Walter Gropius was born into a privileged upper-middle-class family on May 18, 1883. Gropius studied architecture at the Technical College in Munich, took a break for military service, and then switched to the Technical College in Berlin, Charlottenburg, in 1906. Gropius develops and discusses his beliefs in a series of essays penned between 1911 and 1914, most importantly "Monumentale Kunst und Industriebau" and "Der stilbildende Wert industrieller Bauformen". In all his prewar articles on industrial architecture, Gropius emphasizes the need to join technique with art, in order to elevate the products of civilization to cultural objects. 1910 marked a turning point in Gropius' career: he left Behrens' firm to strike out on his own in partnership with Adolf Meyer. In early 1911, they began work on the Fagus-Werk, the Fagus shoe-last factory in Alfeld-an-der-Leine. The building complex combines the solidity of the monumental construction Gropius so admired, with large glazed surfaces that provide natural light and air.