Signs of the Times
Like Thoreau, Gropius had a benefactor. Mrs. James J. Storrow offered him the site and the capital and was so pleased with the result that she allocated house sites to four other professors as well, two of which Gropius helped design.
A fifteen minute walk from Walden Pond, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer began planning for the house in the fall of 1937 and construction began in March 1938 at a cost of $18,000.00.
"In designing the house, Gropius used the approach developed at the Bauhaus. The functional requirements of his family and his home office, the desire to feature the Bauhaus furniture he had brought with him from Germany, the callenges of an unfamiliar climate, the opportunities of the site, and the limitations of his budget were treated as givens in a complex problem." (Nancy Curtis cited in Reginald Isaacs, Gropius, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991, pp. 235).
Like Thoreau, Gropius was also partial to small groups. The table in his dining room was circular and held only six chairs. More guests would be too many. The table was illuminated by a light from above which came only to the table's perimeter. Guests faces were illuminated only by the reflected light.
"In 1939 Lewis Mumford wrote in the (Gropius House) guest book, 'Hail to the most indigenous, the most regional example of the New England home, the New England of a New World.' To philosopher Alfred North Whitehead the house was bewildering..." (Reginald Isaacs, Gropius, Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991, pp. 236).
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