Historians and critics have maintained that Walter Gropius dominated the Harvard Graduate School of Design between 1937 and 1952 and shaped it into the "Harvard Bauhaus." My essay instead argues that the GSD was far more complex and rich than this assessment would suggest. Joseph Hudnut, who founded the school in 1936 and served as its dean until 1953, played an equally significant role at the GSD as he pursued an alternative to Gropius's modernism there. While Gropius demanded that the GSD follow the Bauhaus approach, Hudnut-influenced especially by John Dewey and by the German city planner Werner Hegemann-was trying to root modern architecture and the Harvard school in the larger humanistic traditions of architecture and civic design. By the mid-1940s, Hudnut and Gropius began battling for control of the GSD. At issue was the fact that Gropius wanted to rebuild the Bauhaus at Harvard while Hudnut absolutely did not want the school to be remade in this mold. In particular, Gropius was determined to establish a preliminary course at the GSD identical to the famous Bauhaus basic course. On the defensive, Hudnut fought Gropius at every turn.
- Copyright 1997 The Society of Architectural Historians