23. May 2024

Architecture in the GDR

A lecture by Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Hering as part of the lecture series Baukultur in Marl


In the GDR, as in West-Germany, architecture began after the Second World War with the reconstruction of the destroyed cities. After East Berlin with the Stalinallee, it continued in the typical Ulbricht/Stalin architectural style in other major cities of the GDR. From 1953, the first new socialist city east of Berlin was built, Stalinstadt, later Eisenhüttenstadt. This is a good example of the development of residential buildings in the GDR - the quantity of new flats was never sufficient and the quality of the building fabric was constantly declining. Other new urban transformations followed in Schwedt, Hoyerswerda, Halle Neustadt and many new housing estates in the prefab style. Hering presents interesting museums, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and cultural centres, sports facilities, public authorities, television towers and high-rise buildings as well as industrial buildings.

Herbert Müller from Halle an der Saale and Ulrich Müther from Binz on Rügen developed internationally recognised concrete structures. Hering also looks at the careers of other important architects in the GDR. What did not achieve architectural excellence were owner-occupied homes. Some of the valuable building fabric was irretrievably lost. Shortly before the total collapse of the old town neighbourhoods, adapted reconstruction with prefabricated building elements was carried out in a few places after demolition. Hering goes into detail about such architecture in his home town of Quedlinburg. A number of prefabricated blocks in the new housing estates were demolished after reunification or lowered by a few storeys. Every visitor to the GDR will have perceived the building fabric as predominantly outdated, poorly maintained, grey and dirty. It was exemplary that what is so-called public property does not belong to anyone and the private owners either had no money or no materials to repair it. In most cases, there was a lack of both.

Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Hering was born in the GDR and is a passionate lover of architecture.

Baukultur in Marl is organised by the Skulpturenmuseum and the VHS in cooperation with the Initiative ruhrmoderne e.V.. The event will take place at 6.30 pm at the insel VHS (Wiesenstraße 22, 45770 Marl) in room P1 and is free of charge - please register at 02365/50356699 or