Peter Behrens was born in Hamburg in 1868. Originally trained as a painter, Behrens eventually abandoned painting in favor of graphic and applied arts.
In 1899 he was invited to the Artists' Colony at Darmstadt where he maintained a leadership position. Afterwards he worked as the Directore of the Kunstgewerkeschule in Dusseldorf.
Behren's interim there stimulated a new geometric abstraction in his work. From 1907 to 1914, Behrens worked as an artistic adviser to the AEG in Berlin.
While with AEG he created the world's first corporate image. Most of his architectural designs for the AEG borrowed from industry both in terms of form and material.
The Turbine Factory in Berlin-Moabit most successfully displays the industrial nature of most of his buildings. Behren can be considered a key figure in the transition from Jugendstil to Industrial Classicism. He played a central role in the evolution of German Modernism. Behrens died in Berlin in 1940.