Walter Gropius, photograph by Erich Hartmann.
(born May 18, 1883, Berlin, Ger.—died July 5, 1969, Boston, Mass., U.S.) German-U.S. architect and educator. The son of an architect, he studied in Munich and Berlin and in 1907 joined the office of Peter Behrens
. In 1919 he became director of the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar. He designed a new school building and housing for the Bauhaus
when it moved to Dessau (1925); with its dynamic International Style
composition, asymmetrical plan, smooth white walls set with horizontal windows, and flat roof, the building became a monument of the Modernist movement. In 1934 Gropius fled Germany for Britain, and in 1937 he arrived in the U.S, taking a position at Harvard University. At the Bauhaus and as chair (1938–52) of Harvard's architecture department, he established a new prototype of design education, which ended the 200-year supremacy of the French École des Beaux-Arts. Among his most important ideas was his belief that all design—whether of a chair, a building, or a city—should be approached in essentially the same way: through a systematic study of the particular needs and problems involved, taking into account modern construction materials and techniques without reference to previous forms or styles.
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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.