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AEG turbine factory

AEG turbine factory

A break with the past

With the construction of a turbine factory for AEG in Berlin, architect Peter Behrens did away with the battlements, brick facades and turrets that had characterized industrial architecture until then.

Instead, in 1909, he designed a two-hundred-meter long and thirty-five-meter-wide building on the corner of Huttenstraße and Berlichingenstraße in the Berlin district of Moabit, consisting of nothing but steel, concrete and glass. He painted the ironwork in the green of Berlin's street furniture, such as lanterns and benches.

He installed glass panels over fourteen meters high between the steel columns on both sides. Behrens received help from engineer Karl Bernhard, among others. Steam turbines for AEG were installed in this sun-drenched temple of labor.

Toasters, hairdryers and turbines

The company was just under a quarter of a century old. The Jewish entrepreneur Emil Rathenau founded the Deutsche Edison-Gesellschaft für Angewandte Elektricität in 1883; five years later, it became simply Allgemeine Elektricitäts-Gesellschaft AG or AEG. Designer, typographer and architect Peter Behrens was brought on board at AEG in 1907.

Behrens designed the logo, packaging, advertisements and appliances such as toasters, fans, teapots and hairdryers. Like Jonathan Ive at Apple, Behrens created a recognizable style over a hundred years ago. Various sources consider him the first industrial designer to introduce the concept of 'corporate identity.'

Turbine factory

Behrens also focused on architecture. The AEG Turbinenfabrik was his first design. From 1910 onwards, he also worked on the AEG complex in Humboldthain, building a vast assembly hall.

The Turbine Factory in Moabit was protected as a monument in 1956 and has since been restored. Today, it still serves its original purpose, namely the production of turbines. However, these are no longer steam turbines, but gas turbines. Moreover, it is no longer AEG but Siemens that produces them, despite the AEG Behrens logo that still adorns the facade.

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