The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Walter Gropius

Walter Adolph Gropius (May 18, 1883July 5, 1969) was a German architect and founder of Bauhaus.

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 (18551933) whose family owned a manor near Berlin.

Gropius was an architect, like his father before him, and designed buildings which used modern materials and are often compared to abstract paintings. He founded the Bauhaus, a school of design where students were taught to use modern and innovative materials to create original furniture and buildings.

Gropius married Alma Schindler after the death of her husband Gustav Mahler, and they had a daughter, Manon (19161935). When she died of polio at age seventeen, composer Alban Berg wrote his Violin Concerto in her memory. Gropius' marriage to Alma did not last and Alma later married again, to Franz Werfel.

Gropius left Germany in 1934 due to the rising power of the Nazi Party and lived and worked in Britain and then America.

In 1945, Gropius founded The Architects' Collaborative (TAC)in Cambridge, Massachusetts 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. After this establishment, TAC would become one of the most well known and respected architectual firms in the world. Some of TAC's most important works include the Harvard Graduate Center (1949-1950), the University of Baghdad (1957-1960), the John F. Kennedy Federal Building (1963-1966), the Attleboro Junior High School (1948), the Pan-Am (now Metlife) building (1958-1963), the Interbau Apartment blocks (1957), and the architectual award-winning Wayland High School (1961). TAC has remained a notable landmark in architectual history.

Gropius died in 1969 in Boston, Massachusetts at age 86. He was known to have a snappy sense of style and was often seen wearing a bowtie.

Important buildings

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

Last updated: 05-07-2005 17:28:33
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04