Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius 1919 © Louis Held
Walter Gropius 1919
© Louis Held

Walter Gropius is considered to be one of the great architects of the 20th century and, as the founder of the Bauhaus, he is counted among the pioneers of a new generation of architects, together with Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Born on 18 May 1883 in Berlin, his choice of career was determined from an early age. After four years of studying architecture, he finished without graduating and worked in the atelier of the industrial designer Peter Behrens before founding his own studio in 1910. Very quickly, he obtained his first commissions, such as the construction of a model factory as an entry in the “modern architecture” category for the “Werkbund” exhibition in Cologne in 1914. After the end of the First World War, Gropius initially directed the “Arbeitsrat für Kunst” (Workers’ council for art) before becoming the founder of Germany’s most famous art and design institution of classical modernism – the Bauhaus. In addition to this role, Gropius continued working as an architect and designer. Thus, for the occasion of the Great Bauhaus Exhibition in 1923, the Bauhaus director’s office was developed as the world’s first holistic, modernist spatial composition. After the forced closure of the Bauhaus by the National Socialists in 1934, Walter Gropius emigrated first to England and then, in 1937, to Cambridge in the United States. From 1938 to 1952 he ran the Department of Architecture at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. Walter Gropius died on 5 July 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts.