IBA's “Models for a City”: Housing and the Image of Cold-War Berlin

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13 Scopus citations


The design competition mounted by the International Building Exposition promised to break new ground in the union of housing and architecture, but the city housing bureaucracy retained control over the interior layouts. The new thinking about housing suggested by the facade manipulations, then, was merely a shell over standardized apartment units. At the same time, the less-publicized urban renewal section of IBA rehabilitated thousands of nineteenth-century buildings with tenant participation, producing occasional new forms of communal dwelling that were rarely expressed on the exterior. Alongside the design of the individual buildings raged a debate about the form of the city. A return to the traditional fabric was defended by IBA leadership as a critical response to modern urban renewal, but it was criticized in turn by architects who saw in it the denial of Berlin's history of fragmentation and destruction. The IBA competition recounts the role of cultural production in Berlin's struggle for identity during the Cold War rather than the role of architecture in forging new directions for housing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-218
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Architectural Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Architecture
  • Education
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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