A. E. G. High Tension Factory
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Architect Peter Behrens
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Location Berlin, Germany   map
Date 1910   timeline
Building Type factory
 Construction System glass and steel with masonry
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Early Modern
Notes "Turbinen Fabrik A.E.G." . "three-pin arch" steel frame.






Plan Drawing

Section drawing showing structure

Discussion A. E. G. High Tension Factory Commentary

"The turbine hall for the AEG in Berlin-Moabit —on the corner of Hutten Street —of 1909 ...represented the culmination of his efforts to give architectural dignity to a workplace, similar to the achievement of [Frank Lloyd Wright] with the Larkin Building in Buffalo. Glass and iron took over a workshop of an industrial plant, with an enormous span (28.16 yd.; 25.6 m). Behrens achieved a plastic effect and a dynamic form of construction of the trusses, which were pulled towards the outside, as well as through the tapering iron trusses and the glass areas which were drawn towards the inside. In particular, the monumental shape of the façade with corner pylons, which could not be considered a necessity for construction, and which were built with a thin ferro-concrete shell, caused criticism among younger architects. Ludwig Hilberseimer wrote: 'Peter Behrens is led astray by the imperialistic power consciousness of the prewar years and restrained by classical influences, and he thinks to add a facade to his turbine hall of the AEG at Moabit; an otherwise terse structure....And Erich Mendelsohn criticized the building; 'He pastes over the expression of tension, which the hall creates, with the rigidity of a repeatedly broken temple tympanon....Le Corbusier, however, admired the structure as being a charged center, 'which represents the integral architectonic creations of our time—rooms with admirable moderation and cleanness, with magnificent machines, which set solemn and impressive accents, as the center of attraction."

"By no means did Behrens try to solve industrial problems by excluding the continuity of the architectural tradition, but he was concerned about the integration of past and present, just as he had worked earlier on the conversion of the coal symbol to the diamond symbol, which showed his life as being integrated with art...."

— from Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. p30-31.

Sources on A. E. G. High Tension Factory

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. grid geometry diagram, p194. — Updated edition available at Amazon.com

Tillman Buddensieg in collaboration with Henning Rogge. Industriekultur, Peter Behrens and the AEG, 1907-1914. Translated by Boyd Whyte. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1979. exterior perspective view from across the street, p279, plate A26. exterior perspective view along side wall of factory, p280, plate A27-32. interior perspective view of main space, p277, plate A23. exterior perspective view from across the street, p277, plate A22.

Kenneth Frampton. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1983. ISBN 0-8478-0506-9. LC 83-61363. NA642.F7 1983. section, p152. — Available at Amazon.com

Udo Kultermann. Architecture in the 20th Century. New York: Van Nostand Reinhold, 1993. ISBN 0-442-00942-9. LC 92-26734. NA680.K7913 1993. discussion, p30-31.

John Julius Norwich, ed. Great Architecture of the World. London: Mitchell Beazley Publishers, 1975. exterior photo, p231. — An inspiring and informative introduction to architecture, with lots of full-color cutaway drawings, and clear explanations. Available at Amazon.com

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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