Bringing the Text to Life
Prefabricated concrete slabs.
These were the preferred building materials in East Germany, beginning in the 1960s. This communist country faced a severe housing shortage, so concrete slabs were used to build shoe-box-shaped residential apartments in a quick and economical way. The advantage of these slabs was that they could be used as the building blocks of a variety of structures, from high-rise towers to rows of low-rise apartments.
The buildings were called “plattenbau.”
After East Germany and West Germany reunited, the demand for these ugly but economical apartment buildings began to drop, and there are now about a million unoccupied units. While many plattenbau apartments are being renovated to meet a demand for more attractive housing, others are being torn down, and still others are falling apart.
Enter two young architects, the Biele brothers.
According to Fast Company (September 2006), these two are looking at the plattenbau apartments and...