When Bauhaus came to Britain

Words:
Valeria Carullo

Marcel Breuer, Sea Lane House, Angmering-on-Sea, 1936

Marcel Breuer, Sea Lane House, Angmering-on-Sea, 1936
Marcel Breuer, Sea Lane House, Angmering-on-Sea, 1936 Credit: Photographers: Dell & Wainwright. Architectural Press Archive / RIBA Collections

This year marks the centenary of the foundation of the Bauhaus, and one of the ways to celebrate this important anniversary is to remember the work of some of the Bauhaus masters in England in the mid-1930s. 

Following the rise to power of the Nazis in Germany, and the political and cultural climate it engendered, Hungarian-born architect and designer Marcel Breuer moved to London in 1935, a few months after his colleague Walter Gropius. His two-year partnership with local architect F R S Yorke resulted in a number of buildings – including Sea Lane House at Angmering-on-Sea, now grade II listed – and unrealised projects, such as their proposal for a ‘garden city of the future’. Breuer also designed an exhibition stand with another Bauhaus master, László Moholy-Nagy, but his most renowned British work is perhaps the furniture created for the Isokon Company of his friend Jack Pritchard, used in the Lawn Road Flats’ Isobar. 

In 1937 Breuer followed Gropius to Harvard, as America seemed at the time to offer better opportunities to émigré architects.