The five houses were built on behalf of the Dessau Savings and Building Society by the Bauhaus building department. It was directed from 1927 by Hannes Meyer, who later became director of the Bauhaus. They are therefore Bauhaus buildings, since they originated in the Bauhaus department of architecture as opposed to the Bauhaus Building, the Masters' Houses and the Torten Estate, which were designed in Gropius's architectural office.
The balcony access is a traditional type of access for flats, whereby the entrance doors of a number of small units face onto a common, open gangway that leads to a staircase. The history of balcony access houses reaches back to the Middle Ages; they experienced a renaissance in the social housing of the 1920s.
With the construction of the second construction section of the settlement of Torten, the construction department of the Bauhaus carried out its first joint work. Three study students, who were educated by students, took over the design and development planning of the settlement under the guidance of Hannes Meyer and the other teachers of the architectural classes, such as Hans Wittwer and Ludwig Hilberseimer, for whom a mixed development of single-family and tenancy houses was foreseen. Until the dismissal of Meyers, however, only five arcades were built, designed by Meyer in collaboration with twelve students. In each of the three-storey houses are 18 apartments, 47 sqm each spread over 2 ½ rooms with floor heating, fitted kitchen and bathroom. The access to the apartments is ensured by the north side front staircase towers and leaflets. The balconies on the south side were renounced for reasons of cost.
The five apartment houses, with a total of 90 flats, were part of a mixed development conceived by Hannes Meyer for the extension of Torten, whereby a one-storey terrace would be built between three- and four-storey balcony access houses. The partly-realised development bordered on the estate of suburban terraced housing designed by Walter Gropius between 1926 and 1928, which consisted of 314 residential units and the Konsum Building, and which was already finished