This year marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus, a short-lived German art and design school that has had an outsized impact on international modern architecture. Kurt and Pratt Institute President Frances Bronet take to the streets of Midtown Manhattan to visit some of New York’s Bauhaus-inspired architecture.
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Kitty-corner from the Seagram is the Lever House, another iconic glass tower inspired by the Bauhaus. The building is an American design, by Gordon Bunshaft and Natalie de Blois of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, but heavily indebted to the Bauhaus principles of design. The Lever House is designed as a slender blue-green slab of glass, which seems so normal today, but was revolutionary in 1952: “Remember, the context in which they’re operating, the street was a set of buildings that were brick and stone,” Bronet explains, “and all of a sudden there’s this very, very light, almost diaphanous project that challenges the sort of heaviness of these other impenetrable buildings on the street.”
Listen to "Bauhaus Hunters" with Kurt Andersen and Frances Bronet: