In Defense Of Plattenbaus

(They’re not half bad when they’re renovated)

Plattenbaus, tower apartments and buildings built in East Germany, have a bad rep. People call them “ugly” and they’re widely believed to be unpleasant places to live. I find this a bit unfair. They’re relatively well-built, first off. However, my main defense of plattenbaus is: HAVE YOU SEEN APARTMENT BUILDINGS FROM THE ’70’s EVERYWHERE ELSE?

That’s right, apartment buildings and office towers from the ’70s are mostly horrible. They seem to look the same whether they’re in Canada, East Berlin, West Berlin, the US, or the UK. It’s like everyone in the decade got a memo that said “let’s build awful bricks of buildings that our children will hate later on, but be forced to live in because they’re cheap.” Yep.

Anyway, exhibit A, in Alexaderplatz, in former East Berlin:


And exhibit B, in Ernst-Reuter-Platz, in former West Berlin:


Are those buildings not equally ugly? Let’s not pick on plattenbaus, let’s pick on ’70s architecture everywhere.

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