A factory for hydraulic pumps continues the representational German approach to industrial architecture
The German approach to industrial architecture has always tended to the representational, and in valorising the utilitarianism of American factories, the latter were simultaneously reified. Barkow Leibinger’s plant for hydraulic pump manufacturer HAWE seems to continue this tradition, pinwheeling in splendid isolation at the foot of the Bavarian Alps. The plan is justified as an accommodation of the manufacturing process: raw materials enter at the easternmost point and cycle through the stages of prefabrication, production, surface treatment and assembly, to shipping. The saw-toothed roofs and corrugated steel skin are very much in the idiom of industrial exigency, but the use to which these elements are put, the quality of the finish and the central courtyard garden bespeak a much more generous architectural sensibility - none of the ‘air of grudging meanness’ that Banham found in Highland Park.
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