“We want to create the purely organic building, boldly emanating its inner laws, free of untruths or ornamentation.”—Walter Gropius.
Along with Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius is considered a key member of those responsible for modernism and 20th century architecture. This week, we celebrate his birthday!
Founding father and director of the Bauhaus school, Walter Gropius was born in Berlin, Germany in 1883. Architecture ran in his veins; his great-uncle was Martin Gropius, responsible for the design of the Museum of Decorative Arts in Berlin.
In 1908 after studying architecture in Munich and Berlin, Gropius joined the industrial design and architecture firm of Peter Behrens. In 1911, he joined forces with Adolf Meyer and worked on the design of the Fargus-Werk factory in Cologne. Little did he know, this building would become one of the first true examples of modern architecture.
Following this venture, war broke out and he was forced to join the Western Front. Upon his return in 1919, Gropius founded the Bauhaus School of Art to teach students a functional and theoretical approach to design.
Despite his inability to draw, Walter Gropius' architectural designs embody and uphold the principles he taught. He was responsible for the design of many commercial and residential buildings, including his own personal residence, that rejected the heavy ornamentation from the previous architecture movement in favour of clean lines, simple shapes and a modest colour palette.
What is possibly his most famous structure is the Bauhaus School in Dessau. For Gropius, the Bauhaus School was a place were interdisciplinary arts could be explored and experimented. Despite fleeing from Germany, the school and its staff continued to promote and advocate the Bauhaus ideas and manifesto. Today, we recognise the legacy of Walter Gropius and of course, pay homage to his influence and impact on current architecture.