Escape from the genius of war: bring modernist architectural design to the West

De Laval Pavilion is located in Bakershill, England, designed by German architect Mendelsohn

In 1939, more than 300 modernist architects settled in London, some from Germany, Austria, and some from the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Romania. Most of them were refugees who fled from Europe under the control of the Nazis. Among the group of architects, Gropius, Brauer, Leberkin and Mendelssohn are more famous. Many of the refugees are Jewish.

After a short stay in the UK, some architects set off again and moved to the United States. Some also went directly to the United States or other places, such as Tel Aviv, after arriving in the UK. The German Jewish Mendelssohn, who traveled to the United States, was involved in the design of the Draval Pavilion in Bakershill, a British coastal destination in 1935. Also heading to the United States is the Russian-born British architect Selmayev. At that time, Palestine was occupied by the British. Before they went to the United States, they designed many modernist buildings there, including the Weizmann House near Tel Aviv.

At the All-English Festival, no matter how good the layman is, everyone has always believed that the works of these immigrant architects have greatly enriched British culture. Pom Duchen is the creative director of the festival. A book is about to be published. She said: “Two years ago, I was at Hampstead, explaining how this place became the cultural center of London in the 1930s. The modernist building “The Lawn Road Apartment Building”, also known as the Isoken Apartment Building, is located here. I thought that people underestimated the influence of these escaped Nazi architects on the UK. For them, Adapting to the UK is not an easy task. The British anti-German sentiment can be traced back to World War I, and is as common as anti-Semitism. It is also not convenient to speak German in public. At that time, a book was published, specializing in Teach the Jewish British etiquette.”

Among the architects who have been exiled to the UK, there are many talented practical teachers, some of whom graduated from the Bauhaus school. Founded in 1919 by Gropius, the school still has enormous influence. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the school’s creation, but this celebration, consisting of global exhibitions and the publication of various new books, does not cover up the turmoil in the last few years of the school.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Bauhaus School promoted unmodified functionalist architectural styles, which later became known as “international style.” With the growing power of the Nazis, this architectural style has been under pressure. Some people think that the school’s behavior of gathering global culture hints at its opposition to Germany’s core. Even the school’s flat roof design is criticized by the Nazis. It is said that this design is not suitable for high latitude climate and is classified as Jewish. In 1933, the Nazi stormtroopers rushed into the school, rounded up the students and conducted trials, and the school was forced to close. Gropius was not Jewish, but because of his “degenerate” modernist architectural style that was despised by the Nazis, it was also squeezed out. At this point, the construction committee was empty, and Gropius had no choice but to leave Germany.

Bauhaus School adheres to the principle of “whole art”. Students must take a foundation course in their first year of school. In the meantime, they will be able to familiarize themselves with different disciplines and finally decide their own profession. This approach is groundbreaking and provides a template for the Foundation Program at the Anglo-American Art School. The architects, fabric designers, toys and graphic designers of the Bauhaus school, as well as the pottery artists, continue to spread the school’s ideas to the rest of the world in the process of exile.

Promote the Bauhaus concept
“The Bauhaus has laid a solid foundation for students and is more adaptable to the environment in exile,” said the new book “The Westwardness of Bauhaus: Anglo-American Modern Art and Design”. “The refugees are controlled by the Nazis.” Escape, whether it can take root in other countries depends mainly on whether they can establish contact with the country, and whether they can maintain the design level and find stable jobs. Gropius himself is not bad at the start. McCarthy is the author of the latest biography “Gropius: The Foresight of the Founder of the Bauhaus School”. She said: “Gropius went to the UK and was run by architectural critic and modernist sage Suntech. When he wants to come to the UK, he has to pre-determine the partnership between the two in the construction industry. Pritchard has arranged his residence in the lawn road apartment building and is in his own development company (Isokon). I have left a job for him.”

Like the surrounding Swiss huts and St. John’s, Hampstead in the north of London is the cradle of left-wing thinking. Thousands of refugees came to settle here in the 1930s. They spoke a German and were called Hitler exiles by the locals. Freud is one of them. Ingled and Debelji have published a book called “The Isoken Apartment Building and Bauhaus Style in the UK”. An exhibition of the same name is currently being held at the Aram Gallery in London. Today’s Isoken apartment building is already full of tenants, and the gallery on the ground floor was opened in 2014. So far, there have been more than 15,000 visitors.

The Isoken apartment building in London was opened in the year. The author says that it has become the home of many refugee designers.

The Isoken Apartment Building, also known as the “Roof Road Apartment Building”, is a bold innovation for designers in the city’s minimalist life.

Borgo works on a high textile machine. Borgo is a fabric designer, she also came to the UK in the late 1930s.

In 1931, Pritchard and the modernist architect Coates went to the Bauhaus school that had moved to Dessau. They found that the school was closed because the committee was under Nazi control. Later, together with his psychiatrist’s wife, Molly, he commissioned Coates to design the “turf road apartment building.”

Pritchard persuaded the British government to accept many German and Austrian refugees and live in this experimental building. At the time, the building was also home to the former department head of the Bauhaus furniture department, the Hungarian Brauer, the metal parts studio manager Mohari Najib, and the Borgo, who was responsible for teaching the weaving process. Born in Yugoslavia, Borgo fled to the UK and lived near Belsay Park. Later, she returned to the European continent to take care of the sick mother, unfortunately arrested by the Nazis and died in the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1944.

