The origins of Strausberger Platz’s “Gingerbread” architecture

The buildings around Strausberger Platz in Berlin are an impressive example of 1950s East German architecture. The so-called “gingerbread style” is a lasting legacy of the past, viewed around the world as representative of socialist influenced architecture. The buildings around Strausberger Platz may be unique in their form and arrangement, but there are further architectural examples all over the world that bear testament to the fact that the spread of this characteristic architectural style, which is also known as Socialist Classicism or Stalinist architecture, was not constrained by national borders.

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The Hochhaus an der Weberwiese – Berlin’s Original “Gingerbread”

Berlin, 1951. In both parts of the divided city, streetscapes resembles the toothless smile of an old crone. Reconstruction is a hot topic, although there is no consensus on the shape it’s supposed to take. East German leaders want a nine-storey residential tower block with state-of-the-art amenities at Weberwiese. The building project “is a political manifestation of the new country’s determination to build a socialist future. It was designed to showcase the GDR’s distinctive architectural style,” as the art historian Peter Müller explains in a 2015 documentary for RBB Radio. However, this distinctive new style had yet to be created.

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