THE FAGUSWERKE AT Alfeld, designed from 1911 onwards by Gropius and Meyer, and in construction until 1913, is frequently taken to be the first building of the Modern Movement properly so-called, the end of the pioneer phase in Modern architecture. There can be little doubt that it owes this high esteem in part to Gropius's personal relationship to the historians of the Modern Movement, and also, in part, to the accidents of photography--it is possible, by a hostile selection of photographs,1 to make it appear no more 'Modern' than, say, Behrens's Eppenhausen development of 1907. The modernity of this group of buildings is visible, indeed, only on parts of two sides, where the machine-shop and power-house present glazed walls to the south. These two blocks are in such strong contrast to the unadventurous neo-Classical regularity of the rest of the buildings that one may suspect that--like the informal planning, and the strong sculptural forms of the dust-extractor plant--they must have been an unsought consequence of the innerste Wesen of the functional programme. The rest of the factory lies well within the scope and intentions of the current body of Werkbund practice and ideas, but these glazed blocks, with their windows rising continuously through three stories, and wrapped round the corners of the block without corner piers, stand out as major innovations but may not have been designed until as late as the beginning of 1913 when Gropius and Meyer were already working on the Werkbund Pavilion for the 1914 Exhibition in Cologne.
But they still lacked the support of any accumulated experience in Werkbund circles of the aesthetics of glazed envelopes, and serious visual research on this subject seems not to have been attempted until the beginning of the Twenties. Nevertheless, if practice lagged, in theoretical writings Methusius ran well ahead. At an early date he had begun to assemble that canon of nineteenth-century glass and iron masterpieces that was to be____________________