Male, born 1883-05-18, died 1969-07-05

Associated with the firms network

Architects Collaborative (TAC); General Panel System Corporation, Burbank

Professional History

Draftsman, Peter Behrens, Architect, Berlin, Germany, 1907-1910; Principal, Walter Gropius, Architect, Berlin, Germany, 1929-1930; Vice-President, General Panel Corporation, Los Angeles, CA, 1942-1952; Partner, The Architects' Collaborative (TAC), Boston, MA, 1945-1965; Gropius began this firm with Benjamin C. Thompson (1918-2002), John Cheesman Harkness (b. 1916), Sarah Pillsbury Harkness (1914-2013), Norman Collings Fletcher (1917-2007), Jean Bodman Fletcher (1915-1965), Robert Sensman McMillan (1916-2001), and Louis Albert McMillen (1916-1998). Early on, the firm was composed primarily of graduates from Harvard University, Yale University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. TAC pioneered a new working method emphasizing input from all architects and thorough debate of each project. The Cambridge Historical Society said of the TAC method: "The innovation that the TAC embraced and expounded was the idea of collaboration over individualism in design to produce the best product. The structure of the TAC was a partner-in-charge as the leader of individual projects, but the entire group would to discuss all of the projects they were working on. As the firm grew, it became inefficient for all of the architects to meet together, but smaller teams of architects preserved the collaborative nature of the original approach." (See "Innovation in Cambridge: Architects Collaborative 42 Brattle Street,"Accessed 05/19/2014.) TAC continued to operate well after the mid 1960s, when three founding partners left the organization: McMillan left in 1963, Gropius's retired in 1965 and Thompson departed a year later; it but began to falter financially in the 1980s, operating until its bankruptcy and dissolution in 1995.

Professor, Department of Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1937-1938; Chairman, Department of Architecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1938-1952; Gropius was succeeded by Catalonian architect Josep Lluis Sert () who served as Chair from 1953-1969;

Member, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 1938-1969; Member, Visiting Committee, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Fellow, American Institute of Architects (FAIA), 1954; Recipient, Gold Medal, American Institute of Architects (AIA), 1959; Inductee, Associate Member, National Academy of Design, 1967; Full Member, National Academy of Design, 1968.

A small collection of letters and other items was obtained by the Getty Research Institute (GRI), Research Library, Los Angeles, CA: "Walter Gropius Letters and Manuscript Writings, 1918-1963," Accession no. 850311. This small collection included letters to Richard Meyer (1918), Georg Tappert (1919), and Will Grohmann (1926); a typescript (c. 1927) discussing housing types for the Weißenhofsiedlung exhibition in Stuttgart of 1927; and a portrait photo of Walter Gropius by Xanti Schawinsky (1943). The GRI also accessioned the Walter Gropius Photographs of Architecture Collection, Accession no. 900058; this was small collection of 24 prints. Letters to and from Gropius were also held in 9 other manuscript collections at the GRI.


Director, Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts, the Grand Ducal Saxon Academy of Arts, and the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts, (all three of which were combined to form the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar), Weimar, Germany, 04/1919-1925; Director, Bauhaus Dessau, Dessau, Germany, 1925-1928.

His parents were Walter Adolph Gropius and Manon Auguste Pauline Scharnweber (1855-1933).

Gropius married Alma Mahler (1879–1964), widow of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler (1860-1911); he divorced her in 1920. He married Wiesbaden-born Ise Frank (1897-1983) in 1923. (See "Ise Frank Gropius, Archivist Of Bauhaus Founder's Work,"Accessed 05/19/2014.)

Gropius and Alma Mahler had one daughter, Manon (1916-1934), named for Walter's mother. He and Ise had one daughter, Ati Forberg Johansen, who resided in Brooklyn, NY, in 1983.

Gropius became a naturalized in the US in 1944.

Associated Locations

  • Berlin, Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region Germany (Architect's Birth)
    Berlin, Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region Germany

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  • Boston, MA (Architect's Death)
    Boston, MA

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PCAD id: 3382