Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Walter Gropius House


If you happen to be taking a backroad shortcut from Walden Pond through the woods to the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Mass., you'll most likely buzz past this modern house tucked among the old Colonials.  Since I learned about the Walter Gropius house in Lincoln, I've wanted to go take a tour of this National Historic Landmark.   

Walter Gropius, if not a familiar name, was the founder of the Bauhaus School of architecture whose faculty included Paul Klee, Josef Albers and Wassily Kandinsky to name a few.

Gropius escaped Nazi Germany in 1937 and came to Cambridge where he
taught at the Harvard School of Design with Marcel Breuer.
I'm sure you know Breuer's Wassily and Cesca chairs even if
you're not familiar with his architecture.

Gropius' house in Lincoln was built in 1938.

The sculpture in front of the house is by Richard Filipowski
and was installed by Gropius in the 1950s.

The sculpture is titled "Winter Pine."

Side of house looking into the living room and upstairs deck.

View of rear of house.  The oak was planted when the house was built.

Interior photos of the house are not allowed on the tour but I've
borrowed a few from the Historic New England website.

The house has been maintained as it was at the time of Gropius' death in 1969.

Just inside the front door is Gropius' office. 
The chairs are Saarinen.

The living room with picture windows that beautifully frame a
view of the back yard and forest beyond.

The chair is a Saarinen Womb chair.
I should have asked about the white leather sofa because I loved it.

View from the dining room looking back in to the living room.

See the little vents just below the dining room windows?  Gropius had a second heating system just to keep the windows frost-free in the wintertime.

The kitchen is very fun.  Small but adequate.

Another windows that frames a view of the landscape.

One of the period bathrooms.

Notice the typical Bauhaus palette of black, white, gray and red.

The dressing room and master bedroom is set up as if his wife Ise would
be right back to get ready to entertain guests that evening.

Her Merimekko dress is laid out on the bed.

A shot of daughter Ati's room.  I love that wall light!

View of the back of the house.

I would highly recommend taking the tour; it's a 1969 moment frozen in time. 

A one-hour tour is $10.

Gropius House
68 Baker Bridge Road
Lincoln, Mass. 01773

It's privately owned (so not open to the public) but just down the road is
the Marcel Breuer house.  It's well worth a walk down the road just to see it.



  1. Steve I love how this wonderful home takes advantage of the views!! Great example of the period and style!

    Art by Karena

  2. That's an amazing house. I wonder if the neighbours were annoyed when it was built because like you say, it sure is not a colonial! I hope MMMC reads this post.

  3. I LOVE the kitchen! Simple with a great view!

  4. Deb,
    Thanks a great question. At the time, it was referred to as "The Sugar Cube on the Hill."

  5. I have been a fan of Bauhaus design since I was a teen. The Gropius house is wonderful but I don't recall ever seeing interior photos. I am so glad you posted these.

  6. Steve,

    A very well spent ten dollars! I think walking into these rooms at any time of the year would be amazing! Whatever happened to that? Most new homes here in Texas, even the ones costing hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions look into the house next door (our cost of living is so much less expensive than Lincoln). Even though they were cutting edge when built, it seems they were very respectful of their immediate environment. Very cool.

  7. What a wonderful tour of an amazing house. Thank you for introducing us to it. I love that architectural style, and am a fan of such things as the Wassily chair (my parents almost bought one many years ago -- I wish they had). Very cool.

  8. Great house tour. Looks like you if you wanted to live in a modern home. I love all the glass that lets all those trees be viewed from inside the house. I have to say this house is really beautiful. It still looks fresh today.

  9. Thank you for the introduction to Walter Gropius house. I think great architecture, whether modern or classical, is timeless. I appreciate how the architecture and decor are seamless here. No mixing the purity.

  10. Architect Boy:

    LL of amazing architects and designers right outside your door! Love learning from you.


    Boring girl.

  11. I have just looked at each photo 3 times. They are like a cool drink of water and I'm so thirsty.

    (What is the flooring? Tile or cork in the foyer? Is that carpet in the other rooms?)

  12. Love love love!! I am jealous you got to tour it! How cool. I love international style houses and of course the work of walter gropius is stunning.

  13. Great style always looks chic, doesn't it? Thanks for the tour!

    Love the black and white basics-

    Although WHAT is up with the whole metal cabinets in the kitchen thing?

    I have'em too( they are my nemesis!)
    and our place was built in 1948.

    Was it cheaper than wood?
    Easier to build/paint?
    Just the status quo back then? Hmmm...

    PS-nice diversion from the room you should be finishing, LOL any progress on that front?

  14. I am so amazed by how current it all looks. Could have been done just recently, don't you think? A testament to great design. I would have never guessed it was a 1938 house. Wow. Thanks for the tour.

  15. I love touring homes, especially ones with different styles from my own.....they really help me distill what I like and don't like about spaces and furniture and decoration choices. I like a lot of modern spaces. I certainly don't consider myself a modernist, but I think I am starting to "get it" to an extent. I think some day I will live in a more modern is just seeding itself in me.

    I love the Saarinen chair. I know you have some modern in you too.

    Fun tour. xo T.

  16. It's amazing how at home that house would be in a design magazine today. Good design really is timeless!

  17. Beautiful house. Living and being a fan of very old houses for years I've become more and more enamored of these mid century modern(ok a little more) masterpieces. I love the kitchen, so functional and the perfect size. Thanks for the tour.

  18. Oh I remember when they toured this house on This Old House (the TV show). I loved it! It looks exactly the same as it does in your photos. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  19. The man was way ahead of his time. I loved seeing this and all the furnishings. It's true what they say everything old is new again!
    Wonderful post Steve.


  20. As modern as any house today.


  21. Walter Gropius is timeless.
    His house could be in a current magazin and nobody would
    realize, that it is more than 40 years old.
    It is amazing and so beautyfull.
    Thank you for showing us .

  22. Such an interesting post and what a house. I`d love to live there. Ok, I`d want to update the bathroom but the architecture is superb.


  23. Hi Steve,

    I like the fact that the bathroom sink doesn't hide the plumbing. Within the context of that architecture, form follows function, and the drainpipe is a thing of beauty.

  24. I love our area. Great modern house to visit. We have so many interesting thing to day in one day. I haven't been to Lincoln in a long time. I use to take my kids to a little farm run by the some kind of preservation society. The names escapes right now.

  25. Thanks so much for sharing this, Steve. It's frozen in time, but looks so incredibly current and timeless, doesn't it? I went to design school worshiping the Bauhaus movement. This just brings it all back. Timeless.

  26. So much of that design is just dateless. Oh, the classics! We have one of those red Jordanian rugs under our house in storage. I must pull it out again for a hit of winter colour. Thanks for reminding me!