One of the First Public Universities to Offer Industrial Design
In 1940, Industrial Design was a relatively new profession derived from the work of German designers from Dessau Bauhaus. Georgia Tech's Department of Architecture recognized the impact of Industrial Design as a discipline and started offering classes that year. They even hired a professor from the New Bauhaus in Chicago to teach the Industrial Design courses.
Soon after, though, World War II had a dramatic effect on Georgia Tech. Armed forces enlistment led to a severe decline in the university's enrollment. Fewer students meant that many courses, even whole degree programs were no longer offered. Within the Department of Architecture, Industrial Design classes were ended.
The Architecture East building, soon after construction.
The end of the war brought students back to Georgia Tech and revived the Architecture department:
- The East Architecture Building was opened in 1952 and included an Industrial Design lab and shop
- Bauhaus and New Bauhaus veteran Hin Bredendieck was hired to lead a new Industrial Design program that same year
- The program's first graduates earned the Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design in 1958
1952 - 1971: The Hin Bredendieck Era
Hin Bredendieck led the Industrial Design program at Georgia Tech for nineteen years. According to the Industrial Design Society of America, his influence was nationally recognized:
"With Walter Schaer and Eva Pfeil at Auburn, Hin Bredendieck at Georgia Tech and Walter Baerman at North Carolina State, designers often referred to this education triangle as the 'New South.' These design educators brought to the South a new design approach which considered user-centered research a prerequisite for intelligent and responsible product development."
Professor Bredendieck studied at the Dessau Bauhaus in 1927; As a student he collaborated with artist and designer Marianne Brandt on the famous Kandem Bedside Table Lamp. In 1937 he immigrated to the United States to teach at the New Bauhaus in Chicago, Illinois. In 1952 he left Chicago to lead Georgia Tech's Industrial Design program.
The curriculum he developed for Georgia Tech took an evolving approach defined by Walter Gropius (his mentor, friend and former Director of the Bauhaus) as “the science of design.” He incorporated new design methods and industry knowledge as quickly as possible, viewing them as a natural progression from Bauhaus.
TheKandem Bedside Table lamp.
Bredendieck retired from Georgia Tech in 1971. In 1994, he received the IDSA Education Award for his lifelong commitment to design education. His lecture material and writings were assembled and published posthumously by the Georgia Tech College of Architecture in 2009 as Beyond Bauhaus: The Evolving Man-Made Environment.
Bauhaus is fundamental to Industrial Design:
Bauhaus was a German art school that was open from 1919 to 1933. "Bauhaus" is literally translated as house of construction, and although the school's founder was an architect, Bauhaus focused on design. Their philosophy was to blend all forms of art -- including architecture -- together as one, creating a "craftsman-artist". This was a founding principle of modern design. After the Nazi regime forced the school to close, Bauhaus teachers and artists emigrated to other countries, including the US. During the 1930s they influenced design education at universities like Harvard, Columbia and established the New Bauhaus school in Chicago, Illinois.