14 April 2009

WasAEG or Behrens in Sweden


While recently visiting the Arkitektur Museet in Stockholm, I came across a model, which at the first sight I thought was Peter Behren’s AEG Turbinenfabrik in Berlin-Moabit (actually 1 km away from where I am living). Just like Dali and other surrealists, I fell in a state of critical paranoia, believing or trying to believe something that doesn’t exist (but in one’s imagination) for about 10 seconds, before realizing with great disappointment that Behrens had nothing to do with the model I was looking at.

AEG Turbinenfabrik, images from wikipedia.com

This building actually is a covered dock in Sweden, about 150 years older than the AEG Fabrik. Here is the text accompanying the model:

Wasa Covered Dock
...The “Wasa Shed” (Wasaskjulet) was erected over stocks, so that building work on warships could continue in all winds and weathers. A series of upward-tapering pillars and a hipped roof imparted both rhythm and character, endowing the building with an intrinsic aesthetics value transcending its practical purpose.”

Location: Kariskrona
Year of construction: 1759
Materials and structure: Wall pillars of brick, mansard roof
Architect: Carl Johan Cronstedt

I haven’t the faintest clue whether Behrens knew this building (I googled, but I could’t find anything), which might be also a kind of “traditional construction” of the time, but anyhow I find this comparison highly fascinating, since both architectures were intended to be purely functional buildings, but turned out to be beautiful, monumental pieces: now the Wasaskjulet hosts sometimes performances, and the AEG Turbinenfabrik since decades is part of Germany’s architectural heritage.

Prometheus Bildarchiv, Imago, Humboldt-Universität, Kunstgeschichtliches Seminar, Berlin. By Vogt, Arnold. 1900 ca.
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