Bauhaus Meets New England

In 1934, Walter Gropius and his second wife Ise, fled Germany during the rise of Hitler, landing in London for a short time before moving to a home in Lincoln Massachusetts (a stone's throw from my family home). A German architect, Walter identified with the Bauhaus movement along with fellow designers Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier, becoming the founder of the Bauhaus School and one of the great pioneers of modern architecture.

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Bauhaus combines elements of fine art and design into functional pieces for home and everyday living, through various crafts like metalworking, cabinetmaking, weaving, pottery, typography and painting. With an emphasis on mass production, the school eventually took on the slogan "Art as Industry" and has produced some of the most iconic homes, furniture and everyday accessories that are still in use today.

Walter and Ise moved into a traditional Colonial-style New England home and quickly discovered that the layout and style didn't match their needs or furniture. As a professor of the Harvard School of Design, Walter had many connections and through a fellow architect, ended up receiving a plot of land and financing from philanthropist and supporter of the arts, Helen Storrow. The Gropius family (including a 12 year old daughter currently in boarding school) set about building a new home in the Bauhaus style, leaving us with what we know today as The Gropius House.

Oct 14, 2014 | I've just learned that Walter's adopted daughter Ati has recently died at the age of 88. Ati was an illustrator and design teacher, while also being an adviser to The Gropius House. This article by the Boston Globe reveals a lot about her unique character. I find a lot of similarities in her and admire the way she saw the world. 

 

“She loved nature and loved light. She was so sensitive to light. She would always say to me in August, ‘Don’t you see how different the light is?’ She saw all of that.” - Ati's Daughter

 

Image Credits: Bauhaus School / MR Armchair / Kubus Stacking Containers / Bauhuas Poster / Gropius House Photos