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Walter Gropius

Gropius, Walter (välˈtər grōˈpēŏs) [key], 1883–1969, German-American architect, one of the leaders of modern functional architecture. In Germany his Fagus factory buildings (1910–11) at Alfeld, with their glass walls, metal spandrels, and discerning use of purely industrial features, were among the most advanced works in Europe. After World War I, Gropius became (1918) director of the Weimar School of Art, reorganizing it as the Bauhaus. It was moved in 1925 to Dessau. The complete set of new buildings for it, which Gropius designed (1926), remains one of his finest achievements. He built the Staattheater at Jena (1923), some experimental houses at Stuttgart (1927), and designed residences, workers' dwellings, and industrial buildings. Driven out by the Nazis, he practiced (1934–37) in London with Maxwell Fry and in 1937 emigrated to America, where he headed the school of architecture at Harvard until 1952. His influence on the dissemination of functional architectural theory and the rise of the International style was immense. Practicing his principles of cooperative design, Gropius worked with a group of young architects on the design of the Harvard graduate center. He continued his architectural activity with this group, the Architects Collaborative (TAC), in such works as the U.S. embassy at Athens, the Univ. of Baghdad (1961), and the Grand Central City building, New York City (1963). His writings include The New Architecture and the Bauhaus (tr. 1935) and Scope of World Architecture (1955).

See studies by S. Giedion (1954), J. M. Fitch (1960), and M. Franciscono (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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