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Walter Adolph Gropius

Walter Gropius (circa 1920). Photo by Louis Held.

Personal Information

Name Walter Adolph Gropius

Nationality German

Birth date May 18, 1883

Birth place Berlin, Germany


Date of death July 5, 1969

Place of death Cambridge, Massachusetts

Work

Peter Behrens (1908–1910)


Practice Name
The Architects' Collaborative (1945–1969)

Fagus Factory

Factory Buildings at the Werkbund Exhibition


(1914)
Bauhaus
Village College
Gropius House
Significant
Harvard Graduate Center
Buildings
University of Baghdad
John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building
Pan Am Building
Interbau
Wayland High School
Embassy of the United States, Athens

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (May 18, 1883 – July 5, 1969) was a German
architect and founder of Bauhaus. Along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le
Corbusier, he is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of "modern"
architecture.

Contents
[hide]

1 Life

2 Important buildings

3 Trivia

4 References

5 Further reading

6 See also

7 External links
[edit] Life

Bauhaus (built 1925–1926) in Dessau, Germany.

Born in Berlin, Walter Gropius was the third son of a building advisor to the
government with the same name, and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber (1855–
1933) whose family owned a manor near the capital city.
Gropius married Alma Mahler (1879-1964), then widow of Gustav Mahler. Walter
and Alma's daughter, named Manon after Walter's mother, was born in 1916. When
Manon died of polio at age eighteen, composer Alban Berg wrote his Violin Concerto
in memory of her (it is inscribed "to the memory of an angel"). Gropius and Alma
divorced in 1920. (Alma had by that time established a relationship with Franz
Werfel, whom she later married.) In 1923 Gropius married Ise Frank (d. 1983), and
they remained together until his death.
Gropius, like his father and great-uncle Martin Gropius before him, was an architect.
But all sources agree that Walter Gropius could not draw, and was dependent on
collaborators and partner-interpreters all through his career. In school he hired an
assistant to complete his homework for him. In 1908 Gropius found employment with
the firm of Peter Behrens, one of the first members of the utilitarian school. His
fellow employees at this time included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Dietrich
Marcks. In 1910 Gropius left the firm of Behrens and together with fellow employee
Adolf Meyer established a practice in Berlin. Together they share credit for one of
the seminal modernist buildings created during this period, the Faguswerk, Alfeld-
an-der-Leine, Germany, a shoe last factory. The glass curtain walls of this building
demonstrated both the modernist principle that form reflect function and Gropius's
concern with providing healthful conditions for the working class. Other works of this
early period include the office and factory building for the Werkbund Exhibition
(1914) in Cologne.
Gropius's career was interrupted by the events of 1914. Called up immediately as a
reservist, Gropius served as a sergeant major at the Western front during the war
years.[1] Ironically the war provided an opportunity which would advance his career
during the post war period. Henry van de Velde, the master of the Grand-Ducal
Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar was asked to step down in 1915 due to
his Belgian nationality. His recommendation of Gropius to succeed him led
eventually to Gropius's appointment as master of the school in 1919. It was this
academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous Bauhaus, attracting a
faculty which included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbet Bayer, László
Moholy-Nagy, and Wassily Kandinsky. Students were taught to use modern and
innovative materials and mass-produced fittings, often originally intended for
industrial settings, to create original furniture and buildings.
Also in 1919, Gropius was involved in the Glass Chain utopian expressionist
correspondence under the pseudonym 'Mass'. Usually more notable for his
functionalist approach, the "Monument to the March Dead", designed in 1919 and
executed in 1920, indicates that expressionism was an influence on him at that time.

Door handles (1923).

In 1923, Gropius designed one of his most famous works, door handles, now
considered an icon of 20th century design and often listed as one of the most
influential designs to emerge from the Bauhaus. He also designed large scale
housing projects in Berlin, Karlsruhe and Dessau from 1926-32 that were major
contributions to the New Objectivity movement.
Gropius fled Germany in 1934 due to the rising power of the Nazi Party, and lived
and worked in Britain, at the Isokon project, and then, from 1937 to the United
States, where his own house, the Gropius House in Lincoln, Massachusetts, was
influential in bringing International Modernism to the US. Gropius did not like the
term: "I made it a point to absorb into my own conception those features of the New
England architectural tradition that I found still alive and adequate" (see [1]).
Gropius and his Bauhaus protégé Marcel Breuer both moved to Cambridge,
Massachusetts to teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and collaborate
on the company-town Aluminum City Terrace project in New Kensington,
Pennsylvania, before their professional split. In 1944, he became a naturalized
citizen of the United States.
In 1945, Gropius founded The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) based in Cambridge
with a group of younger architects. The original partners included Norman C.
Fletcher, Jean B. Fletcher, John C. Harkness, Sarah P. Harkness, Robert S.
MacMillan, Louis A. MacMillen, and Benjamin C. Thompson. TAC would become
one of the most well-known and respected architectural firms in the world. TAC went
bankrupt in 1995.
Gropius died in 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts, aged 86. Today, he is remembered
not only by his various buildings but also by the district of Gropiusstadt in Berlin.
In the early 1990s, a series of books entitled The Walter Gropius Archive was
publised covering his entire architectural career.

[edit] Important buildings

Monument to the March Dead (1920) in Weimar, Germany.


Gropius House (1938) in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

A late work of Gropius:The Embassy of the United States in Athens

the Fagus Factory, 1910–1911, Alfeld an der Leine, Germany


Office and Factory Buildings at the Werkbund Exhibition, 1914, Cologne,
Germany
Bauhaus School and Faculty, 1925–1932, Housin, Dessau, Germany
Village College, 1936, Impington, Cambridge, England
The Gropius House, 1937, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA
Aluminum City Terrace housing project, 1942–1944, New Kensington,
Pennsylvania, USA
Harvard Graduate Center, 1949–1950, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (The
Architects' Collaborative) [2]
University of Baghdad, 1957–1960, Baghdad, Iraq
John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building, 1963–1966, Boston, Massachusetts,
USA
Peter Thacher Junior High School, 1948
Pan Am Building (now the Metlife Building), 1958–1963, New York, New York,
with Pietro Belluschi and project architects Emery Roth & Sons
Interbau Apartment blocks, 1957, Hansaviertel, Berlin, Germany, with The
Architects' Collaborative and Wils Ebert
The award-winning Wayland High School, 1961, Wayland, Massachusetts, USA
Embassy of the United States, 1959–1961, Athens, Greece (The Architects'
Collaborative and consulting architect Pericles Sakellarios)
[edit] Trivia
Gropius was known to have a snappy sense of style and was often seen wearing
a bowtie. Among his students was the writer and theorist Sigfried Giedion.

Gropius recommended László Moholy-Nagy for his job at the Armour Institute of
Technology.

Walter Gropius and his wife Alma are mentioned in Tom Lehrer's song "Alma."

Walter Gropius' "Bauhaus Village" is proposed by Lisa as a potential vacation


destination for The Simpsons. Homer vetoes the suggestion, arguing that they
would have to deal with the crowds.
[edit] References
1. ^ Interview with Walter Gropius. British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved on
2006-08-02.

