Walter Gropius - Architects, Birthday and Childhood

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Walter Gropius's Personal Details

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a renowned German-American architect

InformationDetail
BirthdayMay 18, 1883
Died onJuly 5, 1969
NationalityGerman, American
FamousArchitects
SpousesAlma Mahler Gropius Werfel, Ise Frank
Known asWalter Adolph Georg Gropius
Childrens Manon Gropius
Founder / Co-Founder
  • Bauhaus
  • The Architects' Collaborative
  • IIT Institute of Design
  • Harvard Graduate School of Design
Birth PlaceBerlin, German Empire
Born CountryGermany
GenderMale
FatherWalter Adolph Gropius
MotherManon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber
Sun SignTaurus
Born inBerlin, German Empire
Famous asArchitect
Died at Age86

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Walter Gropius's photo

Who is Walter Gropius?

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was a renowned German-American architect. He is counted among the pioneers of modern architecture along with the likes of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer. He established the ‘Bauhaus’ design school in Weimar following which he came under prominence. The school that became famous for its approach to design was also noted for its unconventional leading-edge art and architecture. He remained director of Bauhaus in Germany for around a decade. The ‘International Exhibition of Modern Architecture’ featured his works in 1932 and enlisted him along with the likes of Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, J.J.P Oud, and Erich Mendelsohn who were considered advocates of ‘International Style of modern architecture’. As his modernist counterparts, he also focussed in creating ‘modern’ buildings for ‘modern man’. The main objective was to develop functional buildings devoid of any unnecessary antiquated ornamentation with patterns and designs of the Gothic, Romanesque, Neoclassical or Renaissance styles. Many of his geometric patterned buildings stood out for their cutting-edge creative designs implemented by him. He headed the ‘Graduate School of Design’ at the ‘Harvard University’. His notable works collaborated with other architects include ‘Harvard Graduate Center’, Cambridge; ‘John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building’, Boston; ‘Gropius House’, Massachusetts and ‘Pan Am Building’, New York.

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Childhood & Early Life

He was born on May 18, 1883, in Berlin to Walter Adolph Gropius and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber as their third child. His father and uncle, Martin Gropius were architects.

He studied architecture in technical colleges, first in Munich from 1903 to 1904 and then in Berlin from 1905 to 1907, though he did not receive any degree. After he completed architecture studies, he travelled for a year and visited England, Spain and Italy.

Thereafter, he joined architectural office of Peter Behrens, a co-founder of the German association ‘Deutscher Werkbund’ and an early member of modernist school of architecture. Other employees of the office included Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Dietrich Marcks.

He established his own partnership firm with Adolf Meyer in 1910. The two most successful delegations executed by the firm were ‘Fagus Werk’, a factory in the town of Alfeld, Germany from 1911 to 1913 and office and factory buildings in Cologne made for the ‘German Labour League Exhibition’ in 1914. While design of the former was highly inspired by ‘AEG Tribune’ factory designed by Peter Behrens, the latter is considered to be influenced by design of Frank Lloyd Wright, an American architect.

He joined ‘German Labour League’ (Deutscher Werkbund) in 1911 as a member.

In 1913, he was delegated to design a car for ‘Prussian Railroad Locomotive Works’, an incomparable locomotive designed for the first time not only in Germany but probably in entire Europe.

His article ‘The Development of Industrial Buildings’, published in 1913 including pictures of factories and grain elevators in North America highly influenced other modernists of Europe like Erich Mendelsohn and Le Corbusier.

His architectural career was interrupted for few years due to outbreak of ‘First World war’ in 1914 that saw him serve the army as sergeant and later as lieutenant. He fought on the Western Front for four years, got wounded and escaped death. His war contributions were acknowledged with the ‘Iron Cross’ award conferred upon him twice.

Career

Post war, Gropius became master of ‘Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts’ in Weimar in 1919 upon recommendation of Henry van de Velde, who had to step down from the post because of his Belgian nationality.

He gradually transformed the school into the world renowned ‘Bauhaus’ that drew distinguished and extraordinary teachers like Josef Albers, Otto Bartning, Paul Klee and László Moholy-Nagy among others.

The program of the ‘Bauhaus’ was experimental with prominence given to theoretical aspects. It strived to enhance quality as well as beauty of each building through use of industrially developed designed items.

