From Bauhaus to Our House

by Tom Wolfe

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 361

From Bauhaus to Our House by American journalist and cultural critic Tom Wolfe (March 2, 1930 – May 14, 2018) was originally published in 1981. It is a nonfiction work about the evolution of modernist architecture and particularly what is called the International Style. The people discussed in the book are historical figures rather than literary characters. Although hundreds of architects and their clients are mentioned in the book, some of the most important to the narrative are the leading figures of modernist architecture and the philosophers who informed their theories.

Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, and social thinker best known for his discussion of economic systems and advocacy of communism. His social theories, especially about the nature of labor and the exploitation of the proletariat, influenced the ideology of the Bauhaus movement, which was concerned with purifying architecture of bourgeois false ideology and creating a new aesthetic appropriate to the proletarian revolution.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (6 October 1887 – 27 August 1965), better known as known as Le Corbusier: This Swiss-French architect, designer, urban planner, and writer was one of the leading theorists and practitioners of Modernist Architecture and also a strong advocate of modern art and cubism. His designed many important buildings around the world and was notable for his use of the roof terrace and ribbon windows.

Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969): This German architect who moved to the United States to escape Nazi Germany was the founder of the Bauhaus school and a leading figure in the International Style. Not only did the Bauhaus school form an intellectual center of modernist architecture and artistic thinking, but it also innovated in its emphasis on simplicity of design, concern with industrial design, and the synthesis of large scale architecture with design of smaller elements such as furniture and door handles.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969): This German architect was another leading figure in modernist architecture who moved to the United States to escape Hitler's Germany. He succeeded Gropius as the director of the Bauhaus. He is best know for his large, rectangular glass-clad buildings such as the Seagram Building. He also was distinguished for collaborations in furniture design including the iconic Barcelona chair.

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