Harvard Celebrates Bauhaus Centennial With Performances and Landmark Exhibition

Mark Lee, principal and founding partner of the Los Angeles–based architecture firm Johnston Marklee, is completing his first year as chair of the department of architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). Final exams loom, and to reach his office, one has to scramble up steep stairs past students’ desks—”trays” in GSD speak—at Gund Hall, a five-story open-plan beehive where bodies hunch over cutting mats and rulers with equally palpable panic and pleasure. A word play on Bauhaus, the building’s café, Chauhaus, pumps out cappuccinos below, and the aroma wafts upward.

It’s impossible to spend time on Harvard’s campus without sensing the living impact of the Bauhaus legacy, particularly with the rich offering of public programming related to the Weimar school’s centennial. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius found refuge from Nazi Germany with a chair position at GSD in 1937, and the university soon became an important center for the Bauhaus in exile, as Gropius passed down its educational principles to the next generation of influential architects including I.M. Pei and Philip Johnson. He even conceived his own living quarters, Gropius House, in nearby Lincoln, Massachusetts, as a living Bauhaus laboratory for students to experience. Read More…

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