[edit] Further reading


The New Architecture and the Bauhaus, 1955.
The Scope of Total Architecture, 1956.
[edit] See also
Walter Gropius buildings
[edit] External links
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Walter Gropius

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius' house, Lincoln, Massachusetts


On the Interbau apartments
Impington Village College — only example of Gropius's work in the UK
Fagus works (German)
Bauhaus in America is a documentary film made in 1995 that reveals the
influence of Gropius and others on American design and architecture.
Categories: Articles lacking sources from March 2007 | All articles lacking sources |
Bauhaus | Architects | Expressionist architects | German architects | American
architects | Modernist architects | Naturalized citizens of the United States | German
veterans of World War I | People from Berlin | 1883 births | 1969 deaths
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Architect Walter Gropius


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Works Bauhaus, at Dessau, Germany, 1919 to 1925. * 3D Model *


Fagus Works, at Alfred an der Leine, Germany, 1911 to 1913.

Gropius House, at Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1937. * 3D Model *

Harvard Graduate Center, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1950.

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Biography

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Walter Gropius

(b. Berlin, Germany 1883; d. Boston, Massachusetts 1969)

Walter Gropius was born in Berlin in 1883. The son of an architect, he studied at
the Technical Universities in Munich and Berlin. He joined the office of Peter
Behrens in 1910 and three years later established a practice with Adolph Meyer. For
his early commissions he borrowed from the Industrial Classicism introduced by
Behrens.

After serving in the war, Gropius became involved with several groups of radical
artists that sprang up in Berlin in the winter of 1918. In March 1919 he was elected
chairman of the Working Council for Art and a month later was appointed Director
of the Bauhaus.

As war became eminent, Gropius left the Bauhaus and resumed private practice in
Berlin. Eventually, he was forced to leave Germany for the United States, where he
became a professor at Harvard University. From 1938 to 1941, he worked on a
series of houses with Marcel Breuer and in 1945 he founded "The Architect's
Collaborative", a design team that embodied his belief in the value of teamwork.

Gropius created innovative designs that borrowed materials and methods of


construction from modern technology. This advocacy of industrialized building
carried with it a belief in team work and an acceptance of standardization and
prefabrication. Using technology as a basis, he transformed building into a science
of precise mathematical calculations.

An important theorist and teacher, Gropius introduced a screen wall system that
utilized a structural steel frame to support the floors and which allowed the external
glass walls to continue without interruption.

Gropius died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1969.

References
Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro
Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p69-70.

Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-
16635-4. NA 680-C625. p316-320.

Resources Sources on Walter Gropius

"Two Bauhaus Buildings: A Paradigm Shift", by Darlene Brady, ArchitectureWeek


No. 16, 2000.0830, pC1.1.

Find books about Walter Gropius

Search the RIBA architecture library catalog for more references on Walter Gropius

Web Resources Links on Walter Gropius

Walter Gropius at Archiplanet — Find, add, and edit info at the all-buildings collaboration

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We appreciate your suggestions for links about Walter Gropius.

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Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius (1883-1969). Studied at the Colleges of Technology of Berlin and Munich. Worked under
the german architect Peter Behrens from 1907-10. He was influenced by the writings of Frank Lloyd
Wright. Founded the Bauhaus (House of Building), one of the most influential architecture and design
schools of the 20th century. The rise of National Socialsim and Adolf Hitler drove Gropius out of
Germany. He first went to London, but eventually settled in Boston, where he taught at Harvard and
MIT. (WJC)

Gropius House, Lincoln, Gropius House, Lincoln, Gropius House, Lincoln,


MA, 1938 MA, 1938 MA, 1938

Gropius House, Lincoln,


MA, 1938
Gropius House, Lincoln,
MA, 1938

1. Walter Gropius Residence, Lincoln, MA, 1938. Walter Gropius, architect.


2. Walter Gropius Residence, Lincoln, MA, 1938. Walter Gropius, architect.
3. Walter Gropius Residence, Lincoln, MA, 1938. Walter Gropius, architect.
4. Walter Gropius Residence, Lincoln, MA, 1938. Walter Gropius, architect.
5. Walter Gropius Residence, Lincoln, MA, 1938. Walter Gropius, architect.

Comparison: LeCorbusier's Villa Savoye, France, 1929-30


The Bauhaus, Dessau, 1925-26

Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus,


Dessau, 1925-26 Dessau, 1925-26 Gropius: Bauhaus,
Dessau, 1925-26

Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus,


Dessau, 1925-26 Gropius: Bauhaus, Dessau, 1925-26
Dessau, 1925-26

Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus,


Dessau, 1925-26 Dessau, 1925-26 Dessau, 1925-26
Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus,
Gropius: Bauhaus, Dessau, 1925-26 Dessau, 1925-26
Dessau, 1925-26

Gropius: Bauhaus, Gropius: Bauhaus,


Dessau, 1925-26 Dessau, 1925-26 Gropius: Bauhaus,
Dessau, 1925-26

Gropius: Bauhaus,
Dessau, 1925-26

Bauhaus Master's House (Lyonel Feininger), Dessau, 1926

Gropius: Bauhaus Master's Gropius: Bauhaus Master's


House (Lyonel Feininger), Gropius: Bauhaus Master's House (Lyonel Feininger),
Dessau, 1926 House (Lyonel Feininger), Dessau, 1926
Dessau, 1926

Gropius: Bauhaus Master's


House (Lyonel Feininger),
Dessau, 1926 Gropius: Bauhaus Master's
House (Lyonel Feininger),
Dessau, 1926

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Walter Gropius was a German architect and art educator who World's Tallest Buildin
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The Bauhaus school of design attracted artists in many disciplines, Art HistoryConstructio

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Der Blaue Reiter. The school pioneered a functional, severely simple
Most Popular Articles architectural style, featuring the elimination of surface decoration
Latest Articles and extensive use of glass. Gropius resigned as the school's director
Help in 1928 to return to private practice. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
followed as the next director.

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 to 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.

Related People:

 Le Corbusier
 Richard Neutra
 Philip Johnson
 Mies van der Rohe

More Information:

 20th Century Architecture and Modernism


 Bauhaus Architecture and the International Style

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Walter Adolph Gropius was born in Berlin, Germany in 1883. He studied architecture in
Munich and worked in the office of Peter Behrens in Berlin. In 1910 he formed a
partnership with Adolf Meyer. The following year he designed the spectacular Fagus
factory in Alfeld-an-der-Leine. Gropius followed this with the Werkbund Exhibition
Building in Cologne (1914).

Influenced by the ideas of William Morris, Gropius established the Arts and Crafts
School in Weimar, which became the world-famous Bauhaus. His revolutionary
methods and bold use of unusual building materials was condemned as "architectural
socialism". The Bauhaus was forced to move to Dessau where it was housed in a
building designed by Gropius.

When the Nazis came to power in 1933 Gropius moved to England before emigrating to
the United States in 1937. He was professor of architecture at Harvard University (1938-
52) and designed the Harvard Graduate Center (1949), the American Embassy in
Athens (1960), the University of Baghdad (1961) and the Pan Am Building (1963).
Walter Adolph Gropius died in 1969.

