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Walter Gropius (1883-1969) was a celebrated German architect and teacher, founder of the school of design known as the Bauhaus in Germany, and a leading proponent of modern architecture. This house was his first architectural commission in the United States, built in 1938 as his family home after coming here to teach at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. This was Walter Gropius's home from 1938 until his death in 1969. Restoration of the Gropius House is being supported in part by a Save America's Treasures grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The project encompasses repairs to the south and west elevations and replanting of the orchard and meadow. The Gropius House is a National Historic Landmark.
Gropius directed the Bauhaus in Germany from its founding in 1919 until 1928. He was thirty-five years old when he was appointed Director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Weimar, Germany. One of his first decisions was to combine this school with the School of Arts and Crafts and rename the new institution the Bauhaus. Bauhaus is taken from the contraction of two German words: Bauen (to build) and Haus (house), and translated means "House of Building." The Bauhaus took an all-embracing attitude toward design, encouraging collaboration and taking into consideration not only the individual object or building but also the larger context, the community, and the environment. Training required the student to study the fine arts, to learn the skills of a craft, to understand the properties of materials, and to be familiar with technology and factory production. The Bauhaus embraced new materials, new technology, and sought to create a new aesthetic, unencumbered by historical tradition. Students were taught that beauty was to be found in the economy of form, in expressive use of materials, and in solutions that were suitable, economical, practical, and therefore inherently elegant.
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Bauhaus building, Dessau, Germany
Financial woes and political opposition forced the school to move from Weimar to Dessau in 1925. The school entered its most creative phase in Dessau where Gropius brought together a faculty of celebrated artists and craftspeople that included Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Marcel Breuer. The political situation in Germany at this time was rapidly changing with the rise of the Nazi Party. The government closed the Bauhaus in 1932 and Gropius, who had left the school in 1928 to open a private practice in Berlin, fell into disfavor of the Third Reich. They described his work as "Communist." Gropius submitted designs for government-funded projects that were consistently rejected. There was little work in Germany for anyone not closely aligned with the government. In 1934, the German government granted Gropius's request to work temporarily in London. He, his wife Ise, and their daughter Ati remained there for two and a half years. Gropius entered into partnership with Maxwell Fry, a leading exponent of modern architecture in England. While in London, the Dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design, Joseph Hudnut, visited Gropius and offered him a teaching position. Harvard, anxious to revitalize the teaching of architecture and change their curriculum from the Beaux-Arts tradition, pursued Gropius. Yet only when Harvard agreed to allow him to build a private architectural practice in addition to his teaching did Gropius accept the offer. However, first Gropius had to persuade the German government to allow him to transfer to the United States. The government reluctantly agreed and allowed Gropius to return to Germany to collect his personal belongings. In return, the Propaganda Ministry advertised that Harvard had appointed a German citizen, for the first time, to a traditional professorship and in such a role would serve Germany as an exemplary model of its greatness.
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Walter, Ise, and Ati Gropius at the Sandy Pond House
Walter and Ise Gropius arrived in the United States in the spring of 1937, with little more than their furniture made in the workshops of the Bauhaus, their books, and office files. Their daughter Ati, twelve years old at the time, remained behind to finish out the school year. They immediately fell in love with the New England countryside and admired the landscape outside Cambridge and Boston and, in contrast to their apartments in Berlin and London, decided to live in more rural surroundings. They found a Colonial-style house to rent on Sandy Pond in Lincoln, Massachusetts, but the house did not suit their functional or aesthetic needs. Ise later wrote: "Our Bauhaus furniture looked indeed strange in the small rooms of this prim little house of Colonial style." New social connections inspired an extraordinary opportunity. Henry Shepley, an architect friend, approached philanthropist and patron of the arts Helen Storrow, and informed her that "the new German professor" at the Harvard School of Design was "desperate" to build a house for himself but was not in the financial position to do so. He suggested that she offer him a piece of land on her large estate, finance the house, and rent it to him so that they could "see what he might do." Mrs. Storrow, who was known to support hundreds of individuals and organizations, agreed almost immediately. Gropius, of course, accepted her generous offer.
innovative materials. brick.1 kB Gropius House. with new. and fieldstone. Gropius combined traditional elements of New England architecture such as clapboard. and chromed banisters. In designing the house. along with the latest technology in fixtures. such as glass block. acoustical plaster. Lincoln The Gropiuses wanted their home to reflect its surroundings and traveled around New England studying its vernacular architecture.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 26. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 40.0 kB Another view of the Gropius House .
is modified by Gropius. White clapboards. The curved staircase faces away from the entry. ensures cross ventilation. Inside the front door is a mudroom.´ The central stair. The central hall with doors at both front and rear. The house was also built with economy in mind. The result is a regionally inspired house that employs the philosophy and goals of the Modern movement. The screened porch and terraces extend the living spaces outdoors. Gropius carefully sited the house to complement its New England habitat on a rise overlooking an apple orchard and fields.5 kB First floor hallway The entry and hallway illustrate Gropius¶s use of traditional New England forms and ideas. are used in a nontraditional way to great effect. Ise felt that ³their narrow vertical shadows relieve the white blandness and make an excellent background for artwork. reminiscent of eighteenth-century homes. signifying the upstairs as private space. again a New England tradition.Furthermore. . Using the Bauhaus design approach the house utilizes standard materials and products. that could be closed to keep out the cold and opened to enhance ventilation. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 32. Brought inside and applied vertically. it is sited for maximum ventilation and passive solar heating. a traditional New England material. and all fixtures and building supplies were factory-made items readily available form catalogs and supply houses in the United States. separated from the hall by a curtain rather than a door.
