Mural Art – Martin Maleschka’s Plattenbau Photos

East German pre-fab architecture is not high on most people’s list of aesthetic delights. However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and there are those who find these buildings constructed out of concrete slabs endlessly fascinating – among them the architect and photographer Martin Maleschka, whose pictures show that, far from being drab and monochrome, Plattenbau design in fact came in many shapes and colours.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

A Lifelong Passion for Pre-Fab
Martin Maleschka grew up in the new town of Eisenhüttenstadt in a pre-fab building. He went on to study architecture and develop a strong interest in this particular building style, and in the artworks adorning the walls of many of its finest specimens. For years, he has been roaming Germany’s former Plattenbau hotspots looking for buildings that haven’t been refurbished, which he then photographs and exhibits on Flickr to document an art form that is in danger of being eradicated as buildings are torn down or modernised. His photographs have been shown in and outside Germany and made him a name as an expert on East German Plattenbau art.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

Under the East German socialist regime, 2 percent of the total cost of any construction project was earmarked for artworks on or inside the buildings. Accordingly, most new buildings had some kind of special feature, although not all were as stunning as this mosaic mural depicting a cosmonaut on a wall in Schwedt an der Oder.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

Strausberger Platz is famous for its iconic architecture and the artistic design of the fountain.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

The facades of many buildings were adorned with mosaics like this one, which depicts a white dove, and elaborately designed windows.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

Geometric shapes arranged in artistic designs transformed ordinary buildings into distinctive works of art.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka

Many of these unique artworks have already been lost to refurbishment and modernisation schemes. Martin Maleschka’s photos pay loving homage to these iconic remains of a bygone era and preserve their memory for the benefit of future generations.

Martin Maleschka
©Martin Maleschka