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Published onApr 23, 2021

This study was undertaken with the assistance of research grants from the Technion Fund for the Promotion of Research and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts. The research was facilitated by the excellent resources of German architectural literature of the 1920s and early 30s, held in the Ratner Architectural Library of the Technion, Haifa, and the extensive material in the Loeb Architectural Library of Harvard University. Material on Walter Gropius derives from the Gropius Archives in the Houghton Library, Harvard University, and the Bauhaus-archiv, Berlin, and from the collection of Gropius drawings in Harvard’s Busch-Reisinger Museum. For material on Konrad Wachsmann I am grateful to Mrs. Judith Wachsmann, who made it possible for me to examine the as then unclassified Wachsmann papers at the University of Southern California and in his own home. The files on prefabrication in the Albert Farwell Bemis Foundation Records (MC 66) were made available to me by the Institute Archives and Special Collections, MIT Libraries. In interviews or in correspondence, Mrs. Ise Gropius and Messrs. G. van der Kar, Nathan Mendelsohn, Rudy Wolf, and Albert Wohlstetter shared with me some of their recollections of the General Panel venture, with which they were intimately connected. In Israel Mrs. Nadia Markowicz, Mr. Max Naumburg, Architect Dov Eitan, Dr. Walter Katz, the Tuchler family, and Mr. Ruckenstein were all helpful in their reminiscences of the Hirsch, Böhler, and Christoph and Unmack houses. I am grateful to Dr. Myra Warhaftig for her assistance with respect to the Gropius-Hirsch correspondence. Ruth Zucker, Michael Meyer-Brodnitz, David Meyer, and Elisheva Schönfeldt assisted me at various times with translations, although they bear no responsibility for the manner in which I have used them. I am grateful to Dov Cernabroda, who initially drew the copper houses to my attention, and to my former students and colleagues Michael Kwiat, Silvina Sosnovsky, Avraham Keren, and Mark Donchin, who at various periods assisted me in the search for relevant information. Drora Spitz of the photographic laboratory of the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning was responsible for the preparation of many of the illustrations, and Marion Gold typed the manuscript in draft and final form. To all these, and many unnamed helpers, I extend my deepest thanks.

This work includes material previously published in provisional form by the Documentation Unit of Architecture, Technion, Haifa: Gilbert Herbert, Gropius, Hirsch, and the Saga of the Copper Houses, publication no. 1, 1980; and The Packaged House: Dream and Reality, Publication no. 4, 1981. To the Unit for its financial and technical support, and to Orna Betser for assistance in publication, I am most grateful.

Throughout the writing of this book I have been sustained by the encouragement and support of my wife Valerie, and my efforts have been enriched by her perceptive criticism. She and my daughter Margaret have toiled at my side in libraries and archives from Jerusalem to Cambridge, Massachusetts. In appreciation I dedicate this book to them, and to the memory of my parents, who first set me on the road to learning.

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