“Made from prefabricated concrete panels, they were churned out fast and cheap in a handful of blankly functional, almost indistinguishable designs, usually five to 11 storeys high, arranged in long, relentless blocks.”
[Image: Germany Online].
They’re Germany’s Plattenbauten, or towering and monotonous slab houses, and they’re increasingly standing empty.
“What to do with a tower block that no one wants to live in?” an article in The Guardian asks. “The solution: pull it down, slice it up, turn it into pleasant family homes.”
As Der Spiegel explains: “Eastern Germany’s population is shrinking and leaving hundreds of thousands of empty buildings behind. With plans afoot to demolish 350,000 apartments worth of hideous, communist-era buildings made from pre-fab concrete, a Berlin architectural firm is recycling the material into immensely livable single-family homes.”
That firm, Conclus, is literally re-using the intact walls, floorplates, and ceilings of these Plattenbauten, putting old modules into new designs, like puzzle pieces. “The only thing we have to do is take the wallpaper off them,” says Conclus founder Hervé Biele.
[Images: From Conclus].
Meanwhile it’d be interesting to see if you could take apart the Empire State Building, floor by floor. You could then purchase the 54th floor, and the 54th floor only, and have it transported to you, on a piece of land outside London or in the Scottish Highlands – where you could live in it, floorplan-intact.
Or you could buy an office on the 63rd floor of Taipei 101 – and have it removed, shipped to you in Arizona. The global real estate market becomes a weird spectacle of moving rooms, intact, decontextualized, shipped elsewhere.
(Via Archinect‘s unflappable Bryan Finoki).