The post-war apartment buildings in Malte Brandenburg’s Stacked series tower over Berlin with their muted colors and forlorn designs. Built in the mid-20th century to provide modern and affordable housing to middle class families, these concrete stacks might looks identical to some, but to Brandenburg, he sees each housing estate as a separate entity, adorned with nostalgia and brimming with life.
“With Stacked I wanted to take a closer look at post-war housing estates in Berlin. They often have a bad reputation and many people see them as ugly buildings,” Brandenburg tells us. “In recent years though, the common interest is increasing, mainly because the city and neighborhood management institutions actively try to counter negative developments in these districts.”
The towers of Brandenburg’s series are all framed in a way that we never get to see the streets below, which he explains is to erase distracting elements such as graffiti, trees and other buildings. In doing this, each soaring skyscraper becomes a powerful piece of art that reminds us of a bygone era and the history jammed within.
While some Berlin residents are more inclined to find housing elsewhere, to Malte Brandenburg, the iconic housing estates of the city shine a light on Berlin’s past.
“For me it’s also about nostalgia,” Brandenburg adds. “These days people are crazy about “Berliner Altbau” and loft apartments, but I think these post-war buildings are an important part of Berlin’s history and when you look at them on a bright and sunny day, they are actually quite nice.”
All images © Malte Brandenburg