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Architecture and architecture classes with


Walter Gropius 1919-1927

The early Bauhaus had to live with the paradox tha


its founding manifesto called for "building", the sch
offer any classes in architecture. The courses close
architecture were represented by material drawing
despite this situation, architecture tuition indeed be
available, it was only because Walter Gropius read
that his partner Adolf Meyer took on students in his
Fred Forbat, detached house for the
Bauhaus Estate, perspective view of the office and worked with them in the classical relation
entrance side, 1922, pencil on tracing paper
master and journeyman on the basis of incoming c

The buildings of Gropius and Meyer were, in many


"Bauhaus buildings". Throughout his lectures and p
Gropius made no distinction between private and s
commissions. He regularly let students work on the
commissions in his office and always tried to sell p
services from the Bauhaus workshops to his clients
architecture of the Bauhaus was the architecture o
director. This form of collaboration resulted in famo
The house of Adolf Sommerfeld in Berlin, the altera
theater in Iena (both destroyed), the Otte house in
the Auerbach house in Iena. The competition desig
Chicago Tribune led the Gropius office to internatio

Only very few student projects outside the office of


known: the most important one is the planning of a
estate for members of the Bauhaus. The first plans
1920 foresaw an ensemble of wooden houses, the
the time. In 1922/23, masters and students develop
forms of housing in which the central living space w
in the middle of the building. Here, not only new tec
Fred Forbat, detached house for the
Bauhaus Estate, perspective view of the rear materials were tested, but also new design principl
side, 1922, pencil on tracing paper
introduced to Weimar by Theo van Doesburg. Such
was realized for the Bauhaus exhibition of 1923 aft
by Georg Muche. Adolf Meyer assured the building
realization. The Bauhaus workshops fully equipped
"experimental house am Horn". The architecture w
radical than the interior decoration, which was inten
convey very specific ideas regarding the changed l
"New Man".

These rudiments were further developed during the


years. In particular, Marcel Breuer developed his d
against existing conventions. These were not carrie
the context of real building projects, and can only b
freely chosen projections into a building future. The
of the ties in the atmosphere at the Bauhaus in We
extremely beneficial to this kind of school of though
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Walter Adolph Gropius
German architect and educator
Founder of the Bauhaus, Walter
Gropius also designed buildings
typically characterised by simplicity
of shape, elimination of surface
decoration, and the extensive use
of glass.
Read more

Walter Adolph Gropius 1883 - 1969

Audio Archive
6 January 1968 The Third Programme
Walter Gropius talks to George Baird about

the origins and democratic vision of Bauhaus 1 min 19

the introduction of painters and the type of artists he


brought into the Bauhaus, character over talent 2 min 34

true functionalism, the human being as the starting


point for design 1 min 31

beauty as a basic requirement of life 1 min 41

You will need RealPlayer to access these clips. Visit WebWise for help
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Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius
Born 1883; Berlin, Germany
Died 1969; Boston, Massachusetts, USA
Notes
At Great Buildings http://www.GreatBuildings.com/architects/Walter_Gropius.html

Contents
[hide]

1 Works

2 Discussion

3 References

4 External Links

[edit]
Works
Bauhaus, at Dessau, Germany, 1919 to 1925. * 3D Model * Archiplanet page
GreatBuildings page
Fagus Works, at Alfred an der Leine, Germany, 1911 to 1913. Archiplanet page
GreatBuildings page
Gropius House, at Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1937. * 3D Model * Archiplanet
page GreatBuildings page
Harvard Graduate Center, at Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1950. Archiplanet
page GreatBuildings page
[edit]
Discussion
(b. Berlin, Germany 1883; d. Boston, Massachusetts 1969)
Walter Gropius was born in Berlin in 1883. The son of an architect, he studied at the
Technical Universities in Munich and Berlin. He joined the office of Peter Behrens in
1910 and three years later established a practice with Adolph Meyer. For his early
commissions he borrowed from the Industrial Classicism introduced by Behrens.
After serving in the war, Gropius became involved with several groups of radical
artists that sprang up in Berlin in the winter of 1918. In March 1919 he was elected
chairman of the Working Council for Art and a month later was appointed Director of
the Bauhaus.
As war became eminent, Gropius left the Bauhaus and resumed private practice in
Berlin. Eventually, he was forced to leave Germany for the United States, where he
became a professor at Harvard University. From 1938 to 1941, he worked on a
series of houses with Marcel Breuer and in 1945 he founded "The Architect's
Collaborative", a design team that embodied his belief in the value of teamwork.
Gropius created innovative designs that borrowed materials and methods of
construction from modern technology. This advocacy of industrialized building
carried with it a belief in team work and an acceptance of standardization and
prefabrication. Using technology as a basis, he transformed building into a science
of precise mathematical calculations.
An important theorist and teacher, Gropius introduced a screen wall system that
utilized a structural steel frame to support the floors and which allowed the external
glass walls to continue without interruption.
Gropius died in Boston, Massachusetts in 1969.
References
Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing,
1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p69-70.

Muriel Emmanuel. Contemporary Architects. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1980. ISBN 0-312-16635-4.
NA 680-C625. p316-320.

[edit]
References
"Two Bauhaus Buildings: A Paradigm Shift", by Darlene Brady, ArchitectureWeek
No. 16, 2000.0830, pC1.1.
[edit]
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Bauhaus
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the British goth band, see Bauhaus (band).

Typography by Herbert Bayer above the entrance to the workshop block of the Bauhaus,
Dessau, 2005.

Bauhaus (help·info) is the common term for the Staatliches Bauhaus (help·info), an
art and architecture school in Germany that operated from 1919 to 1933, and for its
approach to design that it publicized and taught. The most natural meaning for its
name (related to the German verb for "build") is Architecture House. Bauhaus style
became one of the most influential currents in Modernist architecture, and one of the
most important currents of the New Objectivity.[1]
The Bauhaus art school had a profound influence upon subsequent developments in
art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design and typography.
The Bauhaus art school existed in three German cities (Weimar from 1919 to 1925,
Dessau from 1925 to 1932, Berlin from 1932 to 1933), under three different
architect-directors (Walter Gropius from 1919 to 1927, Hannes Meyer from 1928 to
1930, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1930 to 1933). The changes of venue and
leadership resulted in a constant shifting of focus, technique, instructors, and
politics. When the school moved from Weimar to Dessau, for instance, although it
had been an important revenue source, the pottery shop was discontinued. When
Mies took over the school in 1930, he transformed it into a private school, and would
not allow any supporters of Hannes Meyer to attend it.
László Moholy-Nagy revived the school for a single year in Chicago as the New
Bauhaus.

Contents
[hide]
1 Context

1.1 Political context

1.2 Bauhaus and German modernism

2 History of the Bauhaus

2.1 Weimar

2.2 Dessau

2.3 Berlin

3 Architectural output

4 Impact

5 Gallery

6 References

7 See also

8 External links

[edit] Context

Restored workshop block of the Dessau Bauhaus (2003).


