Marcel Breuer : architect biography

famous architect : Marcel Breuer

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Marcel Breuer architect
Marcel Breuer architect
Marcel Breuer architect
Marcel Breuer architect

Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer architect Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) was attracted to the year-old Weimar Bauhaus by its idealistic program that promised new approaches to art and architecture away from the iconoclastic methods of the past. The 18-year-old from Pecs Hungary, demonstrated an extraordinary talent and energy in the Vorkus and workshops. His objective, however, was architecture, and through it was not yet a part of the formal curriculum, in the spring of 1924, Marcel Breuer, with the advice of Georg Muche, began a collaborative work group to study housing and particularly high-rise structures. Marcel Breuer produced a design for a seven-story apartment block that would become a prototype. One of the first to complete his diploma requirements, Marcel Breuer became young master when the school moved to Dessau in 1925. It was during those years that Marcel Breuer created his famed Wassily steel and leather sling chair and other innovative furniture designs; Marcel Breuer was then in charge of the furniture workshop.

A few months following Gropius's resignation in April 1928 from the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer followed suit and attempted unsuccessfully for three difficult years to establish his practice in Berlin. This was followed by almost four years of wandering in Europe and North Africa. Two projects were realized during this period: the house for Harnischmacher in Wiesbaden, and the Doldertal apartment building for Sigfried Giedion in Zurich. In 1935, Gropius, who was in London, obtained employment for Marcel Breuer; there he designed his famous chaise lounge for Isokon, and with F. R. S. Yorke, he designed a noteworthy exhibition pavilion for Bristol.

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Two years later at Harvard, Gropius invited Marcel Breuer to assist him in the masters class in architecture as research associate (in 1938, as associate professor) and to join him in practice. Their team teaching was highly successful judging by the accomplishments of alumni. The most significant projects of the partnership were their own homes in Lincoln, Mass., and the housing project for defense industry workers at New Kensington, Pa., which established a new high standard of design for the federal government. There were other houses in New England, a mansion in Pittsburgh, and an interior for the Pennsylvania Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Marcel Breuer resigned from the partnership in 1941 to begin his own practice and from the university in 1946. In New York, Marcel Breuer was joined at intervals beginning in 1953 by Herbert Beckhard, Robert Gatje, Hamilton Smith, and Tician Papachristou.

The first internationally important building project was the UNESCO building in Paris with Bernard Zehrfuss and Pier Luigi Nervi. Among other projects of note are the St. John's Abbey Church in Collegeville, Minnesota, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, both with Smith as associate; the building for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and that for the Department of Health and Human Services, both in Washington with Beckhard as associate; and the IBM-France building with Gatje as associate in La Gaude, France.

Recognition and honors grew rapidly, particularly beginning in the 1950s. Among his awards are the Gold Medal of the American Institute of Architects, and honorary degrees from Harvard and the Technical University of Budapest. Marcel Breuer is the subject of numerous articles and books, although too modest and too busy to have been the author of more than a few. Marcel Breuer retired in 1976 and died on the 1st of July 1981 after a long illness.

General References
1. P. Blake, Marcel Breuer. Architect and Designer, New York, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1949.

2. Marcel Breuer, Sun and Shadow. The Philosophy of an Architect. Dodd, Mead, & Co., New York, 1956.

3. Marcel Breuer, "Les buts de I'architecture," Architecture: formes et fonchons., (9) 6-29 (1962-1963).

4. Marcel Breuer, "Genesis of Design." in G. Kepe.s, ed., The Manmade Object. G. Braziller. New York 1966, pp. 120-125.

5. K. Ichinowatari. ed., MBA: The Legacy of Marcel Breuer. Process Architecture, Tokyo, Japan, 1982.

6. A. Izzo and C Gubitosi, Marcel Breuer: Architettura 1921-1980, Florence, Italy, 1981.

7. T. Papachristou, Marcel Breuer, New Building and Projects, Praeger Publishers, New York, 1970.

8. C. Wilk, Marcel Breuer, Furniture and Interiors, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1981.

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