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Fagus Factory

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Source: Bernd Schwabe in Hannover

Copyright: CC 3.0

The Fagus Factory , a shoe last factory in Alfeld on the Leine, Lower Saxony, Germany, is an important example of early modern architecture. Commissioned by owner Carl Benscheidt who wanted a radical structure to express the company's break from the past, the factory was designed by Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer. It was constructed between 1911 and 1913, with additions and interiors completed in 1925.
The building that had the greater influence on the design of Fagus was AEG’s Turbine factory designed by Peter Behrens. Gropius and Meyer had both worked on the project and with Fagus they presented their interpretation and criticism of their teacher’s work. The Fagus main building can be seen as an inversion of the Turbine factory. Both have corners free of supports, and glass surfaces between piers that cover the whole height of the building. However, in the Turbine factory the corners are covered by heavy elements that slant inside. The glass surfaces also slant inside and are recessed in relation to the piers. The load-bearing elements are attenuated and the building has an image of stability and monumentality. In Fagus exactly the opposite happens; the corners are left open and the piers are recessed leaving the glass surface to the front. Gropius describes this transformation by saying,


Copyright: CC 3.0

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