Walter Gropius (Walter Gropius)

Walter Gropius

Architect,  Educator.  Walter Adolph Gropius was born in Berlin in 1883. He worked and taught in the United States from 1937 until 1969, becoming a naturalized citizen in 1944. Gropius was an early exponent of the international style, defined by glass curtain walls, cubic blocks, and unsupported corners. This became a landmark of modern architecture. The buildings he designed are typically characterized by simplicity of shape, elimination of surface decoration, and the extensive use of glass. Along with Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture and buildings. While a great architect, Gropius’ influence as an educator and teacher over the course of his long career was even greater. As educator, he advocated teamwork and collaboration in design and artistic standards in industrial production. Students were required to study materials and processes in order to understand the realities of production. His schools attracted many talented artists as teachers as well as students, setting the standard for modern architecture and design for functionalist Modernist buildings – form follows function. As an architect, he put into practice his principle of uniting art and technology. Many of his works were executed in collaboration with other architects, starting his career in the Berlin offices of a pioneer of functional architecture, Peter Behrens. In collaboration with Adolph Meyer, he designed 2 buildings that made him famous throughout Europe: the Fagus Works in Alfeld an der Leine, Germany (1911) and the model factory and office building at the 1914 Cologne Werkbund exhibition (1914). After World War I, he was a founder director of the Bauhaus school of architecture and industrial design. Gropius himself designed its buildings, the Bauhaus School and Faculty Housing in Dessau, Germany (1925). Opposed to the Nazi regime, he left Germany secretly in 1934. In 1937, after several years in England, he went to the United States to join the architecture faculty of Harvard University. As Chair of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, he introduced the Bauhaus concepts and helped to shape a generation of American architects, including I.M. Pei and Philip Johnson. The most well known project he completed after coming to the United States was the Pan Am Building in Manhattan, New York City (1963) (later renamed the MetLife Building), done in collaboration with Italian American architect Pietro Belluschi. Walter Gropius died at 86 in 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts. (bio by: William Seitz)  Family links:  Spouse:  Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel (1879 – 1964)


  • May, 18, 1883
  • Germany


  • July, 07, 1969
  • USA


  • Südwestfriedhof der Berliner Synode
  • Brandenburg
  • Germany

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