Computer model of the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer

The foundation of the Bauhaus occurred at a time of crisis and turmoil in Europe as
a whole and particularly in Germany. Its establishment resulted from a confluence of
a diverse set of political, social, educational and artistic development in the first two
decades of the twentieth century.
[edit] Political context

The Bauhaus-Signet (logo)

The conservative modernisation of the German Empire during the 1870s had
maintained power in the hands of the aristocracy. It also necessitated militarism and
imperialism to maintain stability and economic growth. By 1912 the rise of the leftist
SPD had galvanized political positions with notions of international solidarity and
socialism set against imperialist nationalism. World War I ensued from 1914–18.
In 1917 in the midst of the carnage of the First World War, workers and soldier
Soviets seized power in Russia. Inspired by the Russian workers and soldier
Soviets, similar German communist factions—most notably The Spartacist
League—were formed, who sought a similar revolution for Germany. The following
year, the death throes of the war provoked the German Revolution, with the SPD
securing the abdication of the Kaiser and the formation of a revolutionary
government. On 1 January 1919, the Spartacist League attempted to take control of
Berlin, an action that was brutally suppressed by the combined forces of the SPD,
the remnants of the German Army, and right-wing paramilitary groups.
Elections were held on the January 19, and the Weimar Republic was established.
Communist revolution was still a tangible prospect for many, indeed a Soviet
republic was declared in Munich, before its suppression by the right wing Freikorps
and regular army. Sporadic fighting continued to flare up around the country.
[edit] Bauhaus and German modernism
The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus -- the
radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-
production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit -- were already partly
developed in Germany before the Bauhaus was founded.
The German national designers' organization Deutscher Werkbund was formed in
1907 by Hermann Muthesius to harness the new potentials of mass production, with
a mind towards preserving Germany's economic competitiveness with England. In
its first seven years, the Werkbund came to be regarded as the authoritative body on
questions of design in Germany, and was copied in other countries. Many
fundamental questions of craftsmanship vs. mass production, the relationship of
usefulness and beauty, the practical purpose of formal beauty in a commonplace
object, and whether or not a single proper form could exist, were argued out among
its 1870 members (by 1914).
Beginning in June 1907, Peter Behrens' pioneering industrial design work for the
German electrical company AEG successfully integrated art and mass production on
a large scale. He designed consumer products, standardized parts, created clean-
lined designs for the company's graphics, developed a consistent corporate identity,
built the modernist landmark AEG Turbine Factory, and made full use of newly
developed materials such as poured concrete and exposed steel. Behrens was a
founding member of the Werkbund, and both Walter Gropius and Adolf Meier
worked for him in this period.
The Bauhaus was founded in 1919, the same year as the Weimar Constitution, and
at a time when the German Zeitgeist turned from emotional Expressionism to the
matter-of-fact New Objectivity. An entire group of working architects, including Erich
Mendelsohn, Bruno Taut and Hans Poelzig, turned away from fanciful
experimentation, and turned toward rational, functional, sometimes standardized
building.
Beyond the Bauhaus, many other significant German-speaking architects in the
1920s responded to the same aesthetic issues and material possibilities as the
school. They also responded to the promise of a 'minimal dwelling' written into the
Constitution. Ernst May, Bruno Taut, and Martin Wagner, among others, built large
housing blocks in Frankfurt and Berlin. The acceptance of modernist design into
everyday life was the subject of publicity campaigns, well-attended public exhibitions
like the Weissenhof Estate, films, and sometimes fierce public debate.
The entire movement of German architectural modernism was known as Neues
Bauen.

[edit] History of the Bauhaus


Bauhaus and its Sites in Weimar and Dessaua
UNESCO World Heritage Site
State Party Germany

Type Cultural

Criteria ii, iv, vi

Identification #729

Regionb Europe and North America

Inscription History

Formal Inscription: 1996


20th Session

a Name as officially inscribed on the WH List

b As classified officially by UNESCO

[edit] Weimar
The school was founded by Walter Gropius at the conservative city of Weimer in
1919 as a merger of the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts and the Weimar
Academy of Fine Arts. His opening manifesto proclaimed "to create a new guild of
craftsmen, without the class distinctions which raise an arrogant barrier between
craftsman and artist".
Most of the contents of the pre-war Weimar workshops had been sold off during
World War I. The early intention was for the Bauhaus to be a combined architecture
school, crafts school, and academy of the arts. Much internal and external conflict
followed.
Gropius argued that a new period of history had begun with the end of the war. He
wanted to create a new architectural style to reflect this new era. His style in
architecture and consumer goods was to be functional, cheap and consistent with
mass production. To these ends, Gropius wanted to reunite art and craft to arrive at
high-end functional products with artistic pretensions. The Bauhaus issued a
magazine called "Bauhaus" and a series of books called "Bauhausbücher". Since
the country lacked the quantity of raw materials that the United States and Great
Britain had, they had to rely on the proficiency of its skilled labor force and ability to
export innovative and high quality goods. Therefore designers were needed and so
was a new type of art education. The school’s philosophy basically stated that the
artist should be trained to work with the industry.
Thuringian Parliamentary support for the school came from the Social Democratic
party. In February 1924, the Social Democrats lost control of the state parliament to
the nationalists. the Ministry of Education place the staff on six-month contracts and
cut the school's funding in half. they had already been looking for alternative sources
of funding. Together with the Council of Masters he announced the closure of the
Bauhaus from the end of March 1925.
After the Bauhaus moved to Dessau, a school of industrial design with teachers and
staff less antagonistic to the conservative political regime remained in Weimar. This
school was eventually known as the Technical University of Architecture and Civil
Engineering, and in 1996 changed its name to Bauhaus University Weimar.
[edit] Dessau
The Dessau years saw a remarkable change in direction for the school. According to
Elaine Hoffman, Gropius had approached the Dutch architect Mart Stam to run the
newly-founded architecture program, and when Stam declined the position, Gropius
turned to Stam's friend and colleague in the ABC group, Hannes Meyer. Gropius
would come to regret this decision.
The charismatic Meyer rose to director when Gropius resigned in Feburary 1928,
and Meyer brought the Bauhaus its two most significant building commissions, both
of which still exist: five apartment buildings in the city of Dessau, and the
headquarters of the Federal School of the German Trade Unions (ADGB) in Bernau.
Meyer favored measurements and calculations in his presentations to clients, along
with the use of off-the-shelf architectural components to reduce costs, and this
approach proved attractive to potential clients. The school turned its first profit under
his leadership in 1929.
But Meyer also generated a great deal of conflict. As a radical functionalist, he had
no patience with the aesthetic program, and forced the resignations of Herbert
Bayer, Marcel Breuer, and other longtime instructors. As a vocal Communist, he
encouraged the formation of a Communist student organization. In the increasingly
dangerous political atmosphere, this became a threat to the existence of the Dessau
school, and to the personal safety of anyone involved. Meyer was also compromised
by a sexual scandal involving one of his students, and Gropius fired him in 1930.
[edit] Berlin
Although neither the Nazi Party nor Hitler himself had a cohesive architectural
'policy' in the 1930s, Nazi writers like Wilhelm Frick and Alfred Rosenberg had
labelled the Bauhaus "un-German" and criticized its modernist styles, deliberately
generating public controversy over issues like flat roofs. Increasingly through the
early 1930s, they characterized the Bauhaus as a front for Communists, Russian,
and social liberals. Indeed, second director Hannes Meyer was an avowed
Communist, and he and a number of loyal students moved to the Soviet Union in
1930.
Under political pressure the Bauhaus was closed on the orders of the Nazi regime
on April 11 1933. The closure, and the response of Mies van der Rohe, is fully
documented in Elaine Hochman's Architects of Fortune.