red and white. functional. To the right of the closet is one of four bathrooms in the house. The lighting in this space and throughout the house is distinctive.5 kB To the left of the entrance door is an open space to hang coats. durable. and elegant. The artwork displayed in the hallway includes a Joan Miro lithograph depicting a stylized bull in black. to provide both indirect light and dramatic shadows when used in the evening. Miro likely gave it as a gift to his friend. Gropius consulted catalogs that catered to hotels. as a way to introduce color and texture that would change with the seasons. Both materials are sound-absorbing. The building materials used in the hallway are also unusual in a residential setting. and other industries.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 28. . And by eliminating the door. All four are arranged in one connected area to minimize plumbing and installation costs. Through these suppliers he was able to acquire fixtures designed for intensive use and long life. Gropius used glass blocks and a floor-to-ceiling window to transmit natural light to this area. The floor is a resilient cork tile and the ceiling is made of acoustical plaster. intended for commercial application. He installed steel-plated wall sconces. A coat closet positioned near the front entry was not a typical feature found in houses at this time. a chromatic grouping favored by the Bauhaus and seen throughout the Gropius House. restaurants. theaters. Gropius incorporated the closet as a design element.
actively advocating the philosophy of the Bauhaus. Gropius granted his twelve-year-old daughter¶s request that she have a separate entry so that she could forgo formalities when bringing friends home. This room also illustrates Gropius¶s use of flexible spaces. Designed by Marcel Breuer and made in the workshops at the Bauhaus of maple and walnut veneer. The stairway leads to the roof deck and Ati¶s room. and helping Gropius with his work. and Mrs. The study acts as a passageway into the living room. allowed Mr. The angled glass block wall implies motion and invites the visitor to progress toward the living room.2 kB Study Gropius designed the study to accommodate the double desk that fits perfectly under the north-facing ribbon window. Of course its location. it was originally made for the director¶s house in Dessau. directly outside the study window. Breuer designed the desk to the Gropiuses¶ specifications so that they could work side by side. In keeping with the collaborative philosophy of the Bauhaus. .Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 30. and installed the steel exterior stairway seen through the front window. Ise was very much Walter¶s partner. Gropius to keep an eye on all comings and goings. The desk illustrates the collaborative nature of the Gropiuses.
8 kB Desk in study .Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 26.
5 kB With a few exceptions.Living room Large windows frame the landscape and expand the interior spaces. the south faces the private back yard. The two small bentwood stools in front of the fireplace. Marcel Breuer designed the tubular steel frame tables said to have been inspired by his bicycle¶s handlebars. prized possessions of the Gropiuses. It creates a relaxed atmosphere and seems to satisfy a craving to feel safe and secure during a roaring snowstorm. according to Ise Gropius. A glass door on the south wall allows easy access to the patio for entertaining and for everyday use. were designed by Japanese craftsman Sori Yanagi and bought in Toyko when the Gropiuses visited in 1954. A projecting overhang on the southern exposure blocks the sun in the summer and allows it to penetrate in winter. The living room features a fireplace for. The Saarinen ³Womb Chair´ was given to Gropius by friends on his seventieth birthday in 1953. its practical value and for the ³psychological effect of an open fire. the furnishings in the living room date from the Bauhaus at Dessau. To the west is a view of the apple orchard. kept on hand so that he could give signed copies to his friends and colleagues who visited. Breuer also designed the bent-wood lounge chair on the west wall in 1936 during his stay in England and. Both walls have windows positioned for maximum light and heat. according to Ati. which we had learned to savor during our stay in London. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 29. the chair was her mother¶s favorite sitting place. The books on the top shelf are those written by him or ones he collaborated on.´ Gropius maximized space along the north wall with bookshelves and storage cabinets. .
The exterior lighting would illuminate the landscape. The chrome and canvas chairs are paired with a Formica dining table designed in 1925. All were original furnishings of the Bauhaus director¶s house in Dessau. . Yet they favored small. They invited Gropius¶s students each year and would set up a buffet on the sideboard along the glass block wall and take advantage of the patio space in pleasant weather. created a dramatic scene as it illuminated to just the edge of the table. intimate dinner parties with close friends and designed their dining room as a dramatic setting in which to entertain them.Dining room The living room and dining room appear as one coherent space but may be separated by a curtain. The guests would be sitting in darkness while the crystal and tableware sparkled under the soft light and reflected upward creating a flattering appearance for those seated. The Gropiuses entertained often. a fixture designed for use in an art museum to light a piece of sculpture. The drape would open and dinner would be served. eliminating the glass wall and creating the illusion of dining outside. The overhead light. While they enjoyed cocktails with their guests in the living room. The dining table and chairs were also made in the Bauhaus workshops under the direction of Marcel Breuer. the maid would be behind the drape quietly preparing the table for the evening¶s dinner.
