university town near Weimar, the Bauhaus artists found receptive attitudes towards modern art and a favourable environment for implementing and realising their ideas. Jena's municipal theatre was the first building ever to put Bauhaus principles into practice. Although the theatre designed by Walter Gropius no longer exists, two villas in Jena still attest to the town's interest in and commitment to the ideas of the Bauhaus: Haus Auerbach and Haus Zuckerkandl, both of which have been preserved in their original state and painstakingly restored. Jena also has other examples of architecture influenced by the style of the Bauhaus such as the Abbeanum (the maths and science faculty building) and the university refectory on Philosophenweg designed by Ernst Neufert and Otto Bartning.
Jena's industrial companies, which were developing innovative materials and technologies, provided the early Bauhaus with a foundation for their new designs and ideas for mass production. Products manufactured at the Schott factory in Jena - Jena glass, for example - gained a worldwide reputation thanks to the designs of Gerhard Marcks and others.
These activities were underpinned by the work of the former Jena Art Society, which, between 1903 and 1933, offered a programme focusing on modernism and created a platform for exhibitions and debates. More than 20 exhibitions of works by Kandinsky, Feininger, Klee and Marcks, and featuring the work of architects Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer, were held in Jena between 1917 and 1933.