HOA IV; semester V
Dikchya Pandey (2010UAR158)
Anuja Singh (2010UAR167)
Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (May 18, 1883 – July 5, 1969) was a
German architect and art educator who founded the Bauhaus school
of design, which became a dominant force in modern 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
EARLY CAREER (1908-1914)
Walter Gropius, like his father and his great-uncle Martin
Gropius before him, became an architect.
In 1908, after studying
architecture in Munich and Berlin
for four semesters, Gropius joined
the office of the renowned
architect and industrial designer
Peter Behrens, who worked as a
creative consultant for AEG, with
co-workers including Ludwig Mies
van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.
In 1910 Gropius left the firm of
Behrens and together with fellow employee Adolf Meyer established
a practice in Berlin . He designed furniture, wallpapers, objects for
mass production, automobile bodies and even a diesel locomotive.
In 1911, Gropius worked with Adolf Meyer on the design of
the Fagus-Werk, a factory in the Lower Saxony town of Alfeld an der
Leine. With its clear cubic form and transparent façade of steel and
glass, this factory building is perceived to be a pioneering work of
what later became known as modern architecture.
Fagus-Werk, in Lower
For the 1914 exhibition of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work
Federation) in Cologne, Gropius and Adolf Meyer designed a
prototype factory which was to become yet another classic example
of modern architecture.
Prototype factory in
In 1913, Gropius published an article about "The Development of
Industrial Buildings," which included about a dozen photographs of
factories and grain elevators in North America. A very influential
text, this article had a strong influence on other European
modernists, including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, both of
whom reprinted Gropius's grain elevator pictures between 1920 and
Gropius's career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in
1914. Called up immediately as a reservist, Gropius served as a
sergeant major at the Western front during the war years, and was
wounded and almost killed.
BAUHAUS PERIOD (1919-1932)
Gropius's career advanced in the post-war period. Gropius became
involved with several groups of radical artists that sprang up in
Berlin in the winter of 1918.
In March 1919 Gropius was elected chairman of the Working Council
for Art and a month later was appointed as master of the GrandDucal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar which Gropius
transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a faculty that
included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert
Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky.
The underlying idea of the
Bauhaus, which was
formulated by Walter
Gropius, was to create a
new unity of crafts, art and technology. The intention was to offer
the right environment for the realisation of the total work of art.
According to Gropius’s curriculum, education at the Bauhaus began
with the obligatory preliminary course, continued in the workshops
and culminated in the building
The Bauhaus building provides an important landmark of
architectural history, even though it was dependent on earlier
projects of the architect...as well as on the basic outlines and
concepts of Frank Lloyd Wright.
It consists of three connected wings or bridges... School and
workshop are connected through a two-story bridge, which spans
the approach road from Dessau. The administration was located on
the lower level of the bridge, and on the upper level was the private
office of the two architects, Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer, which
could be compared to the ship captain's 'command bridge' due to its
location. The dormitories and the school building are connected
through a wing where the assembly hall and the dining room are
located, with a stage between.
The basic structure of the Bauhaus
consists of a clear and carefully
thought-out system of connecting
wings, which correspond to the
internal operating system of the
school. The technical construction
of the building... is demonstrated
by the latest technological
development of the time: a
skeleton of reinforced concrete
with brickwork, mushroomshaped ceilings on the lower level,
and roofs covered with asphalt tile
that can be walked upon. The
Ground Floor Plan
construction area consisted of 42,445 [cubic yards] (32,450 [cubic
meters]) and the total cost amounted to 902,500 marks. Such an
economical achievement was possible only due to the assistance of
the Bauhaus teachers and students, which at the same time, of
course, could be viewed as an ideal means of education.
First Floor Plan
POST BAUHAUS (1933-1945)
With the help of the English architect Maxwell Fry, Gropius was able
to leave Nazi Germany in 1934, on the pretext of making a
temporary visit to Britain. He lived and worked in Britain, as part of
the Isokon group with Fry and others and then, in 1937, moved on
to the United States. The house he built for himself
in Lincoln, Massachusetts, (now known as Gropius House) was
influential in bringing International Modernism to the U.S.
Interior of Gropius
Gropius House in Lincoln
Gropius and his Bauhaus protégé Marcel Breuer both moved
to Cambridge, Massachusetts to teach at the Harvard Graduate
School of Design and collaborate on projects including The Alan I W
Frank House in Pittsburgh and the company-town Aluminum City
Terrace project in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, before their
professional split. In 1944, he became a naturalized citizen of the
In 1945, Gropius founded The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) based
in Cambridge with a group of younger architects. The original
partners included Norman C. Fletcher, Jean B. Fletcher, John C.
Harkness, Sarah P. Harkness, Robert S. MacMillan, Louis A.
MacMillen, and Benjamin C. Thompson. TAC would become one of
the most well-known and respected architectural firms in the world.
TAC went bankrupt in 1995