Marcel Lajos Breuer

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Breuer, Marcel Lajos (1902–81). American (from 1944) Modernist architect and designer, born in Pécs, Hungary. He became Director of the furniture department at the Weimar Bauhaus in 1924, and invented a series of furniture-designs using structural frames of bent-steel tubes finished in chrome: these were realized as furniture in the Dessau Bauhaus. In 1928 he set up an architectural practice in Berlin, producing the Harnischmacher House at Wiesbaden, and (with the Roth brothers) the elegant Doldertal Apartments, Zürich (1935–6), for Giedion. In 1935 he moved to London and a partnership with F. R. S. Yorke, but crossed the Atlantic to Harvard in 1937, where he became Gropius's partner (1937–40), and also worked as associate professor with Gropius, numbering among his students Philip Johnson, and Paul Rudolph. After setting up an office in Cambridge, MA (1941), in 1946 he moved to NYC. His career as an independent architect only really began after 1945, when he designed several private houses in New England (including his own at New Canaan, CT (1947)), in which rubble and timber played no small part. With Nervi and Zehrfuss he worked on the designs of the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris (1952–8) and, with Abraham Elzas (1907–95), on the De Bijenkorf Store, Rotterdam (1953–7). Stylistically his work became less International Modernist from this time, e.g St John's Abbey and University, Collegeville, MN. (1953–70, with Hamilton P. Smith (1925– ) ), and the lecture-hall, New York University, University Heights, Bronx (1956–61). Later works included the IBM Research Centre, La Gaude, Var, France (1961 with Robert F. Gatje (1927– ) ), and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (with H. Smith, 1963–6). He published a prolix and self-regarding book in 1955.


Argan (1957);
Blake (1949);
Breuer (1955);
C. Y. Jones (ed.) (1962);
Masello (1993);
Placzek (ed.) (1982);
Papachristou (1970);
Jane Turner (1996)

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Marcel Lajos Breuer (broi´ər), 1902–81, American architect and furniture designer, b. Hungary. During the 1920s he was associated, both as student and as teacher, with the Bauhaus in Germany. In 1925, Breuer won renown with his design of the first tubular steel and laminated plywood chair. He built only one private house (Wiesbaden, 1932) before leaving Germany to work in Switzerland and England. Breuer became associate professor of architecture at Harvard in 1937, and from 1937 to 1941 was a partner of Walter Gropius, with whom he designed several outstanding houses. He developed exterior sun shielding and made bold sculptural use of poured concrete. With Nervi and B. H. Zehrfuss he planned the Paris headquarters of the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (1958). Among Breuer's major later designs are St. John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. (1953–61); the U.S. embassy at The Hague (1958); the former Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (1966), now leased to the Metropolitan Museum of Art; and the New York Univ. Technology I and II buildings (1969), New York City.

See his Sun and Shadow, ed. by P. Blake (1955), Buildings and Projects, ed. by C. Jones (1962), and New Buildings and Projects, ed. by T. Papachristou (1970).

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Breuer, Marcel Lajos (1902–81) US architect and designer, b. Hungary. One of the great innovators of modern furniture design, Breuer studied and taught at the Bauhaus (1920–28), where he created his famous tubular steel chair. In 1937, he settled in the USA and subsequently worked with Walter Gropius as a partner in architectural projects. He designed the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (1966).;