Reversing the Paradigm with Walter Gropius: Architecture Theory as a Social Solution
Susan Kelly Archer, Ph.D., Ed.D.

The traditional paradigm for the study of architecture theory is through an historical lens, to develop an appreciation for the values and principles of a particular era through its artifacts. Shifting this paradigm, architecture theory can, and should, serve as a basis for analyzing contemporary social problems and seeking their solutions. Research repeatedly finds that economic inequality is a global problem, and in many cases, an underpinning of social unrest. Economic inequity is a significant world issue, that must be addressed by multiple disciplines working together to develop comprehensive solutions. One manifest variable for economic inequity is a lack of adequate, affordable housing. This paper investigated Modernist architect Walter Gropius’ theories on standardization, design, and construction to address the housing variable. As part of a comprehensive solution, the architecture discipline to draw from its past, including the forward-thinking ideas of leaders like Walter Gropius, to contribute to this solution.

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