The large East German prefabricated apartment buildings, known as ‘Plattenbau’ (compound of ‘Platte’ – panel and ‘Bau’ – building) on one hand were a cheap way to solve the country’s housing shortage, on the other hand they corresponded to the political understanding of socialistic living. Even though these apartments were considered highly desirable in GDR, since 1989 decreasing population and modern housing led to high vacancy rates. Many of the apartment buildings, at some places even entire living areas, are being torn down.
With her accessible architectural sculpture ‘Grabungsstädte’ (eng.: excavation) the German artist Dagmar Schmidt reminds of a time when these areas were filled with life, and she points to the problems of the changing social space.
She used the walls of one torn down building, the original footprint of six three-room apartments and refurnished them with concrete furniture. Like this Dagmar Schmidt created a beautiful metaphor for the disappearing substance of thousands of people’s homes.