[edit] Architectural output


The paradox of the early Bauhaus was that, although its manifesto proclaimed that
the ultimate aim of all creative activity was building, the school wouldn't offer classes
in architecture until 1927. The single most profitable tangible product of the Bauhaus
was its wallpaper. pic needed
During the years under Gropius (1919–1927), he and his partner Adolf Meyer
observed no real distinction between the output of his architectural office and the
school. So the built output of Bauhaus architecture in these years is the output of
Gropius: the Sommerfeld house in Berlin, the Otte house in Berlin, the Auerbach
house in Jena, and the competition design for the Chicago Tribune Tower, which
brought the school much attention. The definitive 1926 Bauhaus building in Dessau
is also attributed to Gropius. Apart from contributions to the 1923 Haus am Horn,
student work architectural amounted to unbuilt projects, interior finishes, and craft
work like cabinets, chairs and pottery.
In the next two years under the outspoken Swiss Communist architect Hannes
Meyer, the architectural focus shifted away from aesthetics and towards
functionality. But there were major commissions: one by the city of Dessau for five
tightly designed "Laubenganghäuser" (apartment buildings with balcony access),
which are still in use today, and another for the headquarters of the Federal School
of the German Trade Unions (ADGB) in Bernau bei Berlin. Meyer's approach was to
research users' needs and scientifically develop the design solution.
And then Mies van der Rohe repudiated Meyer's politics, his supporters, and his
architectural approach. As opposed to Gropius' "study of essentials", and Meyer's
research into user requirements, Mies advocated a "spatial implementation of
intellectual decisions", which effectively meant an adoption of his own aesthetics.
Neither Mies nor his Bauhaus students saw any projects built during the 1930s.
The popular conception of the Bauhaus as the source of extensive Weimar-era
working housing is not accurate. Two projects, the apartment building project in
Dessau and the Törten row housing also in Dessau fall in that category, but
developing worker housing was not the first priority of Gropius nor Mies. It was the
Bauhaus contemporaries Bruno Taut, Hans Poelzig and particularly Ernst May, as
the city architects of Berlin, Dresden and Frankfurt respectively, who are rightfully
credited with the thousands of socially progressive housing units built in Weimar
Germany. In Taut's case, the housing may still be seen in SW Berlin, is still
occupied, and can be reached by going easily from the Metro Stop Onkel Tom's
Hutte.
[edit] Impact
The Bauhaus had a major impact on art and architecture trends in Western Europe,
the United States and Israel (particularly in White City, Tel Aviv) in the decades
following its demise, as many of the artists involved fled, or were exiled, by the Nazi
regime. Tel Aviv, in fact, has been to named by the UN, to the list of world heritage
sites, due to its abundance of Bauhaus architecture.
Gropius, Breuer, and Moholy-Nagy re-assembled in England during the mid 1930s
to live and work in the Isokon project before the war caught up to them. Both
Gropius and Breuer went to teach at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and
worked together before their professional split in 1941. The Harvard School was
enormously influential in America in the late 1940s and early 1950s, producing such
students as Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, Lawrence Halprin and Paul Rudolph, among
many others.
In the late 1930s, Mies van der Rohe re-settled in Chicago, enjoyed the sponsorship
of the influential Philip Johnson, and became one of the pre-eminent architects in
the world. Moholy-Nagy also went to Chicago and founded the New Bauhaus school
under the sponsorship of industrialist and philanthropist Walter Paepcke. Printmaker
and painter Werner Drewes was also largely responsible for bringing the Bauhaus
aesthetic to America and taught at both Columbia University and Washington
University in St. Louis. Herbert Bayer, sponsored by Paepcke, moved to Aspen,
Colorado in support of Paepcke's Aspen projects.
One of the main objectives of the Bauhaus was to unify art, craft, and technology.
The machine was considered a positive element, and therefore industrial and
product design were important components. Vorkurs ("initial" or "preliminary
course") was taught; this is the modern day Basic Design course that has become
one of the key foundational courses offered in architectural and design schools
across the globe. There was no teaching of history in the school because everything
was supposed to be designed and created according to first principles rather than by
following precedent.
One of the most important contributions of the Bauhaus is in the field of modern
furniture design. The world famous and ubiquitous Cantilever chair by Dutch
designer Mart Stam, using the tensile properties of steel, and the Wassily Chair
designed by Marcel Breuer are two examples.
The physical plant at Dessau survived the War and was operated as a design school
with some architectural facilities by the Communist German Democratic Republic.
This included live stage productions in the Bauhaus theater under the name of
Bauhausbühne ("Bauhaus Stage"). After German reunification, a reorganized school
continued in the same building, with no essential continuity with the Bauhaus under
Gropius in the early 1920s [1].
In 1999 Bauhaus-Dessau College started to organize postgraduate programs with
participants from all over the world. This effort has been supported by the Bauhaus-
Dessau Foundation which was founded in 1994 as a public institution.
American art schools have also rediscovered the Bauhaus school. The Master
Craftsman Program at Florida State University bases its artistic philosophy on
Bauhaus theory and practice.
Many outstanding artists of their time were lecturers at Bauhaus:

Anni Albers Gerhard Marcks


Josef Albers László Moholy-Nagy
Marianne Brandt Piet Mondrian
Marcel Breuer Georg Muche
Avgust Černigoj Hinnerk Scheper
Lyonel Feininger Oskar Schlemmer
Naum Gabo Joost Schmidt
Ludwig Hilberseimer Lothar Schreyer
Johannes Itten Naum Slutzky
Wassily Kandinsky Wolfgang Tumpel
Paul Klee Gunta Stölzl

[edit] Gallery

Stage. Ceiling with light fixtures for Mechanically opened


stage. Studio wing. windows.
Mensa (Dining room)

[edit] References
1. ^ [2006] A Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (Paperback),
Second (in English), Oxford University Press, 880. ISBN 0198606788.

Oskar Schlemmer. Tut Schlemmer, Editor. The Letters and Diaries of Oskar
Schlemmer. Translated by Krishna Winston. Wesleyan University Press, 1972.
ISBN 0819540471
Magdalena Droste, Peter Gossel, Editors. Bauhaus, Taschen America LLC,
2005. ISBN 3822836494
Marty Bax. Bauhaus Lecture Notes 1930–1933. Theory and practice of
architectural training at the Bauhaus, based on the lecture notes made by the
Dutch ex-Bauhaus student and architect J.J. van der Linden of the Mies van der
Rohe curriculum. Amsterdam, Architectura & Natura 1991. ISBN 9071570045
[edit] See also
Bauhaus Archive
International style (architecture)
Bauhaus in Budapest
[edit] External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:


Bauhaus
Bauhaus-Archiv in Berlin
Foundation bauhaus dessau
master of Architecture -MArch- master DIA/dessau
Review of Hotel Brandenburger Hof Berlin with Bauhaus design furniture
Bauhaus School
Bauhaus in America. A documentary describing the impact on Bauhaus on
American architecture.
Bauhaus in Budapest
Student Short Film on late Bauhaus (2006)
Memories of one of the few English-speaking Bauhaus students

Western art movements

Renaissance · Mannerism · Baroque · Rococo · Neoclassicism · Romanticism · Realism · Pre-Raphaelite ·


Academic · Impressionism · Post-Impressionism

20th century

Modernism · Cubism · Expressionism · Abstract expressionism · Abstract · Neue Künstlervereinigung München


· Der Blaue Reiter · Die Brücke · Dada · Fauvism · Art Nouveau · Bauhaus · De Stijl · Art Deco · Pop art ·
Futurism · Suprematism · Surrealism · Color Field · Minimalism · Lyrical Abstraction · Post-Modernism ·
Conceptual art

v•d•e

World Heritage Sites in Germany[hide]

Aachen Cathedral · Abbey and Altenmünster of Lorsch · Augustusburg and Falkenlust ·


