Moabit’s Turbinenfabrik turns 106 this year, which is no small feat for any Berlin building, let alone one this immense. Designed by architect Peter Behrens for AEG, the Turbinenfabrik (“turbine factory”) is a massive, neoclassical monument to industry-as-art. Behrens was one of the original members of the Deutscher Werkbund, an organization dedicated to the promotion of German design and engineering – the quality of which were not always such a foregone conclusion.*
The building’s facade is so large that it doesn’t photograph well from the street, so I decided to show the building’s scale in a different way: by walking around it. The time-lapse video below is a condensed version of this walk:
I start by heading north on Berlichingenstraße from Huttenstraße, with the east wall of the building to my left. At about 0:05, the walls turn from stone to metal: this is where the original building ends, while the modern Siemens complex continues. Shortly thereafter, the walls turn to red brick – this building is not part of the Siemens complex, and continues to the corner of Sickingenstraße, where an intriguing 5-point gear mosaic can be seen imbedded in the sidewalk’s cobblestones (approx. 0:10).
After that I turn east on Sickingenstraße and film the greater complex to the south, focusing on the large, modern smokestack at the center of the block (0:11 – 0:13). At 0:19, I turn south on Wiebestraße, a beautifully sparse, light-cobblestone street with some equally beautiful brick buildings on the opposite (west) side. I focus back on the metal walls of the Siemens complex at 0:25, which loop seamlessly through the final left turn onto Huttenstraße, transitioning back into older brick buildings before ending at the Turbinefabrik’s south-facing facade at the corner of Huttenstraße and Berlichingenstraße.
*The Werkbund lives on at Berlin’s Museum Der Dinge – read more about it here.