Prefabrication, modular building, cheap and fast construction – these are all hyped hallmarks of contemporary architecture, though many of the abandoned and berated buildings of today were formed in precisely this way decades ago. This curious concrete installation by Dagmar Schmidt pays ghostly homage to Plattenbau – once-prized prefab homes of days gone by.
During housing shortages in early East German history, this type of modular structure rapidly become popular. The pieces could be cast off site and the concrete slabs simply erected on arrival. What might now seem dull and dreary cookie-cutter apartment and condo complexes (often known today as Brutalist buildings) to the contemporary eye used to be affordable, clean new homes in high demand.
This particular installation strips one such structure to a single story and replaces decaying furniture, furnishing and fixture objects that populated the original rooms with more permanent copies of these artifacts cast in concrete – a kind of sculptural memorial to a domestic living situation that peaked in popularity but now boasts millions of abandoned units across the country.