Contemporary Architecture

Walter Adolph Gropius – The Harvard Graduate Center and Bauhaus Archive Museum


  • Born in Berlin on May 18, 1883 as the third son of building advisor to the government with the same name, and Manon Auguste Pauline.
  • Studied in the Colleges of Technology at Berlin and Munich till 1907.
  • Later, worked under the German architect Peter Behrens from 1907 – 10.
  • Formed a partnership with Adolf Meyer in 1910.
  • Established the world-famous Bauhaus School of Architecture in 1919 in Weimar, Germany.
  • Served as the director of the Bauhaus from 1919 – 28.
  • He later moved to America and founded The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC) in 1945 in Cambridge.

The Bauhaus School:

  • Literally means “house for building”.
  • Founded at Weimar by Walter Gropius in 1919.
  • Moved to Dessau in 1924 due to economic considerations.
  • Forced to move to Berlin in September 1932 by the Nazis.
  • During its brief span of existence (1919-1933), the Bauhaus School of Design had 3 directors, Gropius (1919-1928), Hannes Meyer (1928-1930) and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1930-33).
  • During the directorship of Walter Gropius, the work was mainly in his office, while the building department, headed by Hannes Meyer, enabled an independent training in architecture based on the requirements of the users.
  • The buildings of Gropius and Meyer were, in many ways, ‘Bauhaus buildings’. He regularly let students work on the commissions in his office and always tried to sell products and services from the Bauhaus workshops to his clients.

Bauhaus Archive Museum:

  • Located at Berlin, Germany
  • Built between 1976 – 79
  • The distinctive silhouette of the building has become a characteristic city sight of Berlin.

The Harvard Graduate Center, 1950:


  • It was designed by The Architects’ Collaborative.
  • The group of eight buildings arranged round small and large courtyards has a good community feel about it and is humanly scaled.
  • The dormitory blocks are constructed in reinforced concrete with exterior walls of buff-colored brick or limestone and the community buildings are in steelwork.
  • The planning of the dormitories is of the conventional central-corridor type with single and double rooms off either side.
  • Block-mass buildings connected by flat-roof canopies.
  • Entrance hall of Harkness commons with reinforced concrete ramp leading to the dining rooms.
  • Mixing single and double rooms.

Works – other than architecture:

  • Tubular steel chair, 1925.
  • Wooden chair, 1922.
  • Four differently shaped teapots, 1923
  • Tea and coffee pots, 1968
  • Nickel alloy door handles, Berlin, 1922.

“A good design considers not only the building but also the larger context, the community, and the environment ”

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