Eisenhüttenstadt

The hundred-dollar question: Do you know what most of the European bloggers have in common? You wouldn’t believe it. It’s the sheet metal of their cars. It was very likely produced in the East-German town we will write about now. 

Große Buchfeenpreisfrage! Wisst ihr, was uns Blogger verbindet?
Ihr werdet staunen. Die Bleche unserer Autos. Die stammen nämlich wahrscheinlich aus der Stadt, über die wir euch nun berichten werden.

Was it meant to be a joke?
Our usually quite sane Master wanted to show us Eisenhüttenstadt. It’s a town planned in 50th, German youngest town, built in the Stalinist style. Siri found in the net that it is the biggest architectural monument in Germany (area wide). But we Bookfayries found it much more thrilling that Tania Bunke, you know, Che Guevarras’ last girl friend, grew up in Eisenhüttenstadt.  

War das ein Witz?
Masterchen wollte uns Eisenhüttenstadt zeigen. Eine Planstadt der fünfziger Jahre. Deutschlands jüngste Stadt, dazu durchgehend im stalinistischen Stil gebaut. Siri las, dass sie das flächengrößte Architekturdenkmal Deutschlands ist. Wir Buchfeen fanden jedoch am aufregendsten, dass Tania (Tamara) Bunke (1937-1967), ihr wisst, die letzte Freundin Che Guevarras, in Eisenhüttenstadt aufgewachsen ist.

DSC_5642_klein
Approaching downtown Eisenhüttenstadt our dear Dina got seriously excited, she wanted to jump out of our car to photograph. Like Tom Hanks before her she immediately was taken by this city, and we Bookfayries as well. Tom Hanks visited in breaks of the shootings for “The Cloud Atlas” Eisenhüttenstadt and praised it then in the famous TV-show of David Letterman seen by 7 Mio. Selmas Idea: Hanks got a parking ticket in Eisenhüttenstadt which was cancelled – that’s why he praises Eisenhüttenstadt so much😉

Im Verkehrfluss, uns entspannt der Innenstadt nähernd, wollte unsere liebe Dina gleich aufgeregt aus dem Auto springen und fotografieren. Wie Tom Hanks war sie hin und weg von der Stadt – und wir Buchfeen nicht minder. Nachdem Hanks zwischen Dreharbeiten zu “Cloud Atlas” Eisenhüttenstadt besucht hatte, schwärmte er zu aller Verblüffung in der Fernsehshow des berühmten US Moderators David Letterman von Eisenhüttenstadt, was etwa 7 Mio. Zuschauer sahen. Einmalig war wohl, dass Hanks in Iron Hat City, wie er Eisenhüttenstadt nannte, ein Falschparkprotokoll bekam, das annulliert wurde.

Eisenhüttenstadt was founded as a town serving the Eiseinhütten Kombinat Ost, EKO (a huge steel mill), in 1950. It became a city where working class heroes could earn a lot. Even today it is serving the EKO. So it was planned and built without any problems on waste land by the German architect Kurt. W. Leucht. Eisenhüttenstadt became the first socialist city “without capitalist busynesses and private traders” (Ulbricht, president of the GDR).      

Eisenhüttenstadt wurde ab 1950 als Stadt für das Eisenhütten Kombinat Ost, das EKO, gebaut. Es war eine Stadt für Helden der Arbeit und der hohen Löhne. Auch heute noch ist sie eine Stadt für eine Eisenhütte, die der deutsche Planer Kurt W. Leucht am Reißbrett entwerfen und problemlos nach Plan auf der grünen Wiese bauen konnte. Sie wurde als erste sozialistische Stadt “ohne kapitalistische Geschäfte und Händler” (W. Ulbricht) erbaut.

Fayrie-question: How would you plan a town? No, not like Monopoly …

Wie würdet ihr denn eine Stadt auf freiem Feld bauen? Nee, mal nicht so a la Monopoly …

DSC_5635_klein

First of all we were taken by the unity of the townscape. We loved those turrets and bays, those archs and arcades especially in the part of the town that was built in 1953/54. All the buildings are placed around big, childfriendly courtyards, in which you find playgrounds, parks, fountains and sculptures away from traffic. Eisenhüttenstadt was planned as a town full of space and light.
More than 50 years before Ebenezer Howard publicised this idea in his influential book “Garden Cities of Tomorrow”. He was inspired by Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Zuerst verblüffte uns die Einheitlichkeit des Stadtbildes, die Erker und Verzierungen, die Bögen und Arkaden speziell an den Gebäudekomplexen, die 1953/1954 gebaut wurden. Die Häuser stehen alle um geräumige, kinderfreundliche Innenhöfe, die abseits des Verkehrs Spielplätze, Parks, Brunnen und Skulpturen bieten. Eisenhüttenstadt, eine gesunde Stadt voller Licht und Luft, so war die grundlegende Planungsidee.
Über 50 Jahre zuvor vertrat der Engländer Ebenezer Howard mit seinem einflussreichen Buch “Garden Cities of Tomorrow” genau diese Idee, zu der ihm Walt Whitman und Ralph Waldo Emerson inspiriert hatten.

