Born Lajos Breuer in 1902 in Pecs, Hungary, In
1920, he set off for Vienna to study art but disliked the atmosphere of
the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. His next move was to the Bauhaus
School in Weimer, Germany, where he enrolled as a student in 1921. The
Bauhaus School, founded by Walter Gropius (1883-1969), was known for
combining the teaching of arts with technology.
After graduating from the Bauhaus with a Masters of Architecture degree
in 1924, Breuer moved to Paris to pursue architectural studies. Gropius
invited Breuer back to the Bauhaus in 1925 to work as the Master of the
Carpentry Shop, where he made his first great impressions on the world
of design with his modular furniture. His most famous furniture design
was the iconic tubular steel chair inspired by bicycle handlebars.
Breuer stayed in Germany until 1935, continuing his work in furniture,
interior design, and architecture.
He immigrated to the United States in 1937 after Walter Gropius invited
him to teach architecture at the newly established Harvard University
Graduate School of Design. Breuer's students included I.M. Pei (1917-
), Philip Johnson (1906-2005), and Paul Rudolph (1918-1977). Through
his roles as teacher and Gropius's business partner, Breuer became a
highly influential member of the Modern movement. He was instrumental
in revolutionizing architectural education in the United States by
promoting and implementing Bauhaus concepts.
Breuer moved to New York City in 1946 and was persuaded by former
student Eliot Noyes (1910-1977) to consider building a home in New
Canaan, Connecticut. Breuer purchased property on Sunset Hill Road and
completed his first house in New Canaan in 1947. Unlike many of the
other New Canaan Modern architects, he kept his primary residence in
New York City and used his New Canaan house as a weekend and vacation
retreat. He later built a second house, Breuer House 2, for his family
in New Canaan. Because of poor health, Breuer sold his house in New
Canaan in 1972 and moved permanently back to Manhattan.
Marcel Breuer was one of the most influential teachers and architects
of the Modern movement in America. His most renowned works include St.
John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota (1953), the UNESCO World
Headquarters in Paris (1955-58, in conjunction with Pier Luigi Nervi
and Bernard Zehrfuss), the IBM Research Center in La Gaude, France
(1960-62), the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City
(1964-66), and the Armstrong Rubber Company Headquarters in West Haven,
Connecticut (1968-70). The American Institute of Architects awarded him
the Gold Medal in 1968 and l'Acad?mie d'Architecture in France awarded
him the Grande M?daille d'Or in 1976. Breuer was also honored with the
first one-man show for a living American architect at the Metropolitan
Museum of Art in 1972-73, and a one-man exhibition at the Museum of
Modern Art in 1981.
Breuer died in New York City in 1981.
Fisher Residence Bucks County 1947