GROPIUS, Walter

    (1883-1969)
   Walter Gropius, the leading designer of the Bauhaus School in Dessau, helped to bring graphic design to the forefront of artistic importance. He began his career by opening an architectural office with Adolf Meyer, and the following year he received his first important commission: to build the Fagus Shoe Company factory located in Alfeld an der Leine. Gropius's firm belief that workplace improvements in lighting and ventilation would increase workers' productivity is apparent in the large curtain windows that surround each of the three stories. The building has a steel frame to support the entire structure, thin brick piers to mask the vertical steel framing, and horizontal brick layers that separate each of the stories. The entire exterior wall can be considered a curtain wall in that it supports no weight but simply masks the interior. Thus, in this regard, Gropius's structural innovations reveal him to be a sophisticated engineer.
   Only later did the Bauhaus School offer courses in architecture by professors committed to the establishment of modern architecture in Germany. The Bauhaus Building itself demonstrates these ideals. Built by Gropius in 1925-1926, the Bauhaus Building is a complex of three large cubes, which include classrooms, offices, and a dormitory in the back. It was meant to reveal an "honesty" of materials in its steel frame, which is covered by reinforced concrete punctuated by rows of windows to allow natural light into the studio areas. Raised parapets give the impression of a light structure that contrasts with the perceived "heaviness" of past styles. In 1932, an exhibition of International style architecture, as this European modernism came to be called, was shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This exhibition was instrumental in detaching that style from its perceived German roots and allowing it to transcend national identities so that it would be accepted more widely, as hap-pened in the United States.
   Five years later, Gropius immigrated to the United States to accept a professorship at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design, and in this capacity he was able to hone his modern, utilitarian style of architecture in the United States. His first commission there was for his own house, the Gropius House, built in Lincoln, Massachusetts, in 1937. Inspired by Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, here Gropius blends industrial materials with native stone and New England-styled clapboards. Cantilevered concrete squares create cubes of space that intersect and are punctured with thin strips of fenestration. This economically produced home set the standard from which modernist domestic architecture was recreated for the next several decades throughout the United States.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Gropius, Walter — ▪ German American architect Introduction in full  Walter Adolph Gropius  born May 18, 1883, Berlin, Ger. died July 5, 1969, Boston, Mass., U.S.   German architect and educator who, particularly as director of the Bauhaus (1919–28), exerted a… …   Universalium

  • Gropius, Walter — (1883 1969)    architect; director of the Bauhaus.* The son of a Berlin* architect, he began his own architectural studies in 1903 at Munich s Technische Hochschule. During 1906 1907 he constructed the first buildings of his own design for an… …   Historical dictionary of Weimar Republik

  • Gropius, Walter — ► (1883 1969) Arquitecto alemán. Su primer edificio importante fue la fábrica de calzado Fagus en Ahlfeld an der Leine (1911 13), a la que siguió el pabellón para la Exposición del Werkbund (1914). En 1918 asumió la dirección de la Escuela de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gropius, Walter —    см. Гропиус, Вальтер …   Энциклопедический словарь экспрессионизма

  • Gropius, Walter — (1883 1969); Architekt (u. a.: Fagus Werke in Alfeld mit Adolf Meyer und Bauhaus in Dessau, 1925) und Architekturtheoretiker (Bauhausmanifest, 1919) …   Erläuterung wichtiger Begriffe des Bauwesens

  • Gropius, Walter — (1883 1969); Architekt (u. a.: Fagus Werke in Alfeld mit Adolf Meyer und Bauhaus in Dessau, 1925) und Architekturtheoretiker (Bauhausmanifest, 1919) …   Erläuterung wichtiger Begriffe des Bauwesens mit Abbildungen

  • Gropius, Walter Adolf — SUBJECT AREA: Architecture and building [br] b. 18 May 1883 Berlin, Germany d. 5 July 1969 Boston, USA [br] German co founder of the modern movement of architecture. [br] A year after he began practice as an architect, Gropius was responsible for …   Biographical history of technology

  • 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… …   Universalium

  • Gropius, Walter (Adolph) — (18 may. 1883, Berlín, Alemania–5 jul. 1996, Boston, Mass., EE.UU.). Arquitecto y docente alemán estadounidense. Hijo de arquitecto, estudió en Munich y Berlín, y en 1907 se unió al estudio de Peter Behrens. En 1919 llegó a ser director de la… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gropius,Walter Adolph — Gro·pi·us (grōʹpē əs), Walter Adolph. 1883 1969. German born American architect. Founder of the Bauhaus school of design, he exerted tremendous influence on modern architecture. * * * …   Universalium

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