Walter Gropius, 1938
National Historic Landmark
The Walter Gropius residence in Lincoln, co-designed with Marcel Breuer and built in 1937, was one of the first “modern” houses in the region. Fellow architect and prominent Boston figure Henry Richardson Shepley - of Coolidge, Shepley, Bullfinch and Abbott - convinced philanthropist Helen Storrow to provide the land and fund both the design and construction. Gropius used his new home as a showcase for his Harvard students as well as an example of modernist landscape architecture in America.
Its boxy shape, vertical siding, flat roof, and large windows were a curiosity and attracted throngs of sightseers. Gropius built the house in the first year after he came to America, and with it proclaimed many of the Bauhaus design principles, adapted to the local environment. It is an archetype for the mid-century modern movement that emerged in U.S. residential architecture a decade later, following WWII.
"As to my practice, when I built my first house in the U.S.A.—which was my own—I made it a point to absorb into my own conception those features of the New England architectural tradition that I found still alive and adequate. This fusion of the regional spirit with a contemporary approach to design produced a house that I would never have built in Europe with its entirely different climatic, technical and psychological background." — Walter Gropius, Scope of Total Architecture (1956)
Owned and operated as a museum by Historic New England, and open to the public. Learn more and check hours of operation: http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/Gropius%20House. Note that several additional modernist homes by Gropius and his Harvard colleagues can be found on nearby Woods End Road, just to the west of here.