Bamberg · Bauhaus Sites · Berlin Museum Island · Classical Weimar · Cologne Cathedral ·
Dessau-Wörlitz Garden Realm · Dresden Elbe Valley · Goslar with Mines of Rammelsberg ·
Lübeck · Luther Memorials in Eisleben and Wittenberg · Maulbronn Monastery Complex ·
Messel Pit Fossil Site · Monastic Island of Reichenau · Old Town of Quedlinburg · Palaces and
Parks of Potsdam and Berlin · Pilgrimage Church of Wies · Regensburg · Roman Monuments,
Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady, Trier · St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's
Church, Hildesheim · Speyer Cathedral · Stralsund and Wismar · Town Hall and Roland in
Bremen · Upper Middle Rhine Valley · Völklingen Ironworks · Wartburg Castle · Würzburg
Residence · Zollverein Coal Mine Industrial Complex, Essen

Transboundary: Frontiers of the Roman Empire: Upper German Raetian Limes (w/ UK) ·
Muskauer Park (w/ Poland)
....
Categories: World Heritage Sites in Germany | 1920s | 1919 architecture | 1926
architecture | 1933 architecture | 1937 architecture | Architectural styles |
Architecture schools | Art schools in Germany | Walter Gropius buildings | Bauhaus |
Expressionist architecture | German loanwords | Modernist architecture | Art
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Gropius House
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gropius House, front view.

Gropius House, view from side rear.


The Gropius House was the family residence of noted architect Walter Gropius) at
68 Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln, Massachusetts. It is now owned by Historic New
England and is open to the public Wednesday through Sunday (June 1-October 15,
and weekends (October 16-May 31). An admission fee is charged.
Gropius was founder of the Bauhaus and one of the most influential architects of the
20th century.
This house was his first architectural commission in the United States. He designed
it in 1937, when he came to teach at Harvard University's Graduate School of
Design, and it was built in 1938. He chose the area because of its proximity to
Concord Academy which his daughter, Ati, was going to attend. It remained Gropius'
home from 1938 until his death in 1969. (Gropius had a benefactor. Mrs. James J.
Storrow offered him the site and the capital and was so pleased with the result that
she allocated house sites to four other professors as well, two of which Gropius
helped design.)
The house caused a sensation when built. In keeping with Bauhaus philosophy,
every aspect of the house and its surrounding landscape was planned for maximum
efficiency and simplicity. Gropius carefully sited the house to complement its New
England habitat on a rise within an orchard of 90 apple trees.
Set amid fields, forests, and farmhouses, the Gropius House mixes up the traditional
materials of New England architecture (wood, brick, and fieldstone) with industrial
materials such as glass block, acoustical plaster, and chrome banisters. The house
structure consists of the traditional light wooden frame of New England, sheathed
with white painted clapboard siding; however, the siding runs vertically instead of
horizontally. Striking as it is, the house was built with economy in mind, and total
construction costs were $18,000.
All family possessions are still in place, including a remarkable collection of furniture
designed by Marcel Breuer and made in the Bauhaus workshops. Artwork includes
personal gifts by Josef Albers, Joan Miró, and Henry Moore.
Categories: 1938 architecture | Houses in Massachusetts | Landmarks in
Massachusetts | Middlesex County, Massachusetts | Registered Historic Places in
Massachusetts | American architecture | Architectural styles | Walter Gropius
buildings | Modernist architecture
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Harvard Graduate Center


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Harvard Graduate Center, also known as Harkness Commons, was
commissioned of The Architects Collaborative by Harvard University in 1948. The
first modern building on the campus, it was also the first endorsement of the modern
style by a major university and was seen in the national and architectural presses as
a turning point in the acceptance of the aesthetic in the U.S.
The Architects Collaborative, a modernist firm headed by Walter Gropius was a bold
choice for the typically traditional university. Though it cannot be said that Gropius
was the sole designer, those that held strongly to his ideals collaboratively designed
Harkness Commons.
Coming from the Bauhaus, Gropius had been a pioneering innovator of educational
architecture and many of his hallmarks can be seen years later in Harkness
Commons. The physical Gropius hallmarks – large windows, flowing rooms, floating
facades on raised pilotis – are all present here.
More interestingly, in justifying the placement of these innovations at Harvard,
Gropius reveals his passion, and activism, for the acceptance of modernism on
college campuses. Gropius makes clear statements for specific innovations, “…Our
contemporary architectural conception of an intensified outdoor-indoor relationship
through wide window openings and large undivided window panes has ousted the
small, cage-like, “Georgian” window.” But he is also more far reaching and makes
what is now a commonplace case for architectural diversity and investment in
current styles: “If the college is to be the cultural breeding ground for the coming
generation, its attitude should be creative, not imitative”
Gropius advocates pushing architecture forward as the society needs it. He
concludes by saying that “There is no finality in architecture – only continuous
change.”
The building was completed, in 1950, and was one of the first major projects in the
TAC office.

[edit] References
“Graduate Center: Harvard University, Massachusetts,” Architects' Year Book
(1953, vol. 5) London: P. Elek, 146.
Nancy MacLennan, “Harvard Decides to ‘Build Modern’,” New York Times , 25
October 1948, 25.
Walter Gropius, "Not Gothic But Modern For Our Colleges", New York Times, 23
October 1949.
The Architects Collaborative,; ed. Walter Gropius (and others). (Teufen, AR,
Niggli, 1966). 63
Categories: Harvard University | Walter Gropius buildings | Modernist architecture |
American architecture
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MetLife Building
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
(Redirected from Pan Am Building)

MetLife Building
Information

Location New York, New York USA

Status Complete

Constructed 1963

Use office

Height

Antenna/Spire n/a

Roof 246.6 m

Top floor 58

Technical Details

Floor count 58

Floor area 2.8 million sq ft

Elevator count add

Companies

Architect Emery Roth & Sons


MetLife Building as seen from the Empire State Building, 2005

The MetLife Building, originally the Pan Am Building, is located at 200 Park
Avenue in New York City.

Contents
[hide]

1 History

2 Architecture

3 Statistics

4 Tenants

5 Pop cultural references

6 See also

7 External links

[edit] History
The Pan Am Building was the largest commercial office building in the world when it
opened on March 7, 1963. It is an important part of the Manhattan skyline and one
of the fifty tallest buildings in the USA.
Pan American World Airways was the building's owner for many years. Its logotype
was depicted on a sign that was placed on the north and south faces and its globe
logo was depicted on a sign that was placed on the east and west faces. In 1981,
the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company purchased the building from Pan Am.
When Pan Am ceased operations in 1991, MetLife replaced the Pan Am logos on
the north and south each faces with its own, renaming the building the MetLife
Building. This name is also informally held by the MetLife Tower.
In 2005, MetLife sold the building for $1.72 billion, the highest recorded price for an
office building in the United States. The buyer was a joint venture of Tishman
Speyer Properties, the New York City Employees' Retirement System, and the New
York City Teachers' Retirement System.
The building was also known for its helicopter service to John F. Kennedy
International Airport, a seven-minute flight that left from the rooftop helipad. This
service was offered only between 1965 and 1968 and for a few months in 1977 and
was ended after a spectacular accident that killed five people. On May 16, 1977, a
broken landing gear caused a parked Sikorsky S-61L with rotors still turning to tip
over, killing four people who were outside the helicopter waiting to board, including
exploitation filmmaker Michael Findlay. Part of a rotor blade sailed over the side of
the building and killed a pedestrian on the corner of Madison and 43rd street. Two
other people were seriously injured.
Another notorious moment in the building's history was Eli M. Black's spectacular
suicide on February 3, 1975. The CEO of United Brands Company (now Chiquita
Brands International) used his briefcase to shatter an external window and then
jumped out of the forty-four story window to his death on Park Avenue. This incident
was an inspiration for a similar suicide in the 1994 film, The Hudsucker Proxy.
The building's most famous "residents" are a pair of Peregrine Falcons nicknamed
Lois and Clark who nest there and dine on the pigeons.