These features. The pantry contains a second smaller sink next to an automatic dishwasher. He used new materials available at this time and items ordered from nontraditional catalogs. .4 kB Kitchen Gropius designed the kitchen and pantry with efficiency and function in mind. illustrate how influential Gropius was.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 33. Both garbage disposals and dishwashers were appliances not generally used in 1938 kitchens. The kitchen features a solid stainless steel sink and counter top complete with garbage disposal. What we see in these two rooms has been so widely imitated that it is difficult today to imagine how revolutionary it all was in 1938. combined with the steel cabinets and marble cutting board.
Gropius also integrated plastic wherever he could. and gray. The pantry also offers a glimpse of the Bauhaus palette: black. because he thought ³plastic was king!´ Some dishes on the counter and dining room table are plastic. white. with red as an accent. as are the curtains in the pantry. . The black and white tea service on the counter was one of the last designs Gropius worked on at his architectural firm TAC (The Architects Collaborative). the colors of the machine age. and is still manufactured today.
with neighbors and infrequent slowmoving vehicles passing by. however.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 45. placing the porch perpendicular to the house to capture every available breeze. modern living dictated that a porch should not force the occupants of the house to endure the noise of the street. They noted. However. provide total privacy from the road. and darken only a service room.7 kB Screened porch Walter and Ise Gropius considered the screened porch to be among the best practical New England responses to the environment. that porches usually darkened interior living spaces and were often placed at the front or side of a house. Gropius adapted the basic idea to a private garden façade. In past decades a porch overlooking the road would be quite pleasant. .
They used it year round. cont. In the warmer months they filled the porch with furniture and spent many hours there.0 kB Screened porch. In the winter. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 33. The porch was a favorite gathering place for the Gropiuses.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 57. Walter Gropius set up his ping pong table and enjoyed the game as a form of exercise.7 kB .
Again. "Underground Shelter with Figures" by Henry Moore.2 kB Hallway The stair railing is one of the few custom-made items in the house. and a drawing titled. allowing the Gropiuses to sleep in a cold environment but dress in a warmer one. A glass wall separates dressing room from sleeping area creating the illusion of a larger space while solving a practical design problem. In the dressing room. aiding one¶s ascent. The bent-metal banister was fitted in place and is ergonomically curved to match the climber¶s stride. given to Gropius by the artist in 1941. . Wooden slats are attached to the wall¶s surface to carry through the line of the windows while preserving the plaster as they act as a durable surface on which the Gropiuses could attach art work or other decoration. The wall separates two heating zones. There is also a curtain one could close for privacy and a door that could be closed to contain noise. storage is built in behind doors making the use of bureaus unnecessary. The artwork in the master bedroom suite includes an abstract composition by Gropius¶s good friend and colleague Josef Albers. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 34.Master bedroom suite This room reflects Gropius¶s economical use of space and contains many innovative design details. the bedroom illustrates how Gropius designed the house around his furniture. The room is just large enough to accommodate the king-sized bed between two Breuer-designed night tables.
and in the winter. equal the length of the room.Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 36. While the room is small.7 kB Ati's room . the placement of the furniture gives it a much larger feel. The Gropiuses used it as a sitting room when there were no guests. The beds. The dressing table plus night table plus bed equals the width. The guest bedroom was also a flexible space. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 26. Ise took advantage of the southern exposure and used it as a greenhouse. placed head to head.7 kB Guest bedroom The size of the furniture determined the size of the guest bedroom.
. and intended for mass production. Made for Gropius's use in the director's room in the Weimar Bauhaus. She chose her own palette using warm earth tones and helped in the design of her room.Ati was twelve years old when they built the house and was encouraged to express her own ideas and creativity. Included in the furnishings in Ati's room is a walnut and birch desk designed by Walter Gropius and made in the Bauhaus carpentry workshop in 1922. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 24. cont.1 kB Ati's room. it reflects the influence of the Arts and Crafts Movement and the emphasis on craftsmanship during the early years of the Bauhaus. Paired with the desk is a tubular steel and cane chair designed by Breuer during the years of the Dessau Bauhaus in 1928. These two pieces illustrate how the Bauhaus design philosophy evolved to emphasize simple mass-producible designs.
0 kB Roof deck In addition to wanting her own entry.7 kB .Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 31. Not able to grant these requests. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 39. Ati asked for a floor of sand and a ceiling of glass. her father designed the roof deck where Ati could sleep under the stars.
7 kB Collections on Display Butterfly Footstools At the Gropius House. Ise Gropius bequeathed the house to Historic New England in 1984 to continue the tradition of teaching the principles of the Bauhaus Movement. had a revolutionary effect. The family home became a showcase for Bauhaus design and philosophy. Click to view full-size image« ² Size: 37. The stools were given pride of place in the Gropius home. and throughout Gropius¶s life.The Gropius House Gropius House. Gropius traveled to Japan in 1954 and found the Japanese aesthetic intensely inspirational. Bauhaus ideals remain alive. in the living room in front of the hearth. he and Ise continued to add newly designed furnishings that reflected their belief in the marriage of design and industry. . combine modern materials with the lilting curvilinear lines typical of Japanese design. designed the year Gropius arrived in Japan. many of them subsequently carrying Gropius's ideas and methods into their own work and teaching. and perhaps acquired by him there. These stools. Among their favorite additions was the pair of stools by Sori Yanagi of Japan. Architects and students came to study the house. widely publicized over the years because of Gropius's prominence.
