E-Journal für Kunst- und Bildgeschichte
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Uhl, Karsten

Die moderne Architektur und die humane Rationalisierung der Fabrik im frühen 20. Jahrhundert

Industrial architects in early twentieth century faced the so-called ‘factory problem’. It had two important components that were interrelated: On the one hand the plant’s spatial order, and on the other hand the quest for more effective ways of exercising power at the workplace. Both were centred on a new interest in the human factor of production. Workers were no longer regarded as mere objects of discipline but rather as individuals whose individuality was to be utilised. In this context a new discourse on work environment was started. Some of the most important German architects and engineers were determined to beautify the factory and to create a human habitat inside. Accordingly, notions of efficiency were combined with the new concept of beautification – rationalisation was “humanised”. The problem experts faced was: How to create an atmosphere of trust which would promote the efficient usage of workers’ abilities? It had been most important to humanise the workplace, respect the worker as subject of production and create conditions, which increased the working morale.

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