Peter Behrens

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Peter Behrens

Behrens, Peter

(pā`tər bā`rəns), 1868–1940, German architect, influential in Europe in the evolution of the modern architectural style. He established before World War I a predominantly utilitarian type of architecture that at the same time achieved qualities of clarity and impressiveness. His factory buildings were among the earliest European works to base a simple and effective style upon the frank terms of modern construction. Behrens is known also for residences, for workers' apartment houses in Vienna, and for his pioneering work in industrial design. Among his pupils were Le CorbusierLe Corbusier
, pseud. of Charles Édouard Jeanneret
, 1887–1965, French architect, b. La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Often known simply as "Corbu," he was one of the most influential architects of the 20th cent.
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, Walter GropiusGropius, Walter
, 1883–1969, German-American architect, one of the leaders of modern functional architecture. In Germany his Fagus factory buildings (1910–11) at Alfeld, with their glass curtain walls, metal spandrels, and discerning use of purely industrial
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, and Ludwig Mies van der RoheMies van der Rohe, Ludwig
, 1886–1969, German-American architect. A pioneer of modern architecture and one of its most influential figures, he is famous for his minimalist architectural dictum "less is more." In Germany, he was an assistant to Peter Behrens.
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Behrens, Peter

Designed the AEG Turbine Factory (Illus.), Berlin, in 1908. It was a strictly functional factory, constructed of concrete, steel, and glass, without ornamentation. He also designed the German Embassy, in St. Petersburg, Russia, in the Classical idiom, devoid of all ornamentation.

Behrens, Peter


Born Apr. 14, 1868, in Hamburg; died Feb. 27, 1940, in Berlin. German architect and artist-designer.

Behrens studied in Karlsruhe and Düsseldorf from 1886 to 1889 and worked as an artist, graphic artist, and master of decorative arts in Munich (1891–99) and Darmstadt (1900–03). He presided over the Commercial Art School in Düsseldorf from 1903 to 1907. In 1900, Behrens began to work as an architect in the spirit of the Jugendstil, striving for geometrical clarity in composition and decor (the crematorium near Hagen, 1907). He was an active participant in the Munich Secession, the Darmstadt artists’ colony, and the German Werkbund. In 1909 he began to construct a series of industrial buildings, which combine innovative construction (reinforced-concrete and metal frame, wide-span glass enclosures), functional design, and simplicity of spatial solution along with the traditional features of German architecture, including a heavy, impressive appearance and severe, massive power (factories built in Berlin between 1909 and 1912, in Oberhausen between 1921 and 1925, and Höchst in 1925–26). Behrens’ last works were executed in the spirit of functionalism (tobacco factory built in Linz between 1932 and 1936). Behrens is one of the founders of modern European architecture. Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe all worked in his studio.


Cremers, P. J. Peter Behrens, sein Werk von 1900 bis zur Gegenwart. Essen, [1928].
References in periodicals archive ?
Lying derelict for many years, one of the reasons behind its importance is a claim that it reflects the work of the German designer and precursor of the Bauhaus movement, Peter Behrens.
Although they dominated the scene a century ago, Peter Behrens and contemporaries such as Olbrich and van de Velde seem so remote to us now that it is hard to imagine, let alone empathize with, the excitement of their work when new, or to credit them with the intellectual profundity they felt they had achieved.
Rich in scope and depth, the collection they formed now features masterpieces by Hector Guimard, Josef Hoffmann, Peter Behrens, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann and numerous other artists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
"In this cinematic novel, Peter Behrens turns the archetypal immigrant's journey into Homeric epic, driven by the lust for freedom, buff eted by sirens and banshees....
Papini's book is encompassed within six sections - an extremely useful notion, which begins by looking at the architects of the time, from Peter Behrens to Walter Gropius, and goes on to explore the interiors and furniture of well-heeled homes of the period, revealing how things have come full circle since once again art deco furniture is on the market with originals at breathtaking prices.
While Mies's background lay in the Neo-Classicism of Peter Behrens and the much earlier work of Karl Friedrich Schinkel, Haring had been taught by the great South-German planner and contextualist Theodor Fischer, who drew on the city planning theories of Camillo Sitte and the pan-European tendency of National Romanticism.
The infrastructure of a nation was built in Neo-Classical urban style, with fine details subsumed under systems of proportion - later easily adapted, with vertical filigree and stepped-back terraces, for New World skyscrapers jalmar Castren, like Peter Behrens in Germany and Auguste Perret in France, pioneered reinforced concrete.
From his exile in Switzerland Peter Meyer wrote an obituary for Peter Behrens in 1940 citing his AEG factories, his Petersburg embassy and Alexanderplatz commercial building, as 'expressions of violence'(1) and forerunners for Fascist architecture.
The monotonal rhythm and vast scale of twentieth-century institutionalised work processes influenced Peter Behrens and Alexander Popp's Linz state tobacco factory 1929-35 and the order and symmetry of undecorated modernity could be seen in Hans Steineder's Attnang Puchheim school.
In 1901, there was the first celebration of their work, with a studio block (the Ernst Ludwig Haus) and six artists' houses designed by the Viennese architect Joseph Maria Olbrich, and one house designed for himself by the painter and graphic artist Peter Behrens (the first building of his vastly influential and successful architectural career).