as well as the Gropiuses¶ desk from the Director¶s House in Dessau. a cantilevered armchair.Dining Chairs The design for these tubular steel and canvas chairs is the result of Marcel Breuer¶s improvisation with the handlebars of his Adler bicycle. and manufactured in 1948 by Knoll Associates. It is one of the few pieces of furniture in the Gropius House not designed in the Bauhaus workshops. including a convertible daybed. side tables. This set of six Breuer chairs consists of three sections of continuous chrome-plated tubular steel bolted together with canvas back and seat covers. Womb Chair This ³womb´ chair was designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen in 1946. The design for the chair was the result . Ise Gropius said that it was given to Gropius on his seventieth birthday. The Gropius House contains a significant collection of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and fabricated in the Bauhaus workshops. nesting tables.
were broken in the transport to America. Ati. They were never repaired or replaced. this piece of furniture is the oldest in the house. It was handcrafted in the woodwork shop of the Bauhaus school in 1923. one of their dearest lifelong friends. Stable Tools This painting was given to the Gropiuses by Herbert Bayer. was a student at the Bauhaus from 1921-1923. In 1938 when the family moved into the Lincoln house.´ an abstract rendering of . Desk Designed by Walter Gropius for his office in the Weimar Bauhaus. This desk served Gropius well during the years in Weimar and Dessau until 1928 when he took it to Berlin. chose to have this desk in her bedroom. the four glass shelves and the wooden support brackets on the right side. born in Austria in 1900.of Saarinen¶s concern for the comfort of the sitter and the unity of its interior space and architecture. The original fabric remains intact. Walter and Ise's twelve-year-old daughter. Bayer. Part of the desk. ³Stable Tools. after which he became a Master in the print department.
was one of the most influential architects of the twentieth century.agricultural tools hanging on a barnyard wall. and the latest technology in fixtures. founder of the German design school known as the Bauhaus. Gropius House History 1919-1937: Bauhaus to Harvard . It combined the traditional elements of New England architecture²wood. Gropius House Lincoln. The house contains a significant collection of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and fabricated in the Bauhaus workshops. In keeping with Bauhaus philosophy. acoustical plaster. Modest in scale. He designed the Gropius House as his family home when he came to Massachusetts to teach architecture at Harvard's Graduate School of Design. the Gropius House has a sense of immediacy and intimacy. including glass block. brick. Please visit nearby Codman Estate. Massachusetts 1938 A National Historic Landmark More images of Gropius House Walter Gropius. With the family's possessions still in place. every aspect of the house and its surrounding landscape was planned for maximum efficiency and simplicity of design. moved to several locations in the Lincoln house and now can be seen in Ati Gropius¶s bedroom in Lincoln. and fieldstone²with innovative materials rarely used in domestic settings at that time. chrome banisters. the house was revolutionary in impact.
to understand the properties of materials. and in solutions that were suitable.1938-1969: A Family Home in Lincoln 1969-1974: Gropius¶s Intent 1974-present: Becoming a Museum 1919-1937: Bauhaus to Harvard The Gropius House in Lincoln. Financial woes and political opposition forced the school to move from Weimar to Dessau in 1925. encouraging collaboration and taking into consideration not only the individual object or building but also the larger context. Bauhaus is taken from two German words: bauen (to build) and Haus (house). the German government granted Gropius's request to work temporarily in London. Only when Harvard agreed to allow him to build a private architectural practice in America . He was thirty-five years old when he was appointed director of the Academy of Fine Arts in Weimar. Joseph Hudnut. visited Gropius in London and offered him a teaching position at the university. The government closed the Bauhaus in 1933 and Gropius.in addition to his teaching . and the environment." an idea Gropius took from medieval craft guilds. who described his work as "Communist.did Gropius accept the offer. The government reluctantly agreed and allowed Gropius to return to Nazi Germany to collect his . The Bauhaus embraced new materials. new technology. The dean of Harvard's Graduate School of Design. Gropius was director of the Bauhaus from its founding in 1919 until 1928. Harvard pursued Gropius. Massachusetts. in the expressive use of materials. who had left the school in 1928 to open a private practice in Berlin. Alexander Schawinsky. economical. Paul Klee. The political situation in Germany at the time was rapidly changing with the rise of the Nazi Party. was built in 1938 by German architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969)." Gropius submitted designs for government-funded projects that were consistently rejected. Germany. anxious to revitalize the teaching of architecture and change their curriculum from the Beaux-Arts tradition. Herbert Bayer. Anni Albers. Wassily Kandinsky. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy. fell into disfavor with the Third Reich. first Gropius had to persuade the German government to allow him to transfer to the United States. the community. and translated means "House of Building. and to be familiar with technology and factory production. There was little work in Germany for anyone not closely aligned with the government. unencumbered by historical tradition. The school entered its most creative phase in Dessau. to learn the skills of a craft. However. One of his first decisions was to combine the Academy of Fine Arts with the School of Crafts and rename the new institution the Bauhaus. Training required students to study the fine arts. where Gropius brought together a faculty of celebrated artists and craftspeople that included Josef Albers. among others. Students were taught that beauty was to be found in the economy of form. In 1934. and sought to create a new aesthetic. practical. and therefore inherently elegant. The attitude of the Bauhaus toward design was all-embracing. Marianne Brandt. and Marcel Breuer. Walter Gropius accepted the appointment as professor and subsequently chairman of the Harvard Graduate School of Design in Architecture in 1937.
