Almost everyone who grew up in the former GDR can tell stories about garages: about weekends that were spent in the garage yard, about the car that – acquired after a legendary waiting period – was mainly moved for the holiday trip to the Baltic Sea. Even today, cars are tinkered with here and neighbourliness is lived. Constructed through communal work, complexes that can consist of more than a thousand garages spread out along the edges of settlements and smaller garage complexes sometimes hide in the middle of a city.
In recent years, the interest in reappraising the architectural and planning history of the GDR has increased significantly. As representative examples of everyday GDR architecture and as biotopes of the everyday culture of the disappeared state, garages have received far too little attention. The Garage Manifesto now offers the first reappraisal of this multi-layered GDR legacy. Nine case studies illustrated with black-and-white photographs, drawings and site plans provide insights into the construction and planning methods of various facilities. An in-depth essay deals with the origins of the building typology and the threats this part of living GDR culture is exposed to today.
Finally, developments in historic preservation are also considered, with the message here being that cultural heritage does not simply exist but is made. The book is rounded off by a photo essay by Martin Maleschka.
Jens Casper is a Berlin based architect. He taught as an assistant professor at the TU Berlin, as a Unit Master at the Berlin Laboratory of the AA London, and as an adjunct lecturer and visiting professor at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg.
Luise Rellensmann is an architecture critic and architectural researcher. She is an assistant professor at the Department of Historic Preservation at BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg and was an adjunct lecturer at the University of Kassel.