‘Bauhaus’ had links with several European modernist design movements like ‘Neo-Plasticism’ by Piet Mondrian, ‘Constructivism’ by El Lissitzky and ‘De Stijl’ and ‘Elementarism’ by Van Doesburg.

He designed door handles in 1923 which eventually became famous and at present is considered as a significant and breakthrough design that represent applied art. It became one of the models among designs of twentieth century.

When the ‘Bauhaus’ shifted to Dessau, Gropius designed and developed its school building as also the faculty housing from 1925 to 1932.

During 1926 to 1932, he had designed many extensive housing projects in Dessau, Karlsruhe and Berlin.

During 1929 to 1930 he was involved in designing a part of the Siemensstadt project in Berlin.

The upsurge of the Nazis in 1930s and rule of Hitler saw forced closure of ‘Bauhaus’ in 1933. The following year Gropius tactfully fled from Germany on the pretext of visiting Italy for a film festival. Later Gropius relocated to Britain and from that time till early 1937 he remained associated with the ‘Isokon’ design group.

In February 1937 he moved to the US and with the help of his benefactor, Helen Storrow, who provided him a part of her land in Lincoln, Massachusetts and funds, he expeditiously constructed his home. The remarkable design of the house, which also included few features of New England architectures, soon became famous, marking the beginning of an era of International Modernism in the US.

He was inducted in ‘Harvard University’ as the Chairman of the ‘Department of Architecture’ in 1938 and held the post till retirement in 1952. His protégé Marcel Breuer, with whom he collaborated projects like ‘Aluminum City Terrace’ (1942 –44) in New Kensington, Pennsylvania and ‘The Alan I W Frank House’ (1939-40) in Pittsburgh, was also inducted in the faculty.

He became an US citizen in 1944.

In 1945 he established the ‘The Architects' Collaborative’ (TAC), a Cambridge based association of young architects that included six of his ex-pupils from Harvard. Among the co-founders were Robert S. MacMillan, John C. Harkness, Benjamin C. Thompson, Norman C. Fletcher and Louis A. MacMillen.

Few remarkable designs by Gropius and ‘TAC’ are ‘Harvard Graduate Center’ (1949-50), Cambridge; ‘Pan Am Building’ (1958-63), New York, designed along with Pietro Belluschi; ‘Embassy of the United States’ (1959-61), Athens, Greece and ‘John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building’ (1963-66), Boston.

He was elected as Associate Member in the ‘National Academy of Design’ in 1967 and the following year he was inducted as an academician.

Personal Life & Legacy

He married Alma Mahler, widow of Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler in 1915 whom he met in 1910 when Mahler was alive.

In 1916 their daughter Manon was born, who died young in 1935 after suffering from polio.

The couple divorced in 1920, as Alma got romantically involved with Austrian poet, novelist and playwright Franz Werfer.

Gropius married for the second time on October 16, 1923, to Ilse Frank. The Couple adopted a girl, Beate Gropius.

On July 5, 1969, he died in Boston, Massachusetts.

Trivia

He received the Gold Medal from the ‘American Institute of Architects’ in 1959.

In 1988 the ‘Gropius House’ was enlisted in the ‘National Register of Historic Places’ and is presently open for public viewing.

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Walter Gropius awards

YearNameAward

Other

AIA Gold Medal (1959)
Albert Medal (1961)
Goethe Prize (1961)