geometry. because as she put it. remained behind in England to finish the school year. approached philanthropist and patron of the arts Helen Storrow. They immediately fell in love with the New England countryside and admired the landscape outside Cambridge and Boston and. in contrast to their apartments in Berlin and London. agreed almost immediately. and office files. Storrow. "Our Bauhaus furniture looked indeed strange in the small rooms of this prim little house of Colonial style. Mrs. Working with local Concord. it will take root. informing her that "the new German professor" at the Harvard School of Design was µdesperate¶ to build a house for himself but was not in the financial position to do so. so she offered Gropius a building site and the financial resources to build his house. Jenney and approximately $20. such as glass block.personal belongings.000. their books. an architect friend. and rent it to him so that they could "see what he might do. He suggested that she offer him a piece of land on her large estate in Lincoln. This portico is on a diagonal that leads the visitor to the front door according to the natural approach. acoustical plaster. In return. builder Casper Jenney of Concord was . ³if it is good.´ Gropius chose four acres on a small hill surrounded by Mrs. the Propaganda Ministry advertised that Harvard had appointed a German citizen. innovative materials. The entrance is an example of how Gropius interpreted a center entrance Colonial with a Bauhaus twist. Gropius used their vertical orientation to create the illusion of height as well as a practical surface for hanging an ever-changing collection of artwork. to a traditional professorship. Walter and Ise Gropius arrived in the United States in the spring of 1937 with little more than their furniture made in the workshops of the Bauhaus. and paint. brick. builder Casper J." Mrs.´ After weathering criticism and bewilderment about the house¶s unusual design and materials from fellows in the local lumber yard. Gropius noted that repairs were ³kept to a minimum because the house was remarkably well built. but the house did not suit their functional or aesthetic needs. the Gropius¶s wanted their home to reflect its surroundings and traveled around New England studying vernacular architecture. Storrow¶s apple orchard. Gropius used traditional New England building materials and architectural elements in intriguing ways. and fieldstone. Henry Shepley. patch. along with the latest technology in fixtures. twelve years old at the time. Storrow thought that newly arrived immigrants should always be given a chance. In designing the house. yet allows light to permeate the entry passage as well as the interior hall. and aesthetic beauty determined by materials rather than applied ornamentation. functionality. A glass block wall protects from wind and rain. economy. with new. some of them industrial. Gropius combined traditional elements of New England architecture such as clapboard. The design of the Gropius House is consistent with Bauhaus philosophies of simplicity. wood is an easy surface to nail. Their daughter Ati. Mrs. They found a Colonial-style house to rent on Sandy Pond in Lincoln. like the vertical clapboard walls of the front hall which are not only functional but beautiful. but the regime did not allow him to take any cash assets out of the country." 1938-1969: A Family Home in Lincoln New social connections brought an extraordinary opportunity. Ise later wrote. Massachusetts. Massachusetts. and chromed banisters. finance the house. Massachusetts. They were convinced that in such a role he would serve Germany as an exemplary model of its greatness. decided to live in more rural surroundings. who was known to support many individuals and organizations. for the first time.
Joan Miro. which in 1938 was an idea ahead of its time. and incorporated indigenous plants. Walter Gropius believed that the relationship of a house to its landscape was of paramount importance. and flattering light. it was applied with a spray gun over the lath. Mrs. but also permit passive solar gain. Gropius experimented with non-traditional materials such as the California acoustic plaster found throughout the living and dining room walls and ceilings as well as elsewhere in the house. Beyond the well-tended ring. The large plate glass windows have a dual purpose: they visually bring the outdoors in. This creates flattering light.vindicated in the eyes of his colleagues after the house survived the devastating hurricane of 1938 with minimal damage. Henry Moore. two on the first floor and two on the second floor. There are a few notable exceptions. while simultaneously eliminating the need for any additional lighting shade or cover. All four bathrooms were located in the less prominent northwest corner of the house. Guests to the Gropiuses' home and dinner table included their Bauhaus friends and fellow émigrés as well as other notables of the twentieth century. Gropius incorporated the philosophy of living in harmony with nature. In 1938. and Frank Lloyd Wright are a few names in the Gropius guest book. where solar gain and views were not important. the apple orchard and meadow were left to grow . but used passive ventilation. floral arrangements. Igor Stravinsky. Ise purchased the two-seat TECTA sofa in the living room in 1975 from Germany. Gropius designed her gardens to become low-water. they are all plumbed on one main stack for efficiency and economy. and he designed the grounds of the home as carefully as the structure itself. The towel rack was installed on the hot water radiator to warm the towels. A very porous substance that unfortunately has ³greyed´ over time from its original white color. Another strategy he used was to allow the flat roof rainwater and snow melt to drain through a center pipe to a dry well. In several ways. Many of the fixtures in the Gropius House were sourced from non-traditional commercial catalogs. On each side of the bathroom mirrors. including the Saarinen µwomb¶ chair and the Sori Yanagi µbutterfly¶ footstools in the living room. Its sound-absorbing characteristics still function effectively. The grassy plinth on which the house sits is defined by stone walls. half-chrome light bulbs redirect light to the sides and reflect light back to the mirrors. The Gropius House has four bathrooms. It has a particular adjustable aperture so that it illuminates only to the perimeter of the table. They did not have air conditioning. Over time. Above the Marcel Breuer-designed white Formica dining room table is a ceiling light fixture that was a type used by museums to highlight a piece of artwork. the hall sconces were ordered from hotel catalogs. This dramatic lighting effect was used by the Gropiuses as part of their entertaining repertoire of sparkling dishes. This ³civilized area´ around the house included a lawn extending roughly twenty feet around the house and a perennial garden that continued the thrust of the south-facing screen porch. the Gropiuses enjoyed sweeping views because the house stood alone on top of the hill unobstructed by trees and woods. low-maintenance. Alexander Calder. For example. Almost all of the furniture in the house was handmade in the Bauhaus workshops in Dessau before the family left Germany. Demetri Hadzi. cast shadows.
