Breuer, Marcel Lajos

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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)

Breuer, Marcel Lajos

views updated May 23 2018

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).;

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Marcel Lajos Breuer

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