One of the most renowned pioneers of modern architecture, Walter Gropius was a German architect who founded the Bauhaus School along with maestros like F. L. Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe and more. His work was inspired by simplicity and efficiency with function as a focal point. His creativity was inspired and has made him an icon for modern design and architecture.
Walter Gropius came from 2 generations of veteran architects including his father and great-uncle Martin Gropius. He fought in the war and survived. In 1908, after studying architecture for four semesters, Gropius joined the office of renowned architect and industrial designer Peter Behrans.
There, he worked alongside Le Corbusier and Mies Van Der Rohe for quite some time. It would be interesting to note that Walter Gropius could not draw and was always dependent on collaborators to interpret and draft architectural drawings throughout his career.
Ideology And Early Career
Walter Gropius was a firm believer of the ideology ‘form follows function.’ His designs were edged in simplicity and were efficient to a fault. He soundly believed that the form should reflect the function of any building design in order to be fully efficient. This theory is accredited by one of his very first designs – The Fagus Factory, Germany. He collaborated with Adolf Meyer on the factory façade. The curtain wall and glass elevation are regarded as the monument of European Modernism.
He was also later influenced by the Expressionism Movement, as influenced by his involvement in the Glass Chain Utopian Expressionist correspondence in 1929.
In 1919, the headmaster of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School was asked to step down and he recommended Gropius as his successor. Gropius later transformed this academy into his famous Bauhaus School. The idea of Bauhaus was to “extend the beauty and quality of buildings through great industrial design objects.’ The school was mostly experimental and the work was majorly theoretical. However, a great example product is the F 51 armchair designed for the directors in 1920.
Famous Works And Collaborations
In 1913, Walter Gropius published an article named ‘The Development of Industrial Buildings’ which influenced modernists like Le Corbusier. In 1923, Gropius designed his famous door handles, which are now considered an icon of the twentieth century designs. He also collaborated with Carl Fieger and Ernst Neufert with his architectural practices. He designed large scale housing projects in Karlsruhe and Dessau during 1926-32.
He was also a pioneer of the New Objectivity Movement. In 1946, he founded the young architects association called The Architects Collaborative (TAC), which was a manifestation of his belief in teamwork and camaraderie.
Walter Gropius In Post Bauhaus
The rise of Hitler drove Gropius and his family out of Germany. Maxwell Fry, an English architect helped Gropius flee from Germany. He settled in Britain for a short while where he collaborated with Fry and worked as part of the Isokon Group. After that, he moved to the USA, where he designed his own home. It emulated the concepts of beauty, simplicity and economy, and was later christened as Gropius House. It is now a veritable Landmark.
Gropius has been named the father of International Modernism many times, though he did not appreciate that term very much. His designs were the epitome of simplicity and efficiency.
Gropius passed away in 1969, but his ideas on architecture and design remain a staple of modern architecture even today.