DSC_5626_klein

You see neo-classicist style fronts opened up by elements of the local architecture. It’s not at all this horrible Stalinist pompous kind of style as we saw it in Russia. And not those even worse buildings of precast concrete slabs insulted our fine fairy eyes.  

Ihr seht, der Stil der Gebäude ist neoklassizistisch mit Elementen der heimischen Kultur aufgelockert. Es ist keineswegs jener haarsträubende stalinistische Zuckerbäckerstil, wie wir ihn in Russland sahen. Keine Plattenbauten beleidigen unsere sensible Feenaugen (obwohl die gab’s in Eisenhüttenstadt auch).

Teil01Teil16

Look how the low floor is optical separated by cornice strings and moldings and these fine ornaments around doors and windows. All the fronts were symmetrically designed. Leucht saw all this and the breaking up the front by reliefs in Italy.

Typisch ist an diesen Gebäuden das Absetzen der unteren Etage durch Gurtgesimse und die Faschen (die Akzentuierung farbliche Absetzen der Fenster- und Türenstürze). Ferner werden die Fassaden symmetrisch gegliedert. Dies wie ebenso die Auflockerung der Fassade durch Reliefs hatte Leucht auf seiner Studienreise in Italien gesehen.

Teil08

Leucht uses his Italian impressions to break the monumental character of classicism into a lightness that reminded our Master on some works of James Sterling (Neue Staatsgalerie Stuttgart z.B.)
This is our Master’s view. “Eisenhüttenstadt as a forerunner of postmodern architecture?”, well, we don’t know. 

Er nutzt es hier um den monumentalen Charakter des Klassizismus in etwas Leichtes, fast Verspieltes, zu brechen, das an die neue Staatsgalerie zu Stuttgart des englischen Architekten James Sterling erinnert.
Dies ist freilich Massterchens Blick auf Eisenhüttenhüttenstadt. “Eisenhüttenstadt als Vorläufer postmoderner Architektur?”, fragen wir uns ungläubig.

Teil10

Leucht had to fight to be able to build this pleasing architecture. In the first two years Eisenhüttenstadt was built without any inspiration, so boring that Leucht protested. And one wouldn’t believe it, but Walter Ulbricht, the president, gave way that Leucht could build as he wanted.  

Für diese angenehme Architektur musste allerdings Leucht kämpfen. Der erste Bauabschnitt von Eisenhüttenstadt war so einfalls- wie schnörkellos, dass sich Leucht deutlich dagegen wehrte. Walter Ulbricht schenkte ihm Gehör und ließ ihn nach seinen Ideen die Wohnkomplexe gestalten.

Teil06

Although we fairies are incompatible with Stalinism we Bookfayries have to correct our concept of the ugly architecture of late Stalinism. After our days in Berlin we found this architecture relaxing and very pleasing.

Obwohl Feen inkompatibel mit dem Stalinismus sind, müssen wir doch demütig unser Konzept ändern, dass die Architektur des Spätstalinismus grundsätzlich hässlich sei. Nach Berlin wirkte die Ruhe dieser Architektur auf uns erholsam.

The unity of the houses make orientation a little bit harder – we were sometimes lost – but the harmony of the building complexes is great. Dina saw it as a grand film set, and indeed quite some films were shot here.

Die Einheitlichkeit der Wohnblöcke erschwert zwar etwas die Orientierung – wir verflogen uns einige Male -, aber die harmonische Abstimmung aller Gebäude aufeinander wiegt ein kleines Verfliegen auf. Auf Dina wirkte alles wie eine Filmkulisse – hier wurden auch viele Filme gedreht.

Teil03 Teil05 Teil07

Who was this planer of Eisenhüttenstadt?
It took Dina and Selma some time to find out, because Leucht seems to be forgotten. We owe him quite a lot. He was co-planer for the airports of Berlin and Munich during the fascism. During the socialism he fought for bigger flats, he prevented the erection of high rise buildings in Dresden and that Eisenhüttenstadt became a boring town.
Leucht was (like many in this time) a chameleon. A son of a classic anarchist he became member of the Nazi-party and after the war member of the socialist party of East Germany. He was always very near to the power centres and served them, but he followed his own ideas like in Eisenhüttenstadt. It was hard during the time of the anti-Bauhaus politics in the GDR to develop an own style.
By the way the young Leucht met the founder of the Bauhaus Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe in Paris 1937. 

