Concrete Rooflessness

  • This concrete floor installation in Halle, Germany, is one of the most interesting pieces of public art I’ve seen. Created by Dagmar Schmidt, the ‘Grabungsstaedte’ represents a profound memory of German Plattenbau architecture.

    She decided to remove five residential floors of a classic Plattenbau building. Most of the walls remained, some were demolished to create entrances to the rooms. After the structural transformation of the building, the rooms were filled with furniture made of recycled concrete, such as stools, beds, couches, and sinks. What rested was a concrete floor plan of an old Plattenbau flat with preserved traces of use.

    Plattenbau Open Air Living Room, Halle

    Grabungsstaedte

    Plattenbau refers to the great numbers of mostly public housing buildings constructed of large, prefabricated concrete slabs. Prefabrication was pioneered in the Netherlands after World War I, based on construction methods developed in the United States. However, you’ll find by far the most Plattenbau buildings in Germany.