Pevesner is also a refugee from the Nazi Germany and a supporter of Gropius. In 1935, Pevesner published the masterpiece “The Pioneer of Modern Movement: From Morris to Gropius” to promote the Bauhaus school concept. Gropius also promoted modernist ideas in his 1935 book The New Building and Bauhaus School. The cover of the book was designed by Mohari Najib, with a picture of the measuring device, and the title is written in a red wick font in the middle, which is very bold and avant-garde.

Mohlin Najib worked in a men’s store called Simpson in Piccadilly. The main job was to ensure that the display was correct, the plywood cabinets were bent just right, and the chandeliers were neatly displayed. Borauer was born from a Jewish family, but announced his abandonment of the Jewish faith when he married his first wife, Opus, in 1926. In 1936, he followed the advice of Gropius and moved to London. Brauer was hired by Pritchard’s design company Isoken to design furniture. At that time, the steel pipe furniture was outdated, and the curved plywood pieces designed by Blauer were romantic and multi-purpose organic materials, perfectly integrated into the modernist style prevailing in the 1930s. Reese was born in Austria and lived in the “Roof Road Apartment Building”. At the invitation of Principe, I have also designed a number of works for Isaac, including a plywood-shaped storage cabinet that can easily store books, magazines, bottles and glasses.

Gropius was hired to design the Ipton Country College in Cambridgeshire. The designer Foley, who worked with him at the time, responded to the soft modernist sentiment of Gropius with local bricks. Pevsner called it “one of the most perfect buildings in England.”

Gropius still believes that this time in the UK is not satisfactory. McCarthy said: “The main reason is that there is no work.” At that time, the British did not accept the modernist architectural style. She added: “Blount is quite right. The reason why the British do not like modernist architecture is that.” Looking at the feeling of not having a home.” Harvard University showed great interest in the Bauhaus school. In 1936, Harvard threw an olive branch to Gropius, and he became the chief professor of the Harvard Graduate School of Design.

In 1937, at the Trocadero Hotel in Piccadilly, a grand farewell dinner was held for Gropius. At that time, a total of 136 guests attended, including the famous novelist Wells and furniture designer Russell, etc., from which the British people can pay tribute to Gropius.

In a sense, people who come out of the Bauhaus school are more likely to take root in the United States than in the UK. Because as early as the 1920s, the United States showed great interest in this school. On the contrary, McCarthy also pointed out that even with the promotion of Pritchard and others, the British avant-garde cultural pioneer “still succumbed to the French mainstream aesthetics promoted by the Foley, Bloomsbury Group.”

In 1926, the Brooklyn Museum in the United States hosted an international modern art exhibition, with many Bauhaus school artists exhibiting. In 1932, Harvard University scholar Barr set up the first modern art and architecture course in the United States. His colleagues Johnson and Hitchcock also hosted a famous international style exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Not long after Gropius arrived in the United States, he asked Blauer to come to the United States to look for him: “The United States is great! Don’t tell the British, there is no smog and no psychological nightmare. Here People are open and free, and you will find a broader space here.” Blauer and Gropius have had a short business relationship in the United States. Between 1939 and 1940, the two designed the home of Allen Frank of Pittsburgh.

Modernist furniture came out of the Bauhaus school and completely changed the design world.

In 1933, Johnson invited the Bauhaus exile Albos to the United States. Albos is a textile designer, her husband Joseph is an artist, and the couple went to teach at Montenegro College in North Carolina. At that time, the school was just established and has now become an interdisciplinary and innovative art school. Even in the United States, Albos adheres to the teaching tradition of the Bauhaus school and has no restrictions on materials. When she first arrived, the school did not have a textile machine. She encouraged students to imitate ancient weavers and find tools in nature. She later succeeded in creating a career and became a fabric supplier for high-end design brands such as Noel.

German designer Van der Rohe was the head of the architecture department at Bauhaus School. He moved to the United States in 1938 and founded the Ammo Institute of Technology in Chicago, the predecessor of the Illinois Institute of Technology. His success in the construction industry has been designed in many landmarks, such as the Vansworth House outside Chicago (1945–1950) and the Seagram Building in New York (1954–1958).

After the war, Gropius worked with Berluszi and the Emery Ross family architectural design company to design the Pan American Building in New York (1960-1963). In 1964 he joined the Association of Architects (TAC). Founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the association has inherited the enthusiasm of the Bauhaus school team. Perth wrote in “The Westwardness of Bauhaus”: “In the design process, the association requires all members to participate in the discussion, step by step, giving criticism and advice.”

After coming to the United States, Gropius and his wife, Esser, lived in Massachusetts until his death in 1969. The house was designed by itself and was built in 1938. In 1955, in a letter to Pritchard, Ither recalled the life of London in the 1930s to benefit them: “The visit to various places has given us a lot of help. We have observed between different countries and nations. The interconnections; ‘The lawn road apartment building has taken us the first step, which has made me unforgettable so far.” Nowadays, the Gropius couple’s house in Lincoln City has been transformed into a museum. The genius architect and other extraordinary designers in his circle pay tribute.