Art: Architecture for Athena

The U.S. Department of State had a commission to challenge any architect: 1) build a million-dollar U.S. embassy in Athens just one mile from the Parthenon, 2) make it a showcase of U.S. modern architecture, but let it be classical enough to fit its surroundings, 3) give it a warm, friendly, inviting atmosphere expressing U.S. democracy. For the assignment, State picked German-born Walter Gropius, 74, founder and onetime (1919-28) director of the Bauhaus, later chairman of Harvard's department of architecture, and founder of his own cooperative architectural firm in Cambridge, Mass.,...

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