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Cinema “Kosmos”, Berlin-Friedrichshain, 1961-1962, Architects: Josef Kaiser / Günter Kunert, © Institute for Regional Development and Structural Planning Erkner, Photographer unknown

Architecture in the East and architecture in the West – how close were they to one another and how far apart did they diverge? Thirty years after the reunification of Germany, the touring exhibition “Two German architectures 1949–1989” at the international cultural relations institute ifa (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen) takes a look at architecture in the Federal Republic of Germany and the German Democratic Republic, a theme that remains relevant to this day. Numerous models, photographs and plans trace the development of architecture over the four decades of division, with the show also recognising the joint reconstruction efforts of the post-war period. The exhibition aims to highlight commonalities and differences in architecture between 1949 and 1989 in the East and West, identifying specific achievements, and avoiding judgement in the comparisons it draws. Ultimately, this look into the past is designed to also enable new perspectives on the discourse in architecture today.

“Two German architectures 1949–1989” was produced in 2004 as part of Germany’s cultural relations policy. At that time, 14 years after reunification, this was the first ever combined exhibition of the architectural achievements in the two German states – a unique project for the united Germany. After its premieres in Hamburg and Leipzig, the exhibition was shown in 26 cities around the world, including Istanbul, Athens, Malaga, Canberra, Singapore, Bandung, Shanghai, Beijing and Buenos Aires. The exhibition curated by Simone Hain and Hartmut Frank is currently running until 13 September at the Galerie Waidspeicher, one of the art museums in Erfurt. Admission is free.

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