Fagus Factory - A gem in the middle of nowhere


A building from 1911 looking fresh and attractive as if was build only years ago?!? Not a trick, but the initial work of architect and Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. His first building, the Fagus Factory, set the trend associated with what we call nowadays modern industrial architecture.


The Fagus shoe lasts factory represents an architectural concept that was the first to consider the requirements associated with light, air and clarity - modern loft concepts follow these design rules, striving to achieve a work environment both motivating and healthy. Gropius’ use of glass and steel was revolutionary - bricks and mortar, the dull alternative in the days of early industrialization, suddenly became downgraded as framing, colourful elements. He demonstrated the modernist principle that form reflects function.


The name of the factory is derived from the Latin ‘fagus sylvatica’, which means ‘beech’ or ‘beech wood’. Beech wood is the traditional raw material for the production of shoe lasts. It took until 2011 that this architectural gem was listed as an UNESCO world heritage. A well equipped craftsmanship/industry museum, special exhibitions and guided plant tours even increase the attractiveness – and compensate for the detour to Alfeld, Germany, right in the middle of nowhere.  


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