Gropius, Walter (Adolph)


Gropius, Walter (Adolph)
born May 18, 1883, Berlin, Ger.
died July 5, 1969, Boston, Mass., U.S.

German-U.S. architect and educator.

The son of an architect, he studied in Munich and Berlin and in 1907 joined the office of Peter Behrens. In 1919 he became director of the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar. He designed a new school building and housing for the Bauhaus when it moved to Dessau (1925); with its dynamic International Style composition, asymmetrical plan, smooth white walls set with horizontal windows, and flat roof, the building became a monument of the Modernist movement. In 1934 Gropius fled Germany for Britain, and in 1937 he arrived in the U.S, taking a position at Harvard University. At the Bauhaus and as chair (1938–52) of Harvard's architecture department, he established a new prototype of design education, which ended the 200-year supremacy of the French École des Beaux-Arts. Among his most important ideas was his belief that all design
whether of a chair, a building, or a city
should be approached in essentially the same way: through a systematic study of the particular needs and problems involved, taking into account modern construction materials and techniques without reference to previous forms or styles.

Walter Gropius, photograph by Erich Hartmann.

Erich Hartmann/Magnum Photos

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Universalium. 2010.

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