Thursday, April 17, 2014

Walter Gropius in Chicago -- April 17, 1950

Walter Gropius
Speaking in the Crystal Room of the Blackstone Hotel the Director of the School of Architecture at Harvard University, Walter Gropius, addressed a large crowd on this date, April 17, of 1950.  According to the account of the address in The Chicago Tribune Mr. Gropius stated that “The recent wedding of art and industry in the United States has opened a doorway upon a new era.” [Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1950]

The occasion featured the formal announcement that the Institute of Design would be added as a degree-granting department within the engineering division of the Illinois Institute of Technology.  The Institute of Design was a direct descendant of the “New Bauhaus school” that was established in Chicago in 1937 by Mr. Gropius and László Naholy Nagy.  Both men, along with the Director of Architecture at I.I.T., Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, were instrumental figures in the German Bauhaus school. 

“When I came to this country in 1928, I remember that a highly honorable trade mark for products designated for cultural distinction was ‘Imported from Europe,’” said Mr. Gropius.  “Our industrial products will not only excel by good quality of their materials and manufacturing processed used, but also by the inherent beauty of their indigenous design.”

“The artist,” he continued, “is coming back into the fold of the community.  From his ivory tower he will move closer to the latest laboratory and to the factory; he will become a legitimate brother of the scientist, the engineer, and the business man.”

Do you suppose, somewhere along the line, Steve Jobs got hold of that address?

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