As an architect and theoretician, Poelzig was particularly interested in developing a language specific for factory buildings : “the true monumental task of contemporary architecture“, in a period when Germany was developing as a major industrialised nation. Whereas Behrens (read our recent article) metamorphosized his activity during the years, looking for a complete adherence to the changing mythologies of German haute-bourgeosie, Poelzig identified in a sinister neo-Gothic style, the proper setting for his monumental plants.
The sulphuric acid factory in Luban.
Already during its construction (in 1910), Poelzig’s project for a chemical factory in Luboń, Poland, was featured in magazine articles, lectures and exhibitions as an exemplary Industrial Architecture. For the manufacturing of the fertiliser a complex of different buildings was needed: a lead chamber, a high tower houses, a kiln house, a tower house, a chamber house, storage sheds and other buildings. Apart from the production plant, Poelzig designed also a building for the administration, a building for the workers welfare, a workshop and an engine house to provide the required energy.
The materials were resistant to the harsh conditions of the environment: metal for the interiors, in order to protect from aggressive vapors, and traditional masonry bricks for the walls. The brick walls are partly load bearings, partly not, as evidenced by the use of different shapes of windows (semicircular in real wall bond, and square without lintels, in other cases).