From ‘Workers’ Lockers’ to ‘Workers’ Palaces’ – Housing in the GDR

Strausberger Platz was a real flagship project for GDR architecture, with many East Germans hoping for a chance to move into one of the apartments. There were features in national newspapers and inaugural festivities to celebrate the arrival of the first tenants. Who were the apartments built for? ‘Workers who were allocated an apartment in the first socialist street as a reward for their achievements’ (Berliner Zeitung, 7 January 1953). A look at the alternatives available at the time shows why these apartments had such a powerful resonance as symbols of aspiration.

Poster for the reconstruction campaign of Berlin, reading ‘Get involved in the National Restoration Scheme’ – Source: Wilhelm Schubert, Plakat, 1952 | Berlin 1952 | Pinterest

Looking Back – The Evolution of Strausberger Platz

There are few other places in Berlin where history is as tangible as it is at Strausberger Platz. Today, the “wedding-cake style ” buildings give little indication of the monumental upheavals the square and its access road, Karl-Marx-Allee, have borne witness to over the years – destruction, reconstruction, demonstrations and, most recently, its renaissance as an urban hotspot. Let’s take a look back at the historical events that have made Strausberger Platz what it is today.

An example for the “wedding-cake style” at Strausberger Platz

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