Peter Behrens, Crematorium in Hagen-Delstern, Germany, (1906-1907)
“At Düsseldorf, Behrens became very interested in the Theosophist geometry of Lauweriks and De Bazel. Behrens went all the way with this geometry in a number of his subsequent buildings, especially the Crematorium in Hagen. Walter Gropius implied that Behrens had gone too far, but that he had always liked the Crematorium.”
- Stanford Adams, from “Considering Peter Behrens”
Designing with the strict geometric principles of closed, cubic symmetry in mind, Behrens’ was able to make his relatively small structure seem monumental. His design is equally indebted to the strong lineaments of art nouveau as to the purely functional practicality for which He was later known.
The crematorium opened in 1911, while cremation was still illegal in Germany.
From encyclopedia.com: “Peter Behrens was born in Hamburg on April 14, 1868. He studied painting at the School of Art in Karlsruhe (1886-1889). He spent the 1890s in Munich as a painter and designer in the current Jugendstil, or German Art Nouveau style, and cofounded the Sezession group of artists, architects, and designers in 1893. In 1899 he joined the artists’ colony on the Mathildenhöhe in Darmstadt, where, under the influence of J. M. Olbrich, he turned to architecture. Behrens’s house at Darmstadt (1900-1901) was a characteristic Art Nouveau work.”