The main Grade 1 Listed building at Impington has the distinction of being the only public building in the UK designed by Walter Gropius. Walter Adolph Georg Gropius (1883 –1969) was a German architect and founder of ‘The Bauhaus School’, who, along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.
Post WW1 was a key time for Gropius. He was made master of the Grand-Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar in 1919, and it was this academy which Gropius transformed into the world famous 'Bauhaus', attracting a faculty that included Paul Klee, Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, Herbert Bayer, László Moholy-Nagy, Otto Bartning and Wassily Kandinsky.
‘Bauhaus’, quite literally means “house of construction”, but it did not actually begin through architecture. Only as it grew, did the movement start to encompass all art forms. It was a highly experimental, theoretical and modern concept.
Bauhaus manifesto 1919
“Let is then form a new guild of craftsmen, without the presumptuousness of class distinctions, which sought to raise an arrogant wall between artisans and artists! Let us together invent, create the new building of the future, which will be everything in a single form: architecture and sculpture and painting, which will one day rise towards heaven as the crystalling symbol of a new emerging faith.”
The Bauhaus style later became one of the most influential currents in modern design, modernist architecture and art, design and architectural education, and inspired many subsequent developments in the arts sector.
In autumn 1934, Gropius was introduced to Henry Morris, Cambridgeshire Secretary for Education and creator of the Village Colleges. Together they shared an optimistic faith that good building and aesthetic surroundings could assist humane living and social reconstruction. Morris was resolved to secure a non-local authority architect to design the new Village College at Impington. Gropius worked alongside Maxwell Fry to prepare designs for Impington Village College in summer 1936. Gropius however, left for America before he could see the completion of the building, but did return once in 1961.
As a result, Impington Village College is a unique public building in the UK which deserves national, and arguably international, recognition. It is therefore an important grade I listed building that should be protected and preserved for another 75 years.