Day 6/365 of Steel – Peter Behrens

Peter Behrens was born on 14 April 1868. He was a leading German architect, graphic and industrial designer. He had a long career, designing objects, typefaces, and important buildings in a range of styles from the 1900s to the 1930s

A photo of Peter Behrens
Fig 1: Peter Behrens
Photo: Waldemar Franz Hermann Titzenthaler 

In 1907, AEG retained Behrens as artistic consultant. He designed the entire corporate identity (logotype, product design, publicity, etc.) and for that he is considered the first industrial designer in history. He also designed a series of factory buildings for them at their two Berlin factory sites, most famously the 1909 AEG Turbine Factory, considered an early example of Modernism.

AEG Turbine Factory (1909)

Inside the AEG Turbine Factory
Fig 2: Inside the AEG Turbine Factory
Photo: Achim Bleicher

The turbine hall consists of two parallel spaces, a lower space attached to the west of the main one. The main space is 25.6m wide (the lower one 12.5m), with a height of 25 m and a length of 123 m , with a body formed by 22 steel frames, placed every 9 meters. The steel columns appear on the outside unadorned, with bolts and joints visible, with huge glass windows between, angled slightly inwards towards the top. The gable ends are constructed of reinforced concrete, with metal strapping on the piers either side creating a rusticated appearance, and the firm’s logo is cast in the concrete of the gable.

AEG Turbine Factory
Fig 3: AEG Turbine Factory
Photo: ChristianSchd 

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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