A Place in Time spotlights a significant cultural resource - a district, site, building, structure or object - entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

Waldenmark in Wrightstown Township, Bucks County, is an exceptional example of a complex of International style buildings. Also known as the Edward Fischer House, the main house with its associated studio and garage date from 1939 and were designed by Walter Gropius (1883-1969) and Marcel Breuer (1902-1981). Subsequently, Breuer designed a guest­house on the property in 1948.

Waldenmark was recently named to the National Register of Historic Places because it embodies the distinctive characteristics of the International style and represents the work of two leading figures of the Bauhaus school of architecture.

Walter Gropius is considered one of the most outstanding architects of the twentieth century. Gropius founded the Bauhaus school in 1919 in Dessau, Germany, and is credited with establishing, almost single­handedly, the imagery of the International style. Marcel Breuer, who studied at the Bauhaus, was asked by Gropius to become director of the school’s furniture department. With the rise of Hitler, Gropius left Germany and relocated to England, and eventually to Boston in 1937. Gropius then asked Breuer, who was living in London, to join the Harvard School of Design’s faculty soon after Gropius’s own appointment. In 1937, Gropius and Breuer formed their architectural partnership in Cam­bridge, Massachusetts, and continued their work together until 1941.

Edward L. Fischer and his wife Magrit were both artists and friends of the architects. Fischer, born in Philadelphia in 1903, met Gropius, Breuer, and his future wife Magrit while attending the Bauhaus. Several years after the Fischers’ return to the United States in 1935 they mentioned to Breuer that they wanted to buy a house in Bucks County. He convinced them to build instead. They purchased ninety-three mostly wooded acres, and construction of the house, sculptor’s studio, and garage was completed in 1939.

The main house at Waldenmark features many hallmarks of the International style, including emphasis on horizontal elements and the introduction of curved forms. The two level house is long and narrow with ribbon windows. Exterior walls are constructed of redwood, painted white, and three native stone sections, including the curved fireplace wall, highlight the building. A freeform stone patio on the east end has a low curved stone wall echoing the fireplace wall, and dividing the terrace from the yard. There are very few decorative interior features in the house – walls and window surrounds are devoid of trim.

Today, the buildings of Waldenmark remain very much as originally constructed. This complex of International style buildings is the only grouping of buildings by these architects in southeastern Pennsylvania and represents the combined work of two recognized masters of twentieth-century architecture.

 

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Protection of the Flag Monument
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Schellsburg Historic District
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