Walter Gropius

“The mind is like an umbrella - it functions best when open.”

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969) was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School, who, along with Alvar Aalto, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modernist architecture. He is a founder of Bauhaus in Weimar (1919). Gropius was also a leading architect of the International Style.
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, one of the first members of the utilitarian school. His fellow employees at this time included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Dietrich Marcks.

In 1910 Gropius left the firm of Behrens and together with fellow employee Adolf Meyer established a practice in Berlin. Together they share credit for one of the pioneering modernist buildings created during this period: the Faguswerk in Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Germany, a shoe last factory. Although Gropius and Meyer only designed the facade, the glass curtain walls of this building demonstrated both the modernist principle that form reflects function and Gropius’s concern with providing healthful conditions for the working class. The factory is now regarded as one of the crucial founding monuments of European modernism. Gropius was commissioned in 1913 to design a car for the Prussian Railroad Locomotive Works in Königsberg. This locomotive was unique and the first of its kind in Germany and perhaps in Europe. Other works of this early period include the office and factory building for the Werkbund Exhibition (1914) in Cologne.
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A thought addressed to young architects:
“I want a young architect to be able to find his way in any circumstance; I want him to create, in full independence, authentic, genuine forms, rather than imposing school formulas, drawing them from the technical, economic and social conditions in which he works. to environmental data that may require completely different solutions.
It is not so much a beautiful and ready dogma that I want to teach, but an unscrupulous, original and flexible attitude towards the problems of our generation. I would be horrified if my teaching were to result in the multiplication of a fixed conception of “architecture a la Gropius”. What I want is to make young people understand how inexhaustible the means of creation are if one makes use of the countless products of the modern age, and to encourage these young people to find their own personal solutions. ”
Walter Gropius in The Architectural Record, May 1937.

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