This was a distance from the house. For new trees. and darken only a service room. Wooden trellises reaching from the east and west sides of the house and covered with roses. Gropius acted on her husband¶s intent by establishing the Walter Gropius Archives at Harvard. now Historic New England. Ise chose to give the property to the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities. complete with mature trees. After Mrs. The Gropius¶s goal was to create a New England landscape. Mrs. Vines such as bittersweet. Mr. However. 1969-1974: Gropius s Intent Walter Gropius died in 1969. and added one and a half acres to the original four acres. as well as donating pieces of art to the BuschReisinger Museum and to the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin. although built in 1938. donating his Bauhaus and Harvard materials to those archives respectively. economy. Gropius believed that his house. the garage was placed at the foot of the driveway to the left of the entrance. and rescued boulders as focal points. and trumpet vine were planted to link the house to the landscape. modern living dictated that a porch should not force the occupants of the house to endure the noise of the street. elm. It also provided an unobstructed view of the main structure. oak. they noted. geometry. embodied the qualities of simplicity. candytuft. placing the porch perpendicular to the house to capture every available breeze. and to use a red maple as the focal point under the arch. Concord grape. In the will he states that he loves her and trusts her with his legacy. and vines offered privacy and protection from the road. Gropius was determined to carry this educational opportunity forward by turning her home into a museum. in 1974. a New England house . Storrow¶s death in 1945. white pine.naturally. provide total privacy from the road. Storrow. Mrs. functionality. but convenient for minimizing snow shoveling in winter. On the advice of Mrs. However. the Gropiuses bought the house from her son. Gropius adapted the basic idea. porches usually darkened interior living spaces and were often placed at the front or side of a house. and aesthetic beauty that could transcend time and could be applied to the architecture of today. and the breezes would cool it in summer. She recognized that the Gropius House was. Gropius played ping-pong there in the winter months. The screened porch room permitted outdoor living year round. the Gropiuses selected Scotch pine. It was her intention to create a low-horizon profile in the garden with azaleas. and junipers. but continued to live in the house until her death in 1983. Gropius in 1957 after a trip to Asia. and continues to be. cotoneasters. leaving Mrs. with neighbors and infrequent slowmoving vehicles passing by. Gropius a two-sentence will. as the south and west-facing sun would warm it in winter. Walter and Ise Gropius considered the screened porch to be among the best practical New England responses to the environment. rambling stone walls. and American beech. The Japanese-inspired garden in the back of the house was installed by Mrs. Walter and Ise Gropius promoted modern architecture and Bauhaus principles of design by using their family home as a teaching tool. In past decades a porch overlooking the road would be quite pleasant.
Architecture and Art. including the dramatic dark dining room effect.. the Bauhaus and his early work. Superfluous features were taboo. or worse. The impact of the horrible experiences in the First World War. and is located in the Woods End Road historic district. an abomination. Mrs. construction of a visitor center in the garage in 1997. poverty and inflation created a new consciousness. The rooms were sparsely furnished. Shining steel was discovered as a material for furniture . Gropius. 1974-Present: Becoming a Museum Two years after Mrs. but filled with hygienic freshness. The Gropius House was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2002. then take a tour of the house with special evening lighting. and ongoing interior preservation projects. The Gropius House remains today what Mrs.. with active support and participation from Mrs. The Bauhaus style. A popular favorite is the Evening at Gropius. a movement which was a reaction to social change and which aspired an aesthetic relevance. Historic New England began to secure the preservation of the Gropius House for its future and to allow it to be kept open for study. In 1974. This was the age of the Bauhaus. Gropius called ³a happy amalgam´ of the New England vernacular and the Bauhaus spirit. slim forms.and an important part of the New England architectural continuum. the Gropius House opened as a historic house museum. In a charming anecdote. The stewardship of Historic New England insured that the Gropiuses's vision of preservation and education would carry on into the future. The "New Man" became the ideal. These include the restoration of the metal casement windows. a concept that also expressed itself in living. several restoration projects have been undertaken to preserve the Gropius House. Gropius¶s death in 1983. It is open year-round and hosts several events and programs throughout the year. which influenced strongly Design. a program in which visitors receive an in-depth introduction to Walter Gropius. a Save America¶s Treasures Grant for the apple orchard and Japanese garden restoration in 2000-2001. In addition to the regular maintenance. Gropius was always amused to think of the Gropius House as a New England ³antiquity´ as years before it had been barely tolerated as a curiosity. The Bauhaus Design showed a purism with emphasis on straight edges and smooth.
