Walter Gropius (1883-1969)

German American architect and educator, Walter Gropius had a major influence on the development of Modern architecture. He was the founder and director of Bauhaus.

Portrait of Walter Gropius, 1919

image source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b5/WalterGropius-1919.jpg

About his life

Walter Gropius was born on 18 May 1883 in Berlin. In 1910 he started his own architecture firm. In early days of practice Gropius worked on some factory and office buildings. Gropius’s practice came to a pause due to the World War I but later he embraced the international recognition through his Bauhaus School project. In 1934 Gropius left Germany and after short visits to Italy and Britain he finally got settled in the United States. There he made his own house following the principles used in Bauhaus School. Then, he moved to Cambridge. From 1967 to 1968 Gropius served as an academician at National Academy of Design. He died July 5, 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts.

info source: http://www.famous-architects.org/walter-gropius/

Portrait of Walter Gropius, old picture

image source: http://www.jokerartgallery.com/fotos/des/Gropius/gropius_walter.jpg

What were his major works?

Among his early architectures stand out:

the Gropius’ Fagus Factory (1911-1913, Lower Saxony, Germany), a shoe manufacturing plant considered an essential bit of early modern architecture; the Sommerfeld House (1920) made largely out of “materials taken from a scrapped ship”; the Staatliches Bauhaus (1925-1932, Dessau), commonly known simply as Bauhaus and considered his best architecture; the Bauhaus Archive Museum of Design (Berlin); the Siemensstadt Housing Estate (Berlin) and the Masters’ Houses (1925, Dessau), composed by three semidetached houses for the Bauhaus masters and a detached house for its director.

Fagus Factory, Gropius, 1911-1913, Lower Saxony, Germany

image source: http://images.adsttc.com/media/images/53de/8598/c07a/80bf/0200/0037/large_jpg/Fagus_Gropius_Hauptgebaeude_200705_wiki_rueckseite-2.jpg?1407092113

After Gropius left Germany he realized:

the Gropius House (1937, Lincoln), his own home; the Alan I W Frank House (1939-1940, Pittsburgh); the Aluminum City Terrace (1941, New Kensington); the U. S. Embassy (1959-1961, Athens); the Pan Am Building (1960-1963, New York), which became the MetLife Building after the airline shuttered and the Porto Carras Grand Resort, one of the largest vacation spots in northern Greece.

info source: https://www.curbed.com/2014/5/19/10098442/for-his-birthday-10-works-by-bauhaus-founder-walter-gropius

info source: http://www.ranker.com/list/walter-gropius-buildings-and-structures/reference

Pan Am Building (now MetLife Building), Gropius, 1960-1963, New York

image source: http://www.nyc-architecture.com/MID/Panam_ex.jpg

In 1923, Gropius designed his famous door handle, see today as an icon of 20th-century design and often cited as one of the most influential item of applied art produced by Bauhaus. It was used by Gropius in his 1925 design for the Bauhaus building in Dessau.

info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/architecture/walter-gropius.htm

Door Handle, Gropius, 1923

image source: http://www.bauhaus-fittings.com/images/grod22_125chr_e4chr_enchr-ar-w260-h0.png

How can we identify Gropius’ style?

As the director and founder of Bauhaus, Walter Gropius created innovative designs that involved materials and methods of construction from modern technology available at his time. Gropius theory was that all design should be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing. Using technology as a basis, he transformed building into a science of precise mathematical calculations. He believed in industrialized and efficient buildings so that his buildings often provided the evidence of standardization, mass production and prefabrication. Gropius also introduced a screen wall system that utilized a structural steel frame to support the floors and which allowed the external glass walls to cover a surface uninterrupted.

info source: https://noonjes.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/walter-gropius-the-bauhaus-style/

Staatliches Bauhaus, Gropius, 1925-1932, Dessau

image source: https://media.architecturaldigest.com/photos/564f57fd53d639997adbb74a/4:3/w_740/bauhaus-dessau-campus-architecture01.jpg