From Bauhaus Student to Brutalist Supreme: Highlights by Marcel Breuer

From Bauhaus Student to Brutalist Supreme: Highlights by Marcel Breuer

A sampling of Marcel Breuer's impressive oeuvre.

In our upcoming September issue, we visit a 1954 house designed by celebrated icon Marcel Breuer. As a bit of preview, we dip into Phaidon's new monograph on the Bauhaus-trained architect. Written by Robert McCarter, the book surveys Breuer's varied portfolio. Known for his tubular steel furniture designs, massive Brutalist government buildings, and boundary-pushing private houses, Breuer's influence on modernism is significant in both his native Europe and in the States. Take a cruise through some highlights from his career below and tell us in the comments: what is your favorite Breuer work?

In Lawrence, Long Island, Breuer designed the Geller House II, which employs a curved concrete roof form, resting on four abutments, that gives the interior living spaces a dramatic shape. (1967-1969)

Breuer's Headquarters for Urban Development in Washington, D.C., is a monolithic testament to Brutalism, elevated by massive concrete pillars. Breuer's building came in $4 million under budget, a fact that led to more commissions from the U.S. government. (1963-1968)

After declaring that he was done designing houses in the late 1960s, Breuer took a commission to design the Sayer House in France in 1972. He accepted only because the residents were willing to build a design that Breuer had proposed to another client in 1959. Its defining feature is a hyperbolic paraboloid roof made of board-formed concrete.

Fascinated by his bicycle, Breuer conducted early experimentations with tubular steel that resulted in the iconic Wassily chair, the first of many furnishings that he made with the material. (1925)

Working with structural engineer Pier Luigi Nervi and French architect Bernard Zehrfuss, Breuer designed the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, perhaps the most important commission of his career. (1952-1958) Photo courtesy of Fonds Zehrfuss. Académie d'architecture/Cité del'architecture et du patrimoine/Archives d'architecture du XXe.

The Armstrong Rubber Company headquarters in New Haven, Connecticut, features a two-story gap between a lower-level laboratory building and an office tower. Since the building is situated next to the Connecticut Turnpike, the gap was meant to precisely align with passing drivers' eye level. (1965-1970)

The Gagarin House I in Litchfield, Connecticut, is home to a family of six, and features ample space for private or public gathering—including over 3,000 square feet of exterior terraces. (1955-1957)

The third house that Breuer built for his family is located in New Canaan, Connecticut, and showcases many of the designers' furnishings, including his Isokon armchairs from 1935. (1951)

The book is available now from Phaidon.


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