One of the most highly regarded architects of the 20th century, Walter Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969) was one of the founding fathers of Modernism, and the founder of the Bauhaus, the German "School of Building" that embraced elements of art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography in its design, development and production.
Like many modernists of the period, Gropius was interested in the mechanization of work and the utilitarianism of newly developed factories. In 1908, he joined the studio of renowned German architect and industrial designer Peter Behrens, where he worked alongside two people who would also later become notable modernist architects: Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.
However, of the three young architects at Behren's practice, Gropius was the first to put his Modernist ideas to work. In 1911, he and Adolf Meyer designed the Fagus Factory, a glass and steel cubic building which pioneered modern architectural devices such as glass curtain walls, and was built from the floor plans of the more traditional industrial architect Eduard Werner.
After its closure by the Nazis in 1933, the Bauhaus rose in popularity in the Western world with an exhibition, organized by Gropius, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. By the time Gropius died in 1969, his ideas on architecture and the Bauhaus itself had become a staple of modernist architecture.