Behrens, Peter

Behrens, Peter
b. 14 April 1868 Hamburg, Germany
d. 27 February 1940 Berlin, Germany
German pioneer of modern architecture, developer of the combined use of steel, glass and concrete in industrial work.
During the 1890s Behrens, as an artist, was a member of the German branch of Sezessionismus and then moved towards Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) types of design in different media. His interest in architecture was aroused during the first years of the twentieth century, and a turning-point in his career was his appointment in 1907 as Artistic Supervisor and Consultant to AEG, the great Berlin electrical firm. His Turbine Factory (1909) in the city was a breakthrough in design and is still standing: in steel and glass, with visible girder construction, this is a truly functional modern building far ahead of its time. In 1910 two more of Behrens's factories were completed in Berlin, followed in 1913 by the great AEG plant at Riga, Latvia.
After the First World War Behrens was in great demand for industrial construction. He designed office schemes such as those at the Mannesmann Steel Works in Dusseldorf (1911–12; now destroyed) and, in a departure from his earlier work, was responsible for a more Expressionist form of design, mainly in brick, in his extensive complex for I.G.Farben at Höchst (1920–4).
In the years before the First World War, some of those who were later amongst the most famous names in modern architecture were among his pupils: Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret).
Further Reading
T.Buddenseig, 1979, Industrielkultur: Peter Behrens und die AEG 1907–14, Berlin: Mann.
W.Weber (ed.), 1966, Peter Behrens (1868–1940), Kaiserslautern, Germany: Pfalzgalerie.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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