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Walter Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969) and Bauhaus

Best Known For:
Walter Gropius was a German architect and art educator who founded the Bauhaus school of design, which became a dominant force in 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. The Bauhaus school attracted many artists, including painters Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, graphic artist Käthe Kollwitz, and expressionist art groups such as “Die Brücke” and “Der Blaue Reiter”. When Gropius resigned from the Bauhaus School in 1928, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became the next director. Other influential Bauhaus architects included: Marcel Breuer, Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson.

More About Walter Gropius:
Although Gropius is best known for the Bauhaus style, his architectural reputation was first established when, working with Adolph Meyer, he designed the Fagus Works (1910-1911) and the office building for the Werkbund exhibition in Cologne (1914). Walter Gropius opposed the Nazi regime and left Germany secretly in 1934. After several years in England, Gropius began teaching architecture at Harvard University. As a Harvard professor, Gropius introduced Bauhaus concepts and design principles - teamwork standardization, and prefabrication - to a generation of American architects. Between 1938 and 1941, Gropius worked on several houses with Marcel Breuer. They formed the Architects Collaborative in 1945. Among their commissions were the Harvard Graduate Center (1946), the U.S. Embassy in Athens and the University of Baghdad. One of Gropius's later designs, in collaboration with Pietro Belluschi, was the Pam Am Building (now the Metropolitan Life Building) in New York City.

Bauhaus is a German expression meaning house for building. In 1919, the economy in Germany was collapsing after a crushing war. Architect Walter Gropius was appointed to head a new institution that would help rebuild the country and form a new social order. Called the Bauhaus, the Institution called for a new "rational" social housing for the workers. Bauhaus architects rejected "bourgeois" details such as cornices, eaves, and decorative details. They wanted to use principles of classical architecture in their most pure form: without ornamentation of any kind. Bauhaus buildings have flat roofs, smooth facades, and cubic shapes. Colors are white, grey, beige, or black. Floor plans are open and furniture is functional. The Bauhaus school disbanded when the Nazis rose to power. Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and other Bauhaus leaders migrated to the United States. The term International Style was applied to the American form of Bauhaus architecture.

Adapted from: http:// architecture.about.com