Walter Gropius (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Considered one of the founders of modern architecture, Gropius worked to make architecture and art responsive to the needs of an urbanized and industrialized society. His major projects were in urban and industrial architecture and in industrial design. He designed educational programs in both modern architecture and industrial design.
Walter Adolph Gropius was born into a family with an architectural and artistic tradition. His father was an architect involved in city planning. His great uncle was an architect of distinction, a student and colleague of the classical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. The young Gropius always knew he wanted to be an architect. Gropius was deeply influenced by two developments he witnessed firsthand: the rapid expansion of Berlin from a city of 800,000 in 1871 to one of nearly three million in 1914 and the emergence of Germany as Europe’s greatest industrial power. Everywhere, Gropius saw the problems created by rapid urbanization and industrialization: dark, inefficient factories; squalid, unsanitary housing; household and industrial products shoddy in construction and ugly in design. The problem, as Gropius saw it, was that architecture and the architect had become divorced from engineering, science, and technology; art and the artist had become separated from design and craftsmanship. For Gropius, they were inseparable and should be reunited.
(The entire section is 2007 words.)
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