- The main concern of Gropius is to unify art and industry: artist should not remain a mere decorator, but concern himself with the spatial organization of modern industrial problems. His take is to arrive at the most economical use of space and time. He maintains that the purpose of architecture is the creation of space and mass. Yet mass is primary,it must give the impression of spatial security (impenetrability), which he calls compactness of form.
- “A breach has been made with the past, which allows us to envisage a new aspect of architecture corresponding to the technical civilization of the age we live in; the morphology of dead styles has been destroyed, and we are returning to the honesty of thought and feeling.”(19) and another important quotation from Gropius is “For instance rationalization, which many people imagine to be its cardinal principle, is really only its purifying agency. The liberation of architecture from a welter of ornament, the emphasis on its structural functions, and the concentration on concise and economical solutions represent the purely material side of that formalizing process on which the practical value of the New Architecture depends. The other, the aesthetic satisfaction of the human soul, is just as important as the material. Both find their counterpart in that unity which is life itself. What is far more important than this structural economy and its functional emphasis is the intellectual achievement which has made possible anew spatial vision. For whereas building is merely a matter of methods and materials, architecture implies the mastery of space” (15-16). … “Our fresh technical resources have furthered the disintegration of solid masses of masonry into slender piers, with consequent far-reaching economies in bulk, space,weight, and haulage.
New synthetic substances – steel, concrete, glass – are actively superseding the traditional raw materials of construction. Their rigidity and molecular density have made it possible to erect wide-spanned and all but transparent structures for which the skill of previous ages was manifestly inadequate. This enormous saving in structural volume was an architectural revolution in itself.” (25)“one of the outstanding achievement of the new constructional technique has been the abolition of the separating function of the wall….. Our new space-saving construction transfers the whole load of the structure to a steel or concrete framework. … the role of the walls becomes restricted to that of mere screens stretched between the upright columns of this framework to keep out rain, cold, and noise. … non-supporting and new merely partitioning walls are made of light-weight pumice-concrete, breeze, or other reliable synthetic materials, in the form of hollow blocks or thin slabs.” (26)
- Rather than an impediment to the development of New Architecture in the modern era, Gropius, on the contrary, sees standardization, rationalization as its immediate prerequisites.
- It is surprising to learn that Gropius was aware of the fact that “an architect cannot hope to realize his ideas unless he can influence the industry of his country sufficiently for a new school of design to arise as a result; and unless that school success in acquiring authoritative significance.” (51)