Sleepless in Shenzhen

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    Gropius and Breuer’s Martini Signals

    Orhan Ayyüce
    Apr 20, '15 1:21 AM EST

    Based on a true story from Ise Gropius herself in 1980.

    It was a long day towards the end of the summer at the Graduate School of Design. 1940 was a tough year. The horrific war was well underway and the news from Europe wasn’t so good. Though, none of this would impact Walter as much and if it wasn’t for constant war talk by his fascist student Philip Johnson, he would care less and continue his day as if nothing happened and go on and look forward to martini hour he would resume with his neighbor, ex-student and now colleague Marcel Breuer who just built a house of his own just a stone throw away.

    Driving home through the beautiful country road in Lincoln near Cambridge, listening the radio instead of getting upset to dandy PJ was already better for the time being. It was just the right sundown just the right music, his alter ego, Glen Miller on the radio, Tuxedo Junction and the winding road. Martini hour with Lajkó, aka Marcel, has been theirs for a long time.

    Routine was, Walter pulled into driveway, stopped the engine, got out the car, opened the door and said something like “scheisse” to Ise and proceeded to kitchen grabbing a martini glass running up to second floor deck, raising the glass to the west where Lajkó was waiting for his martini signal.

    He was there in Walter’s house in five minutes just when his mentor friend was pouring the well shaken not stirred cocktails in the chilled glasses. Ise walked in, took one look at both of them and said “If Mies was here, you’d be drunk already” but by then the men were climbing the stair to talk 'chair' on the deck, ignoring her commentary.

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Archinect Senior Editor Orhan Ayyuce is blogging his thoughts, impressions and provocations.

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