Bauhaus building, Dessau, photographed in 1926 by Lucia Moholy. (Lucia Moholy/Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin)
It was, as the young Philip Johnson wrote excitedly to his mother, "the most beautiful building we have ever seen" with "great strength of design. . . majesty and simplicity."
The building in question was the Bauhaus, the German art and design school designed in the mid-1920s by the architect Walter Gropius in the industrial city of Dessau. On his visit in 1929, Johnson, who grew up to become a famous architect, was equally entranced by the work of the students: so much so that he adopted Bauhaus habits, like typing solely in lower case letters. One of the teachers, the graphic designer Herbert Bayer, had banned capitals on the grounds that there wasn't enough time for them in the frenzy of modern life.
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