Ed Driscoll

When Modern Architecture Isn't

I’ve always had a soft spot for Bauhaus architecture; there are a couple of photos of me on the site taken at Mies van der Rohe’s epochal Barcelona Pavilion, and I own several pieces of his furniture. Mies was the last headmaster of Germany’s famed Bauhaus design school, it was closed by the Nazis under his watch.

The founder of the Bauhaus was of course Walter Gropius, dubbed “The Silver Prince” by Tom Wolfe in From Bauhaus To Our House. Gropius and Mies would both wind up teaching and building in the US after the rise of the Nazis in their home country. “See-Dubya”, guest-blogging for Michelle Malkin while she’s embedded in Iraq, notes that the US embassy in Greece, shot at early this morning with an RPG rocket, ostensibly by Greek radicals, was designed in 1957 by Gropius. Gropius was a much better teacher than an architect, but it’s not at all a bad looking design, but with its nearly all glass facade, as See-Dubya notes, it’s extremely vulnerable to just the sort of attack it faced this morning.

Mies always liked to say that architecture was “the will of the epoch translated into space”, but the epoch in which Gropius’ building was built has passed, and in today’s world of terrorism, US embassy buildings need to be much more fortified–and have much less glass–than this unfortunately outdated design.

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