[edit] Architecture
Designed by Emery Roth & Sons with the assistance of Walter Gropius and Pietro
Belluschi, the Pan Am Building is an example of a Brutalist or International style
skyscraper. It is purely commercial in design with large floors, simple massing, and
an absence of luxurious detailing inside or out. Although disliked by architecture
critics and many New Yorkers, it has been popular with tenants, not least because of
its location next to Grand Central Terminal.
The MetLife Building is arguably the most hated skyscraper in the city. In 1987, the
lifestyle periodical New York revealed in a poll that MetLife—then Pan Am—was the
building that New Yorkers would most like to see demolished. Perhaps contributing
to the hatred of the building is the fact that it is so visible. Situated behind Grand
Central Terminal outside of the grid, the building, which would have otherwise been
tucked away into the city, is left totally exposed and contrasted with the other
buildings around it, most notably, the New York Central Building which is now called
the Helmsley Building.
While condemned by some, many of the most influential architects of the twentieth
century have commended the MetLife Building since its completion. With a shape
similar to that of Pirelli Tower in Milan, MetLife is subtle while unique in its lozenge
shape, in effect referencing its monumental position. Set apart from many of its
contemporaries, MetLife has a heavy pre-cast facade that might have appealed to
those looking for an historicist design. The importance of this design and the stress
placed on its subtleties may be clearer after a close look at both Gropius's other tall
building projects, such as the Chicago Tribune Tower competition.

[edit] Statistics

View from Vanderbilt Avenue

Height: 808 ft (246.6 m)


Floors: 58 (above ground)
Floor space: 2.8 million ft² (260,000 m²)
[edit] Tenants
In addition to being the official headquarters of the Metropolitan Life Insurance
Company, the MetLife Building houses a number of other major firms, including the
headquarters of Dreyfus Corporation, the largest office of Greenberg Traurig, and
the New York offices of Barclays Bank, CB Richard Ellis, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher,
Hunton & Williams and Winston & Strawn.
[edit] Pop cultural references
As a prominent New York landmark, the Metlife Building has been featured in
numerous movies, including "Coogan's Bluff" in which Clint Eastwood's character
arrives in city by helicopter, the American version of Godzilla as its middle body is
destroyed, after Godzilla storms Grand Central Station, in the main titles of the HBO
presentation of Angels in America, at the end of Antz, and is shown in and is an
important part of Catch Me if You Can in which the main character poses as a Pan
Am Pilot.
Yves Montand sang the song "Come Back to Me" on top of the Pan Am Building in
the the 1970 Barbara Streisand musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever .
The movie Hackers also features the building, and in a strange continuity error,
features the Pan Am logo in the helicopter shots and the Met Life logo in the ground
shots.
The 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die features the Metlife Building in the
opening shot following the gun barrel logo as the camera zooms into the United
Nations Headquarters where a British agent ambassador is assassinated during a
General Assembly simulation.
Several games also feature the Metlife Building, such as Freedom Fighters for the
PlayStation 2 and Xbox.
In the 2005 movie Rent a quick shot shows the building with its current MetLife sign
(MetLife's pre-1998 logo), but since the movie takes place during a 365 day period
between 1989 and 1990 this is an error: it should have read Pan Am.
Joni Mitchell has the memorable line "A helicopter lands on the Pan-Am roof like a
dragonfly on a tomb" in her the song "Harry's House" on the "Hissing of Summer
Lawns" album.
In the first Grand Theft Auto IV trailer released on the 29th March 2007, the MetLife
building was visible in a parody called the 'GetaLife' building.

[edit] See also


Buildings and architecture of New York City
Tallest buildings in New York City
[edit] External links
Official page
The Midtown Book
The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream by Meredith L.
Clausen (MIT Press Blurb)
NTSB accident report of the helicopter accident in 1977
Coordinates: 40°45′12″N, 73°58′36″W
Categories: 1963 architecture | Skyscrapers in New York City | Aviation in New York
City | Buildings and structures in Manhattan | Heliports | Skyscrapers between 200
and 249 meters | Brutalist structures | Walter Gropius buildings | American
architecture | Modernist architecture | Pan Am | MetLife
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Fagus Factory
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Fagus Factory

The Fagus Factory (German: Fagus Fabrik or Fagus Werk) was constructed
between 1911 and 1913 (with additions and interiors completed in 1925) in Alfeld on
the Leine in Germany. It was designed by the architects Walter Gropius and Adolf
Meyer. It was a shoe last factory owned by Carl Benscheidt (1858-1947). It is said to
be an important example of early modern architecture. Nikolaus Pevsner, writes in
Pioneers of Modern Design:
For the first time a complete facade is conceived in glass. The supporting piers are reduced
to narrow mullions of brick. The corners are left without any support, a treatment which has
since been imitated over and over again. The expression of the flat roof has also changed.
Only in the buildings by Adolf Loos which was done one year before the Fagus Factory,
have we seen the same feeling for the pure cube. Another exceedingly important quality of
Gropius's building is that, thanks to the large expanses of clear glass, the usual hard
separation of exterior and interior is annihilated.[1]

Contents
[hide]

1 Construction history

1.1 The owner of Fagus

1.2 The commission

1.3 Construction

2 The Building

2.1 Construction system


2.2 Design

2.3 Influences

3 Notes

4 References

5 External links

[edit] Construction history


[edit] The owner of Fagus
Carl Benscheidt founded the Fagus company on 1910. He had started by working
for Arnold Rikkli who practiced naturopathic medicine. It was there than he learned
about orthopedic shoe lasts (which were quite rare at that time). Then he proceeded
in making his own workshop and in 1887 was hired by the shoe last manufacturer
Carl Behrens as works manager in his factory in Alfeld. After the death of Carl
Behrens in 1896, Benscheidt became general manager of the company, which was
on its way to become one of the biggest companies in that sector in Germany. In
October 1910, he resigned from his position because of differences with Behrens’s
son.[2]
[edit] The commission
After his resignation, Benscheidt immediately started work in establishing his own
company. He established partnership with an American company acquiring both
capital and expertise. He bought the land directly opposite from Behrens’s factory
and hired the architect Eduard Werner (1847-1923), whom he knew from an earlier
renovation of the Behrens’s factory. Although Werner was a specialist in factory
design, Benscheidt was no pleased with the outside appearance of his design. His
factory was separated from Behrens’s by a train line and Benscheidt thought of the
building’s elevation on that side (north) as a permanent advertisement for his
factory.[3] On January 1911, he contacted Walter Gropius offering him the job of
redesigning the facades of Werner’s plan. Gropius accepted the offer and a long
collaboration started that continued until 1925 when the last buildings on the site
were completed.
[edit] Construction
During construction, Gropius and his partner Meyer were in great pressure to keep
up to the rhythm of work. The construction started in May 1911 based on Werner’s
plans and Benscheidt wanted to have the factory running by winter of the same
year. This was achieved in great part and in 1912 Gropius and Meyer were
designing the interiors of the main building and secondary smaller buildings on the
site.
In order to be able to pay additional expenses for Gropius’s design, Benscheidt and
his American partners had decided to make a smaller building than the one that was
actually planned. By winter 1912 it was clear that the factory could not keep up with
the number of orders and a major expansion was decided. This time the contract
went directly to Gropius and Meyer and from now on, they were to be the only
architects of the Fagus buildings. The expansion practically doubled the surface of
the buildings by adding to the street (south) side. This gave the opportunity of
creating a proper street elevation. In the first stage of design, the main elevation was
considered the north elevation that faced the railway and Behrens’s factory.
Work on the expansion started in 1913 and it was barely finished when WWI started.
During the work it was possible to do only minor works such as the power house and
the chimney stack that became a prominent characteristic of the building complex.
After the war the work continued with addition of minor buildings such as the porter’s
lodge and the enclosure wall. During that time the architects, in collaboration with
teachers and students from the Bauhaus, designed the interiors and furniture of the
main building. They also recommended to Benscheidt various designers for the
publicity campaign of Fagus. From 1923 to 1925, the architects were also working
on a new expansion that was finally never done. It was not earlier than 1927 that
Benscheidt wrote to Gropius to explain that all activities should stop until further
notice due to financial difficulties.

