Prototype

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In 1937, the Association of Arts and Industries invited László Moholy–Nagy to develop and direct a school of design and architecture in Chicago based upon the Bauhaus model of an engaging curriculum that prepares students to participate in the evolving needs of society and industry. While traveling on the ship from London to New York, Moholy–Nagy envisioned a new Bauhaus rooted in the successes of the original. Although leading industrialists lent their names to the prestige of the school, literally dubbed the New Bauhaus, without ongoing financial backing, there remained an unending struggle to maintain funding that fueled the transformation of the basic curriculum of the Bauhaus into the integrated learning model of the School of Design supporting the push to patent and prototype.

The word, prototype, derives from the Greek, πρωτότυπον (prototypon), meaning “primitive form,” combining the roots, πρῶτος (protos), which means “first,” and τύπος (typos), “impression.” Moholy–Nagy’s belief in the importance of first impressions is revealed in his meditation on the Bauhaus’ Vorkurs (Basic Course) over the years turning it into the School of Design’s Foundation Course as a model for integrative thinking permeating the entire curriculum and, thereby, creating a lasting impression on both the student and society.

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