Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (May 18, 1883 – July 5, 1969) was a German architect and founder of the Bauhaus School who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.
Walter Gropius, like his father and his great-uncle Martin Gropius before him, became an architect. Gropius could not draw, and was dependent on collaborators and partner-interpreters throughout 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, Le Corbusier, 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 in Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Germany, a shoe last factory. Although Gropius and Meyer only designed the facade, the glass curtain walls of this building demonstrated both the modernist principle that form reflects 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.
In 1913, Gropius published an article about “The Development of Industrial Buildings,” which included about a dozen photographs of factories and grain elevators in North America. A very influential text, this article had a strong influence on other European modernists, including Le Corbusier and Erich Mendelsohn, both of whom reprinted Gropius’s grain elevator pictures between 1920 and 1930.
Gropius’s career was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I in 1914. Called up immediately as a reservist, Gropius served as a sergeant major at the Western front during the war years, and was wounded and almost killed.
Gropius House (1938) in Lincoln, Massachusetts1910–1911 the Fagus Factory, Alfeld an der Leine, Germany
1914 Office and Factory Buildings at the Werkbund Exhibition, 1914, Cologne, Germany
1921 Sommerfeld House, Berlin, Germany designed for Adolf Sommerfeld
1922 competition entry for the Chicago Tribune Tower competition
1925–1932 Bauhaus School and Faculty, Housin, Dessau, Germany
1936 Village College, Impington, Cambridge, England
1937 The Gropius House, Lincoln, Massachusetts, USA
1942–1944 Aluminum City Terrace housing project, New Kensington, Pennsylvania, USA
1949–1950 Harvard Graduate Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (The Architects’ Collaborative)
1945–1959 Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago, Illinois, USA – Master planned 37-acre site and led the design for at least 8 of the approx. 28 buildings.
1957–1960 University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq
1963–1966 John F. Kennedy Federal Office Building, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
1948 Peter Thacher Junior High School,
1958–1963 Pan Am Building (now the Metlife Building), New York, with Pietro Belluschi and project architects Emery Roth & Sons
1957 Interbau Apartment blocks, Hansaviertel, Berlin, Germany, with The Architects’ Collaborative and Wils Ebert
1960 Temple Oheb Shalom (Baltimore, Maryland)
1961 The award-winning Wayland High School, Wayland, Massachusetts, USA
1959–1961 Embassy of the United States, Athens, Greece (The Architects’ Collaborative and consulting architect Pericles A. Sakellarios)
1967– 69 Tower East Shaker Heights, Ohio, this was Gropius’ last major project.
The building in Niederkirchnerstraße, Berlin, known as the Gropius-Haus is named for Gropius’ great-uncle, Martin Gropius, and is not associated with Bauhaus