Alexandra Lange | Essays

A Real Modern Monument

A happy preservation story: Peter Behrens’ AEG Turbine Hall, now 100 years old, still in use, and still as striking as the day it was completed. Shouldn’t that be the goal for every building?

The structure went up in less than a year, and when it was finished, observers scrambled to find words to describe it — an “iron church,” a “cathedral of machines,” a “temple of work.”

An extra dose of design aura surrounds Mr. Behrens because three of the greatest architects of the 20th century — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Le Corbusier — all apprenticed in his office as young men around the time of the hall’s construction. (Mr. Mies and Mr. Gropius are known to have worked on the project, though to what degree is unclear.)

Posted in: Architecture, Social Good

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