Beautiful Ugly Berlin Housing Block

“Berlin, you can be so ugly. So dirty and gray…” Peter Fox sings in his Berlin anthem “Schwarzzublau”. The socialist housing block (Plattenbau) at  Memhardstraße, near Alexanderplatz, which inspired us to this Note Block (12 x 8 x 6 cm) is also called the “ugliest building of Berlin”. Nevertheless it is enjoying increasing popularity.  Let’s say it is just not conform to the common ideals of beauty. There is even a website for “Memi” (german) and an interesting blog post (english).

 

Ostblock mit Trabi (er) gummi

Ostblock mit Trabi(er)gummi

Notizblock / Ostblock / socialist housing block / note block

a note block named Ostblock

Like the socialist housing block – Berlin is not pretty in a traditional way, not a classic beauty. Even our former mayor Klaus Wowereit (known for the Berlin slogan “poor but sexy”) once said:  “God, this is ugly.” when he saw some new buildings at Alexanderplatz.

Plattenbauten – the architectural witnesses of the German Democratic Republic – have undergone several image changes. In their early days they were extremely popular. Hot water and central heating promised comfort and so the apartment blocks became popular through all social classes.

This changed after the German reunification. Vacancy, alcohol, violence and unemployment dominated the image of the socialist prefab buildings. The overweight long-term unemployed “Cindy from Marzahn” – a fictional character, performing in pink jogging suit is perhaps one of the most positive images that are associated with the socialist residential blocks. Plattenbauten are considered ugly, colorless and uniform .

But – this is slightly changing. Population growth and lack of affordable housing accelerate the image change. 2015 the British star architect David Chipperfiled says in an interview (german) “prefabricated buildings are ugly, but from a social perspective, they are also interesting.” Because prefabricated buildings can not be gentrifcated well – their buiding substance does not work for luxury apartments – even if they are located in the city centre like the block at Memhardstrasse. And so these grey, uniform, socialist residential blocks become keepers of a heterogeneous mix in inner cities. Who would have thought it would end up like this?

Notizblock / Ostblock / socialist housing block / note block

Notizblock / Ostblock / socialist housing block / note block

Notizblock / Ostblock / socialist housing block / note block

Notizblock / Ostblock / socialist housing block / note block

 

Berlin Poster & Art Prints from s.wert

Let’s start the new week with some good news – the s.wert designs are now available as posters. Stylish – urban and narrative.

Berlin Art Prints von s.wert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Schilderwald” – this Design Poster is so german. It shows a forest of traffic signs.
The view through our window in Berlin Mitte was the inspiration for that motif. Often we see people there, looking up in the sky – to one of these “traffic sign trees”  trying to understand when parking is permitted.

Berlin Collge City Print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this poster “Berlin Collage City” we featured Berlin at its best – a perfect mix of colourful Wilhelminian style facades, modern buildings like Potsdamer Platz and the tv tower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bierpinsel:This  poster is dedicated to the futuristic pop architecture icon ” Bierpinsel ” in Berlin Steglitz. The building was constructed in 1976 by ​​ Ralf Schüler and Ursulina Schüler-Witte  (the couple also built the ICC). 2011 the originally orange facade got a street art painting by  several street artists such as for example Flying Förtress, Sozyone, Honet and Craig ” KR ” Costello.

Kosmos Kino Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kosmos –This cosmic  poster in soft pastel shades is an hommage to the Kosmos cinema in Berlin’s Karl-Marx-Allee . The theater was inaugurated in 1962 and was the largest cinema of the GDR , it was designed by the architect Josef Kaiser and Herbert Aust

Alexanderplatz U-Bahnhof Poster Print

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Alexanderplatz This poster is for ” Berlin Connoisseurs ” , their trained eye will discover that this art print features the subway-station Alexanderplatz. As one of the largest crossing station in Berlin the subway station Alexanderplatz occupies a prominent position. The architect was Alfred Grenander.