In the first decade of the twentieth century, the Deutscher Werkbund or "German Craft Association" was formed with the expressed aim of improving the aesthetic quality of manufactured goods and industrial architecture while producing both less expensively (Adams, p. 477). The creation of this Association was very much a response to two complementary pressures. On the one hand, Germany was undergoing a period of rapid industrial development in which the factory and the machine were replacing the cottage and the craftsman's hands as the locus and source of production. On the other hand, a sense that many of the machine-made products and machine-serving buildings and other structures were of less aesthetic quality (and greater cost) than was desirable was also emerging.
The response from a large and diverse community of artists, architects, and craftsmen was the Deutscher Werkbund, and, alter, the foundation of a new school of architecture and related disciplines that would be known as Das staatliche Bauhaus or, simply, the Bauhaus (Adams, p. 477). Of seminal significance in forming this organization was Walter Gropius (1883 û 1969), an architect who believed in the integration of art and industry (Adams, p. 477). This brief report will examine the Bauhaus and the work of Gropius, arguing that both represent a response to German industrialization and commercial standardization.
Gropius was born in Berlin on May 18, 1883. As a young architect, he joined the office of Peter Behrens, working there from 1907 until 1910. In addition to Behrens, Gropius was heavily influenced by the French architect Le Corbusier. In 1911, Gropius became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund and joined in the alliance of creative designers with machine methods of production. The group and Gropius were against imitation and weary of the simple theory guiding art and architecture that asserted that form followed function ("Walter Gropius, p. 1).