Today’s ride was bookended by Peter Behrens. In 1910 in Hennigsdorf he designed the first workers’ housing in the Rathenau Viertel opposite the AEG works. I have no idea which of the apartments and houses were designed by him, but I did like the inset designs on the apartments – the propellers (AEG initially built aeroplanes here) that look like petals and the sunflowers that look like gear wheels. The street names were self-explanatory: Ohm, Volta, Watt. I also realised that “Rathenau” referred to Emil (general manager of AEG) rather than Walther (his son).
Back in Berlin, I had time to see Behrens’s turbine factory for AEG, designed in 1909. It is a beautiful shape and colour – a kind of Egyptian temple to the industrial age (the façade is decorative rather than structural). The side of the building stretches behind for the whole block. Old photographs show it standing alone, but today is has buildings on two sides and is flanked by a row of apartments.
All this, and Northampton too!