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former directors continued their careers in the US where they would have a broader impact on architecture and design educationMies van der Rohe, who ran the Bauhaus during its last three years, came to Chicago in 1937He took over the architecture department at the Armor Institute which was soon renamed the Illinois Institute of TechnologyHe would also enjoy a revived professional practice afer WWIIWalter Gropius, the Bauhaus’s founder was hired to lead the architecture department at Harvard UniversityContradiction?Possible to have ivy league avant-garde?Can the nation’s most exclusive school teach the architecture of perpetual revolution?But that is what happened!See image – Gropiuslooming over the desk of a young I.M. Pei, who was one of dozens of graduates who would turn radical modernist functionalism into the norm of American postwar architectureHarvard students would set the tone professionally, but the modernist teaching methods imported from The Bauhauswould become the new model for design curricula in universities across the US and CanadaThe revolutionaries had taken overUnit 2 Lesson 8 – p.24
The radically transparent free form glass steel and concrete towers that Mieshad imagined, dreamed about in early 1920s Berlin, that were beyond ridiculous in that place and time, became a new reality in Chicago and NYC by the 1950sAdoption of a design language originally meant to serve ideal aesthetics and social equality by clinets building corporate towers for whiskey companies raises the same old problem:Easy to be radical with paper architecture or model like below, or vehement angry published manifestosModern architecture had defined itself as a fundamentally avant-garde movementBy the 1950s it constituted a global professional establishmentWhat was it then?Would it need to give way to the next set of young kids with the next crazy set of ideas?How long would the revolution remain a revolution?Unit 2 Lesson 8 – p.25
Modern architecture had no wish to become absolute and supplanted by the next big thingArchitectural modernism tried very hard to disconnect itself from the idea of being just one more rigid authoritative style to be overthrown when its days were overThe expectation of change was built into the modernists ideology itself so new movements and directions could be claimed as continuing its mission, not ending its reignE.g. how modern architects and there supporters wrote histories of the movement Sounds a little strange – how can you write a history of something until its over? And why would an ideology so focused on the present moment need histories anyway?They actually served an important roleThese books told architects that they were part of a long standing and important cause, whose mission was almost a century old, and not yet completeOne of the most important of these was a book by a Swiss historian named Sigfried Giedion