Walter Gropius biography timelines

  • // 18th May 1883
    He was born on May 18, 1883, in Berlin to Walter Adolph Gropius and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber as their third child. His father and uncle, Martin Gropius were architects.
  • // 1910 To 1915
    He married Alma Mahler, widow of Austrian composer and conductor Gustav Mahler in 1915 whom he met in 1910 when Mahler was alive.
  • // 1911
    He joined ‘German Labour League’ (Deutscher Werkbund) in 1911 as a member.
  • // 1913
    In 1913, he was delegated to design a car for ‘Prussian Railroad Locomotive Works’, an incomparable locomotive designed for the first time not only in Germany but probably in entire Europe.
  • // 1913
    His article ‘The Development of Industrial Buildings’, published in 1913 including pictures of factories and grain elevators in North America highly influenced other modernists of Europe like Erich Mendelsohn and Le Corbusier.
  • // 1914
    His architectural career was interrupted for few years due to outbreak of ‘First World war’ in 1914 that saw him serve the army as sergeant and later as lieutenant. He fought on the Western Front for four years, got wounded and escaped death. His war contributions were acknowledged with the ‘Iron Cross’ award conferred upon him twice.
  • // 1916 To 1935
    In 1916 their daughter Manon was born, who died young in 1935 after suffering from polio.
  • // 1919
    Post war, Gropius became master of ‘Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts’ in Weimar in 1919 upon recommendation of Henry van de Velde, who had to step down from the post because of his Belgian nationality.
  • // 1920
    The couple divorced in 1920, as Alma got romantically involved with Austrian poet, novelist and playwright Franz Werfer.
  • // 1923
    He designed door handles in 1923 which eventually became famous and at present is considered as a significant and breakthrough design that represent applied art. It became one of the models among designs of twentieth century.
  • // 16th Oct 1923
    Gropius married for the second time on October 16, 1923, to Ilse Frank. The Couple adopted a girl, Beate Gropius.
  • // 1925 To 1932
    When the ‘Bauhaus’ shifted to Dessau, Gropius designed and developed its school building as also the faculty housing from 1925 to 1932.
  • // 1926 To 1932
    During 1926 to 1932, he had designed many extensive housing projects in Dessau, Karlsruhe and Berlin.
  • // 1929 To 1930
    During 1929 to 1930 he was involved in designing a part of the Siemensstadt project in Berlin.
  • // 1933 To 1937
    The upsurge of the Nazis in 1930s and rule of Hitler saw forced closure of ‘Bauhaus’ in 1933. The following year Gropius tactfully fled from Germany on the pretext of visiting Italy for a film festival. Later Gropius relocated to Britain and from that time till early 1937 he remained associated with the ‘Isokon’ design group.
  • // Feb 1937
    In February 1937 he moved to the US and with the help of his benefactor, Helen Storrow, who provided him a part of her land in Lincoln, Massachusetts and funds, he expeditiously constructed his home. The remarkable design of the house, which also included few features of New England architectures, soon became famous, marking the beginning of an era of International Modernism in the US.
  • // 1944
    He became an US citizen in 1944.
  • // 1945
    In 1945 he established the ‘The Architects' Collaborative’ (TAC), a Cambridge based association of young architects that included six of his ex-pupils from Harvard. Among the co-founders were Robert S. MacMillan, John C. Harkness, Benjamin C. Thompson, Norman C. Fletcher and Louis A. MacMillen.
  • // 1959
    He received the Gold Medal from the ‘American Institute of Architects’ in 1959.
  • // 1967
    He was elected as Associate Member in the ‘National Academy of Design’ in 1967 and the following year he was inducted as an academician.
  • // 5th Jul 1969
    On July 5, 1969, he died in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • // 1988
    In 1988 the ‘Gropius House’ was enlisted in the ‘National Register of Historic Places’ and is presently open for public viewing.

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Walter Gropius's FAQ

  • What is Walter Gropius birthday?

    Walter Gropius was born at 1883-05-18

  • When was Walter Gropius died?

    Walter Gropius was died at 1969-07-05

  • Where was Walter Gropius died?

    Walter Gropius was died in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

  • Which age was Walter Gropius died?

    Walter Gropius was died at age 86

  • Where is Walter Gropius's birth place?

    Walter Gropius was born in Berlin, German Empire

  • What is Walter Gropius nationalities?

    Walter Gropius's nationalities is German,American

  • Who is Walter Gropius spouses?

    Walter Gropius's spouses is Alma Mahler Gropius Werfel, Ise Frank

  • Who is Walter Gropius childrens?

    Walter Gropius's childrens is Manon Gropius

  • Which company or organization was founded by Walter Gropius?

    Walter Gropius was the founder/co-founder of Bauhaus, The Architects' Collaborative, IIT Institute of Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design

  • Who is Walter Gropius's father?

    Walter Gropius's father is Walter Adolph Gropius

  • Who is Walter Gropius's mother?

    Walter Gropius's mother is Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber

  • What is Walter Gropius's sun sign?

    Walter Gropius is Taurus

  • How famous is Walter Gropius?

    Walter Gropius is famouse as Architect