Around 1900, Vienna was a vital centre for art and architecture, and Josef Hoffmann was one of its most influential figures. In 1897 he originated the Wiener Sezession, a movement which broke away from official artistic organizations, deriving its inspiration from Art Nouveau and the Jugendstil. Then in 1903 he created the Wiener Werkstätte, an ensemble of workshops and studios committed to non-industrial productions whose basic credo lay in establishing a direct relationship between the artist and craftsman. Hoffmann's cubic angular forms and rectilinear geometric style are well renowned in both his architecture and in the designs he created for interiors and furniture. He came to be considered Vienna's first architect, par excellence, but also worked abroad: many critics agree that his absolute masterpiece is the Stoclet building in Brussels, not to mention the pavilions he designed for the world fairs in Cologne (1914) and Paris (1925), and for the Venice Biennale of 1934. A member of the Academy of Berlin, he was a stalwart supporter of an international architectural style, designing urbanistic reconstruction and development plans for the cities destroyed by bombing raids during World War II