Plattenbau(haus) is a site specific installation in the form of a painted construction billboard. It sits in a vacant lot advertising a forthcoming Plattenbau complex.
A city’s architecture can be used as a way to manage its identity, culture, and even memory. As a city grows it creates layers of architecture, some with competing narratives. In Weimar there are many periods of historical significance which are represented architecturally in their original forms or re-staged. Buildings deemed of no architectural or cultural significance are demolished or reworked to fit the desired narrative. As a result authentic-reproductions of 18th and 19th century buildings attempt to repair the narrative and effectively reset the city to an earlier time. There has been little or no attempt to reconcile the GDR era architecture into the narrative which has resulted in architectural pentimento.
The term pentimento is used in fine art to describe trace elements leftover from an alteration. In the same way that an under-drawing or original brush mark can reappear in an oil painting, the scars and remnants of past architecture appear throughout a city. This phenomenon is seen with the Plattenbau of Weimar West. They are regarded as a post-war GDR relic and have been effectively written out of the city’s desired touristic and cultural image. By contrast the 1920’s Bauhaus structure the Haus am Horn fits quite well within the narrative. It can be argued that this single building holds more significance in the narrative than the sum of all the GDR architecture.
Plattenbau(haus) depicts a Weimar West Plattenbau complex created entirely from repeating Haus am Horn units. In folding together these two structures its objective is to bridge the gap in the narrative and to highlight the process in which the city’s memory can be defined through the manipulation of architecture.