who moved it to Berlin in 1932. the industrial and graphic arts. In 1925 the Bauhaus was moved into a group of starkly rectangular glass and concrete buildings in Dessau that were especially designed for it by Gropius. bent wood. leathers and plastic. brown. It also depended on the more forward-looking principles that modern art and architecture must be responsive to the needs and influences of the modern industrial world and that good designs must pass the test of both aesthetic standards and sound engineering. when the school came under the direction of the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. and Hannes Meyer (1889 -1954) replaced him. painting. the Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky. typography. white. were offered in crafts. where the Bauhaus teachings came to dominate art and architecture for decades and strongly contributed to the architectural style known as International Style. By 1933. . The Bauhaus was based on the principles of the 19th-century English designer William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement that art should meet the needs of society and that no distinction should be made between fine arts and practical crafts. Bauhaus is the famous German school of design that had inestimable influence on modern architecture.S. also known as the International Style. Other outstanding architects and artists who were on the staff of the Bauhaus included the Swiss painter Paul Klee. The Bauhaus style. Thus classes . Many of its faculty immigrated to the U. the American painter Lyonel Feininger. when the school was closed by the Nazis. and architecture. was marked by the absence of ornament and ostentatious facades and by harmony between function and the artistic and technical means employed. as well as in sculpture. and the German painter Oskar Schlemmer. Sometimes the primary colors of the furniture are used sporadically to accentuate and to give entirely the less dark appearance. the Hungarian painter and designer László Moholy-Nagy (who founded the Chicago Institute of Design on the principles of the Bauhaus). and commercial and industrial design. Bauhaus was the preamble of modernism and functionalism.Click here to read more about Art-Deco furniture at Barnes & Noble Print This Page The forms in the Bauhaus furniture are frequently simple and light without decorative additive. It was founded in 1919 by the architect Walter Gropius in Weimar as a merger of an art academy and an arts and crafts school. and theater design. unadorned materials.. Frequently used are: steel. Gropius resigned as director of the Bauhaus in 1928. The most attentive colors are: generally black. Meyer held the position until 1930. grey and chromium. glass. In Dessau the Bauhaus style became more strictly functional with greater emphasis on showing the beauty and suitability of basic. its principles and work were known worldwide.
Mies van der Rohe and other leaders of Bauhaus migrated to the U. if you look beyond the worn buildings¶ façade you will encounter the largest collection of buildings whose architectural roots can be traced to the Bauhaus architecture of Germany.S. It is perhaps ironic that Tel Aviv houses the largest number of buildings designed in an architectural style that developed in pre-Nazi Germany. Purists assert that Bauhaus architecture can only refer to buildings in Germany and anything else should be termed International Style ± while others use the terms interchangeably (as is the case in this issue of Gems in Israel). The book. (although some feature rounded corners and balconies). The American form of this architectural style was dubbed the International Style after Gropius. Bauhaus architecture. whose founding father was Walter Gropius.S. a style that came to an abrupt end in Germany. at the insistence of the National Socialist government. with the Nazi¶s rise to power. but it is not. in the 1930s. The term International Style was really adopted after the publication of a book that coincided with a 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. they have smooth facades and an open floor plan. by the police.Bauhaus Architecture By Yael Zisling There are those who describe Tel Aviv as a drab.. with the Nazi¶s growing influence. This architectural style is so prevalent in Tel Aviv that it almost seems as though it were a local style. However. The International Style. favor right angles.. 1933. developed in Germany in the 1920s and later in the U. was called. . by historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock and architect Philip Johnson. There are a number of characteristics to the Bauhaus/International Style of architecture: 1) It shuns ornamentation and favors functionality 2) Uses asymmetry and regularity versus symmetry 3) It grasps architecture in terms of space versus mass Bauhaus buildings are usually cubic. The Bauhaus school in Dessau was closed on April 11th. gray city of concrete.