[edit] The Building


The building that is commonly referred as the Fagus building is the main building. It
was constructed in 1911 according to Werner’s plan but with the glass facades
designed by Gropius and Meyer and then expanded in 1913. The entrance with the
clock is part o the 1913 expansion. The interiors of the building, which contained
mainly offices, were finished in the mid 20s. The other two big buildings on the site
are the production hall and the warehouse. Both were constructed in 1911 and
expanded in 1913. The production hall is a one-storey building. It was almost
invisible from the railway (north) elevation and acquired a proper facade after the
expansion. The warehouse is a four-storey building with few openings. Its design
followed closely the original plan by Werner and it is left out from many of the
photographs. Apart from them, he site contains various small buildings designed by
Gropius and Meyer.
[edit] Construction system
Because of its glass façade, for many years people thought that the main building
was made of concrete or steel. After the renovation during the 80s, it has become
clear that this is not the case. Jürgen Götz, the engineer responsible for the
renovation since 1982, describes the construction system like this:
“The main building was erected on top of a structurally stable basement with flat caps.
Nonreinforced (or compressed) concrete, mixed with pebble dashing was used for the
basement walls, a unfortunate blend unable to support great individual loads. From the
basement upward, the building rose in plain brickwork with reinforced wood floors. The
ceilings were underpinned with a formwork shell and finished in rough-cast plaster on the
services installation side. The floors were composed of planks on loose sleepers – that is,
sleepers that were not fixed between the floor joists. Hence, the ceilings in the main building
were not continuous shears and thus were unable to fulfill the necessary bracing function.” [4]

The same kind of misunderstanding exists about the glass façade of the building
that many writers describe as a curtain wall similar to the one Gropius used for the
Bauhaus building in Desau. Götz describes it like this:
“The window openings were intrados frames composed of L beams; the internal membering
with horizontal and vertical muntins was differentiated in that all the verticals appeared more
slender on the outside, while the horizontals appeared wider. These fames were, however,
only floor-to-floor height, screwed to the building on four sides; one string course that
reached across the three floors consisted, in fact, of three different sections. Along the side
of the building, 3-milimiter-thick steel plates sealed the wedge between window frame and
piers.”[5]

It should be noted that this description applies only to the main building. Götz note
that the other buildings were much simpler and some of them were actually concrete
and/or steel constructions.
[edit] Design
Although constructed with different systems, all of the buildings on the site give a
common image and appear as a unified whole. The architects achieved this by the
use of some common elements in all the buildings. The first one is the use of floor-
to-ceiling glass windows on steel frames that go around the corners of the buildings
without a visible (most of the time without any) structural support. The other unifying
element is the use of brick. All buildings have a base of about 40cm of black brick ad
the rest is built of yellow bricks. The combined effect is a feeling of lightness or as
Gropius called it “etherealization”.
In order to enhance this feeling of lightness, Gropius and Meyer used a series of
optical refinements like greater horizontal than vertical elements on the windows,
longer windows on the corners and taller windows on the last floor.
The design of the building was oriented to the railroad side. Benscheidt considered
that the point of view of the passengers on the trains was the one that determined
the image of the building and placed great weight on the facade on that side. It was
already noted by Peter Behrens (with whom Gropius and Meyer were working one
year before starting work on the Fagus factory) that architects should take account
of the way the speed of modern transportation affects the way architecture is
perceived. Gropius had also commented the subject in his writings. According to the
historian of architecture Annemarie Jaeggi these thoughts were important in the
design of Fagus:
“The animated fluctuation in height, the change between horizontal structure and vertical
rhythms, heavy closed volumes and light dissolved fabrics, are indicators f an approach that
deliberately utilized contrasts while arriving at a harmony of opposites in a manner best
expressed as a pictorial or visual structure created from the perspective of the railroad
tracks.”[6]

[edit] Influences
The building that had the greater influence on the design of Fagus was AEG’s
Turbine factory designed by Peter Behrens. Both Gropius and Meyer had worked on
the project and with Fagus they presented their interpretation and criticism of their
teacher’s work. The Fagus main building can be seen as an inversion of the Turbine
factory. They both have corners free of supports and glass surfaces between piers
that cover the whole height of the building. However, in the Turbine factory the
corners are covered by heavy elements that slant inside. The glass surfaces also
slant inside and are recessed in relation to the piers. The load-bearing elements are
attenuated and the building has an image of stability and monumentality. In Fagus
happens exactly the opposite; the corners are left open and the piers are recessed
leaving the glass surface to the front.[7]
At the time of the design of Fagus, Gropius was collecting photographs of industrial
buildings in the USA to be used for a Werkbund publication. The design of these
American factories was also a source of inspiration for Fagus.

[edit] Notes
1. ^ Pevsner (1949). On Pevsner and the Fagus see also Schwartz (1996)
pages 4-5
2. ^ For more information on Carl Benscheidt see Jaeggi(2000), pages 11-17
3. ^ Jaeggi (2000) pages 89-103 are dedicated to the advertisement campaigns
of Fagus and the way Gropius and other Bauhaus members were involved.
Schwartz (1996) pages 187-190 contains an analysis of the Fagus building
as advertisement.
4. ^ Götz, page 134
5. ^ Götz, page 135
6. ^ Jaeggi (2000) page 38
7. ^ Jaeggi (2000) pages 43-44
[edit] References
Götz, Jürgen. "Maintaining Fagus", in Jaeggi (2000) pages 133-141
Jaeggi, Annemarie (2000). Fagus: Industrial Culture from Werkbund to Bauhaus,
New York, Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 1-568981-75-9
Pevsner, Nikolaus (1949) Pioneers of Modern Design ISBN 0300105711
Schwartz, Frederic J. (1996). The Werkbund: Design Theory and Mass Culture
before the First World War, New Haven and London, Yale University Press. ISBN 0-
300-06898-0

[edit] External links


http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Fagus_Works.html Great Buildings
Online - Fagus Works, contains various photographs of the building
(German) http://www.fagus-gropius.com
(German) http://www.grecon.de
Categories: Buildings and structures in Lower Saxony | Walter Gropius buildings |
1913 architecture | Modernist architecture
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This page was last modified 21:12, 30 April 2007.


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