Walter Gropius (1883 – 1969)

Berlin, Germany – Founder of the Bauhaus.

Walter Gropius was a German architect and art educator who founded the Bauhaus school of design, which became a dominant force in architecture and the applied arts in the 20th century. Walter Gropius believed that all design should be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. His Bauhaus school pioneered a functional, severely simple architectural style, featuring the elimination of surface decoration and extensive use of glass. The Bauhaus school attracted many artists, including painters Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky.

Although Gropius is best known for the Bauhaus style, his architectural reputation was first established when, working with Adolph Meyer, he designed the Fagus Works (1910-1911) and the office building for the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne (1914).

Walter Gropius opposed the Nazi regime and left Germany secretly in 1934. After several years in England, Gropius began teaching architecture at Harvard University. As a Harvard professor, Gropius introduced Bauhaus concepts and design principles – teamwork standardization, and prefabrication – to a generation of American architects.

Between 1938 to 1941, Gropius worked on several houses with Marcel Breuer. They formed the Architects Collaborative in 1945. Among their commissions were the Harvard Graduate Center (1946), the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the University of Baghdad. One of Gropius’s later designs, in collaboration with Pietro Belluschi, was the Pam Am Building (now the Metropolitan Life Building) in New York City.

Distinguished Work:
1910: Fagus Works, Alfred an der Leine, Germany
1925: The Bauhaus Building, Dessau, Germany
1937: Gropius House, Lincoln, MA
1950: Harvard Graduate Center, Cambridge, MA
1963: Pan Am Building, in collaboration with Pietro Belluschi, New York

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