operated almost as self-contained units. Mies van der Rohe. The International Style was a decidedly different type of architecture that did not rely on the architecture of the past. she won second prize (no first prize was given).´ Tel Aviv has the largest number of cooperative workers¶ apartments in the country. Between the First and Second World Wars. who contributed to the local abundance of Bauhaus architecture. The aim was to provide residents with as much equality in living quarters. Vassily Kandinsky. at 25. While this style of architecture can also be found in Haifa and Jerusalem as well as in many kibbutzim. This meant that walls no longer had to support the structure. and Oscar Schlemmer. worked locally as architects. Dr. (no relation to the current prime minister) was known for his cooperative workers¶ dwellings in Tel Aviv. Residents had a variety of services right in the . These blocks of apartments. modern style. Bauhaus architecture gained a foothold. Paul Klee. but aimed to establish a new. which functioned from 1919 to 1933 (first in Weimar and later in Dessau). The school had 700 students and was known for requiring its students to forget everything they had learned to date. were greatly influenced by the machine age. Chaim Weizmann. at a time when socialist ideas were so prevalent. in the competition to design Dizengoff Circle. Gropius engaged some of the best artists of the day. Hannes Meyer and Le Corbusier to name a few. The city had many µwhite¶ buildings. work on many of the country¶s hospitals and his early beginnings in kibbutz Gan Shmuel. Influential Bauhaus architects were Walter Gropius. This style of architecture came about (in part) because of new engineering developments that allowed the walls to be built around steel or iron frames. Zeev Rechter. Averbuch is best known because in 1934. it is most prevalent in Tel Aviv. Bauhaus in Tel Aviv Tel Aviv has the largest collection of buildings built in the International Style. Pinchas Hueth. in memory of Zina Dizengoff. anywhere in the world. Genia Averbuch Richard Kauffmann and Erich Mendelsohn are just some of the architects. there was a great building momentum in Tel Aviv. Dov Carmi. to teach at the school. Nevertheless. In Tel Aviv. Meir Dizengoff¶s wife. Sharon. The school's aim was to fuse all the arts under the concept of design. because of the growing waves of immigration from Europe. Josef Neufeld. Bauhaus architecture flourished in Tel Aviv (as elsewhere in the country) in the 1930¶s due in great part to the fact that 17 former Bauhaus students. but only enveloped it ± from the outside. The teachings at the Bauhaus school of design.Bauhaus architecture was concerned with the social aspects of design and with the creation of a new form of social housing for workers. While Mendelsohn designed the private residence of the country¶s first president. Lyonel Feininger. to name a few. as there was no real entrenched architectural style. which came to be associated with the International Style (even though white exteriors are not really one its characteristics). that is the source of the city¶s nickname of ³The White City. Buildings that now show their age were once painted white (or beige). This may be just another one of the reasons it was embraced in the newly evolving city of Tel Aviv. Arieh Sharon.
Reinforced Concrete . Dov Hoz and Frug streets. are the flat roofs. including kindergarten. The roofs served all of a buidlings¶ residents. as opposed to the typical shingled and slanted roofs. On some buildings. The horizontal µstrip window¶ was a signature characteristic of Le Corbusier. laundry etc. and the corner of Ma¶zeh Street. glass was used sparingly and long. This type of building became quite common. post office. An example of such a cooperative unit can be seen at the corner of Frishman. Having a µconnection to the land¶ was viewed as extremely important. One of the key elements of the International Style in Europe was a large window. Stilt Columns (Pilotis) Another element used by Le Corbusier was stilt-type columns (pilotis). This was an adaptation of the long narrow windows. narrow. one can only imagine how beautiful and modern the city must have looked in the 1930¶s. horizontal windows are visible on many of the Bauhaus buildings in Tel Aviv.buildings. However. was Beit Engel. which raised the buildings off street level thereby creating room for a green garden area while providing greater airflow. Locally. There are over 1500 International Style buildings in Tel Aviv. in Tel Aviv and the surrounding cities. It was built in 1933. so that residents could grow their own vegetables. Rechter fought for two years to get approval to build on these stilt columns. Looking at some of the buildings already restored. you can also see long narrow balconies. This block of buildings also served as headquarters of the Haganah. in a hot climate ± large windows that let great amounts of light shine into the rooms ± do not make sense. they were a place where social events were held and where the laundry room was often located as well. Additionally. although by the 1940¶s fewer buildings were being built in this manner in Tel Aviv. a plot of land was set aside. which in many cases have now been enclosed. (as envisioned by Le Corbusier). prevalent in the European buidlings. A number of local architects worked in Le Corbusier¶s office in Paris and were greatly influenced by his style. by Zeev Rechter. If you go to see the Engel building today you will notice that the µopen¶ area created by the stilt columns has been enclosed. The first building built in this manner in Tel Aviv. convenience store. primarily because of the climate. While roofs in most cases did not feature gardens. slated for preservation/restoration. and is located at 84 Rothschild Boulevard. Flat Roofs Another of the local features of the Bauhaus buildings. Rothschild Boulevard is an excellent area to see a great variety of Bauhaus buildings (although quite a few are in dire need of restoration). Some Local Bauhaus Adaptations Smaller Windows Some of the key elements of Bauhaus architecture had to be adapted to the local environment.
. who worked locally. There was a strong tendency toward modernization. over the years a kind of reactionary µanti-Bauhaus¶ sentiment. developed. built mostly. Reinforced concrete was first used (in Tel Aviv) in 1912. because it was easy to work with and did not require skilled workers. There was also a need to build cheaply and quickly because of the growing metropolis. Architects. less than desirable for the building¶s owners. in the International Style. In fact.The local building technology of the time was not advanced. Later it became widely used. Saving and restoring many of the city¶s wonderful old buildings is fraught with legal and economic constraints that often make conservation. One can only hope that the coming years will bring solutions that will enable the preservation of more of Tel Aviv¶s Bauhaus architecture. Bauhaus architecture became common in Tel Aviv of the 1930¶s for a variety of reasons. had strong ties to the European architectural developments of the day. Tel Aviv is the only city in the world.
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