Hans Scharoun was born on September 20, 1893, to a family that was part of the growing German middle class. Scharoun was influenced by the local north-German vernacular architecture, and by new ideas about space and form. Many of Scharoun's earliest sketchbook drawings depict local vernacular buildings and ships. Scharoun credited the Bremen and Bremerhaven vernacular architecture and port lifestyle with having a meaningful influence on the development of his design ideas. In contrast to the Bismarck designs, Scharoun's 1911 Crematorium and the 1912 City Theater in Bremen exhibit some of the originality of his later work. Both imagine building forms that are unusual in the extreme, utilizing strong form and unfamiliar juxtapositions, and challenging architectural conventions. During his first semester at the Technical College in Berlin, Scharoun met the architect Paul Kruchen. Scharoun worked for Kruchen on several projects as a student and in the military.