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Walter
Gropius

Germany 
1883−1969
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Walter Adolf Georg Gropius (German: Walter Adolph Georg Gropius, May 18, 1883, Berlin - July 5, 1969, Boston) - architect, teacher, first director and ideologist of the Bauhaus Higher School of Construction and Art Design.

Features of the work of Walter Gropius: It was in the manifesto of the Bauhaus school that Gropius composed that the idea of combining crafts, art and new technologies was voiced. The building, from the point of view of Gropius, must be functional and correspond, first of all, to its purpose. It was he who first made flat roofs, asphalted them so that it was possible to walk on them, he came up with geometric private houses with fully glazed walls and a design that is designed to facilitate, simplify the life of a person who is in the house daily. By and large, Gropius is the founding father of all modern architecture. His ideas and vision have not lost relevance until now.

Famous works of the architect Walter Gropius: Bauhaus Building, Rosenthal Porcelain Factory, Glass Cathedral (Rosenthal Glass Factory), Groppius House.

Walter Gropius was an architect who could not draw. He lived for 86 years, designed dozens of buildings, received the unspoken title of the founder of modern modern architecture, was repeatedly accused of popularizing faceless concrete high-rises and destroying the historical color of European cities. Someone called him a narcissistic egoist without a sense of humor, someone - an incredibly charismatic leader, for whom the clash of interests and characters within the team was the main art that gave rise to truth.

Some recalled his obsession with discipline and rules, while others spoke of inner freedom and readiness for change. Gropius believed that women were not able to think in three dimensions, but became the first director in Germany to accept more college students than students to a higher art school. He built huge factories for industrial magnates, but insisted that the main thing in the building was sunlight and air, which would make every employee happy.

Be that as it may, he went down in history as an ideologist, a powerful leader and founder of the most progressive design school in Europe - the Bauhaus. The school, which Gropius led only 9 years, but which forever changed the view on the living space of modern man. An employee of the American architectural bureau Gropius once said: “They prefer to think of him as one of the greatest designers in the world, but he was not. He was the greatest design philosopher in the world. ”.

Soldier philosophy
When Gropius was drafted into the army with the outbreak of World War I, he was 30 years old. He managed to work in the famous architectural bureau of Peter Behrens on important industrial orders, managed to leave this position and open his own studio in Berlin. By this time he had designed the facade of the Fagus shoe factory, covering the walls from the roof to the foundation with glass - a rarity for that time. He wrote a resonant article “Development of industrial buildings” - he became famous. He had a passionate and strange affair with the widow of composer Gustav Mahler Almoy, which he will soon marry - between wounds and returns to the front. But it is in one of the battles on the western front that Gropius will suddenly understand (this feeling will illuminate him "Like a flash of lightning"), that all old ended, that the world will no longer be, as before. He knew that the war would end - and there would be an urgent need to build a new world. And such an opportunity will be presented to him immediately, as soon as the news of the long-awaited peace flashes over the scorched earth of Europe.

In 1919, Gropius was invited to head the Weimar School of Arts and Crafts, which had been closed and abandoned throughout the war years. It was necessary to start from scratch - and this turned out to be a great opportunity. Gropius renamed the institution into the Higher School of Construction and Art Design Bauhaus, wrote a manifesto and started looking for teachers. In the cluttered, unheated rooms of the Bauhaus, the most revolutionary artists, sculptors, architects of Germany began to work with hungry, barefoot students. When the school moves from Weimar to Dessau, Gropius will already have the opportunity to design a special building of the Bauhaus and houses for the craftsmen to live, it will be supported by the city elite, government and industrialists.

In 1928, Gropius will leave his post as director and engage in private practice, but his ideas will be continued in the work of every student who leaves the Bauhaus workshops: the purpose of the building dictates its shape, functionality and the laws of art are the basis for the design of any household item. The roofs of the buildings are flat - and they now have terraces. Glass, concrete, steel become building materials, along with wood and stone. Freedom of creativity is the main value.

The wonderful modernist tale of the transformation of the world according to the laws of art, which Gropius began to tell, was interrupted in 1933 by the new German authorities. He tried to participate in state orders for the construction of buildings in the new National Socialist Germany, but failed everywhere, his friends and colleagues, his whole circle, became "Degenerate artists" and persecuted by the Jews. The time has come for a new philosophy.

Alien philosophy
Gropius and Alma Mahler had a daughter who, after a swift, exhausting marriage and divorce, remained with her mother. But he left Germany with another woman: Isa was 14 years younger, in 1923 she heard Gropius at one of the lectures, married him and became so infatuated with the ideas of the Bauhaus that she received the nickname Frau Bauhaus among students. When Isa's sister died, they, together with Walter, adopted her little daughter - therefore, in 1933 the three of them fled the country. Via Italy to London.

After three uncomfortable years in the UK, which they never liked (drafts, unsalted vegetables, bony women, obscure measurement systems), the Gropiuses leave for America. And the first thing that Lincoln does, is the head of the Department of Architecture at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Walter Gropius, building a house. For yourself and your family. But he is building it so that he, a stranger, once again starting his life from scratch, is noticed and understood in this country. Gropius House became an exhibit, a demonstration of ideas and opportunities - he is building a white villa, as if assembled from cubic elements, with a glazed facade, a separate entrance for his daughter, with a flat roof and a terrace. Very soon, most of the houses in America will begin to be built in this way, very soon the Bauhaus ideas will spread throughout the country and will have a tremendous impact on its entire architectural appearance, on the urban spirit of America.

Gropius will still be able to return to Germany to work on important industrial orders, but only as a guest. Since 1944, he will become a citizen of America - and over the last 20 years of his life he will gather the most advanced architects around him, open the most influential architectural studio in Boston and defend the ideas of humane industrial construction, which provides every worker in a huge factory with enough light, air, comfort, space for relaxation.

Author: Anna Sidelnikova
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