The gestation of ideas that took place in Peter Behrens’ Berlin studio between 1907 and 1911 was vital to the birth of modern architecture. Walter Gropius, who would found the Staatliches Bauhaus in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, apprenticed there, as did Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. Though they created a stir in Europe during the early twentieth century, these men weren’t formally introduced to the architectural community in the United States until 1932 when the curators at the Museum of Modern Art in New York staged The International Style: Architecture Since 1922, making them and other European moderns the focus of the exhibition.
By 1937, both Gropius and Mies had migrated to the United States where they would become practicing architects and educators—Gropius at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Mies at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (then known as the School of Architecture at the Armour Institute). Through their built work and their academic positions, Gropius and Mies would prove to have great influence over succeeding generations of architects.
Likewise, through his work and his writings, Le Corbusier inspired American moderns. His groundbreaking book Vers une architecture, which was first published in 1923, was translated into English in 1927. In it Le Corbusier states, “Passion can create drama out of inert stone.” More than three quarters of a century later, his words continue to serve as a voice for the early movement, which he so fervently hoped would ignite passion in future generations. Are you passionate about modern architecture? Do you absolutely love it? Hate it? Did any of these giants of architecture inspire you in any way? Tell us by commenting and you’ll have a chance to win the Moleskine Berlin City Notebook. We’ll announce the winner here on Friday morning, April 2nd.