A Bauhaus home on the Maine coast

This Walter Gropius-designed house on 6.6 acres is offered at $2,200,000 -  Naskeag Point, Brooklin, Maine USA

History

Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus

The Naskeag Point house was designed by Walter Gropius and The Architects' Collaborative for Dr. Arnold and Doris Wolfers. The house was completed in 1948.


German-born Gropius (1883-1969) founded the Bauhaus Design School in Weimar, and is a towering figure in contemporary design. The Bauhaus School defined "modernism" and catalyzed the profoundly influential Bauhaus movement. Bauhaus modernism emphasizes aesthetic and functional simplicity "less is more", and the primacy of nature and social context in design.


Gropius in New England

Gropius emigrated from Germany in 1937 and settled in New England after accepting a job at Harvard's Graduate Design School. Shortly after, Gropius launched The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) in Cambridge. TAC did important work in New England and throughout the United States until the mid-1980s.


Gropius loved New England, and New England vernacular architecture was a major influence on his work. In fact, the house he designed for his family in Lincoln, Mass. has been called a "happy amalgam" of New England tradition and Bauhaus spirit. The "Gropius House" is a National Historic Landmark and museum.


Gropius and the Naskeg House

The first owner was Dr. Arnold and Doris Wolfers of Washington, D.C.  Swiss-born Wolfers was a renowned political scientist, Yale professor, and founder of the Center for Foreign Policy. His wife Doris was an artist. The Wolfers originally commissioned Gropius and The Artists' Collaborative for a summer home. Following retirement modifications were made for year-round use, and the plan was extended, adding a large bedroom and studio suite.

Today, the Bauhaus spirit persists throughout the Naskeag House. It is a study in simplicity, open design, and integration with the natural world. There is no doubt that the design was inspired by the rugged beauty of Naskeag Point.


The living room and dining area merge in an open plan, allowing a comfortable flow of activity. The innovative "gull wing" roofline hides gutters and leaders from view and allows dramatically upsweeping ceilings that seem to draw in sea and sky. The kitchen enjoys abundant natural light, communicates easily with the dining area, and is a model of efficiency. Amost every room offers expansive southerly views over Naskeag Harbor, Blue Hill Bay and Mt. Desert Island.


Further Reading:

Wall Street Journal "House of the Day"   (Wall Street Journal, 01/08/2014)

'Mid-Century Marvel', Gropius and the Naskeag House. (Portland Monthly, Spring 2013)

A design essay on the "Gropius House" in Lincoln, Mass. (Historic New England)

Personal reflections on Naskeag House and original owners (Downeast Dilettante blog)

(Coming soon...) Article and photos about the newly built Naskeag House (House & Garden, May 1949)

Photos from House & Garden Magazine  May, 1949

Looking northeast (1949)

Living room with "modern" furniture (1949)

Dining area and kitchen pass-through (1949)

The light-filled kitchen (1949)