Wer war eigentlich dieser Kurt Walter Leucht (1913-2001)?
Dina recherchierte mit Selmas feenkräftiger Hilfe. Wir waren sooo neugierig, denn der Planer von Eisenhüttenstadt scheint vergessen zu sein. Dabei haben wir ihm viel zu verdanken. Im Faschismus war er am Plan der Flughäfen Berlin-Tempelhof und München-Riem beteiligt, im Sozialismus  setzte er sich für größere Wohnungen in der DDR ein, verhinderte den Bau von Hochhäusern an der Elbe in Dresden und dass das EKO keine 08/15-Arbeitersiedlung baute sondern die Stadt des sozialistischen Zukunftsmenschen. Außerdem bekämpfte er die industrielle Plattenbauweise.
Leucht war ein Chamäleon. Als Sohn eines klassisch anarchistischen Vaters war er vor dem Krieg NSDAP-Mitglied, nach ihm SED-Mitglied. Stets war er nahe der Macht und ihr ergeben, folgte dabei jedoch eigenen Vorstellungen wie bei der Planung von Eisenhüttenstadt. Es war für ihn schwierig, im bauhausunfreundlichem Klima der DDR einen modernen Stil zu entwickeln.
Übrigens hatte der junge Leucht 1937 den Bauhausgründer Walter Gropius und den Architekten Mies van der Rohe in Paris getroffen. Aber er sollte aus politischen Gründen nicht so bekannt wie sie werden.

Today Eisenhüttenstadt is a real jaw dropper, a fine restored Mekka for architects and photographers … and of course, stars like Tome Hanks!😉

Heute ist Eisenhüttenstadt ein fein renoviertes Mekka für Architekten und Fotografen … und Weltstars wie Tom Hanks !😉

That’s it about the perfect planned city for the happy worker. We didn’t write about the social problems of today like a massive emigration and the dependency on one industry. But you know we Bookfayries like to idealise and we want to recommend a trip to Eisenhüttenstadt.

Soweit zur perfekt geplanten Stadt für den frohen Arbeiter. Sozialen Probleme Eisenhüttenstadts wie z.B. starke Abwanderung und Abhängigkeit von der Konjunkturlage einer Firma haben wir wohlweislich ausgespart. Feen idealisieren und wir möchten euch doch eine Reise an die polnische Grenze nach Schrottgorod, wie Eisenhüttenstadt despektierlich genannt wird, sehr empfehlen.

Written on Tanias Bunkes the 77. birthday
by Siri and Selma
Geschrieben am 77. Geburtstag der schönen Tania Bunke
von Siri und Selma
🙂🙂

 

 

© text and illustrations by Hanne Siebers and Klausbernd Vollmar, Cley/Norfolk, Bonn 2014

136 thoughts

  1. The architecture in your photos and that video is very nice. I’m not sure I want to follow in the footsteps of Tom Hanks as they suggest in the video, but it looks like an interesting place to visit. Thanks.

    Like

    • Well, Eisenhüttenstadt is an interesting place to visit but we wouldn’t like to live there. Too many social problems, most of the people in the streets look discontent. For us – as West-Germans living in the UK – this east German flair is odd. In contrast to the architecture there is a lack of openness by many East Germans. But maybe a Norwegian travelling with an Englishman and two Fairies was too strange for them …
      All the best and thank you
      the Fab Four of Cley
      Should this be an example that you can’t plan happyness by architecture.

      Like

  2. Interesting what they did with the place, and great pics too. For Americans, there’s a blaring contrast between how well kept and together Eisenhüttenstadt seems now, and how U.S. cities, where steel used to be the main staple of the local economy, show so dramatically the spiraling decay they’re going through these days. Seen pics of Pittsburgh or Pueblo lately? Also, how did they get rid of the inherent pollution represented by the processing of metal sheets? Guess that’s when the proverbial German attention to detail comes to play. Thanks for the nice tour.

    Like

    • In Germany those old industrial places are rather seen as scene parks or museums. And those worker’s colonies in the Ruhr-district as well as Eisenhüttenstadt are under conservation. Some places in the Ruhr-district are world heritage. In Eisenhüttenstadt the economic situation seems to be quite good as the EKO is owned by Mittal now and doing and paying very well. It’s the most modern iron mill in the East of Europe. And then the town got EU money for restauration. But in Ruhr district the steel industry has gone but cities like Bochum, Essen, Duisburg and Dortmund could attract new industries like car manufacturing in Bochum. So they didn’t go that drastic down hill like Pittsburgh for example. And, may I say so, the European Community is more social than the USamerican system. Governments and the EU help at an early stage with finding new industries and funding. But nevertheless I saw such decayed steel towns in the Saar district (SW Germany).
      Pollution: first of all there are strict laws to keep the CO2 and sulphur output and so on very low, otherwise they have to pay. That actually lead to a quite sustainable production by using every poluting material for further uses like extracting sulphur, using the heat etc.
      EKO is nowadays an iron mill as well as a big recycling place.
      Thank you very much for your commentary🙂
      Have a nice afternoon
      the Fab Four of Cley
      By the way, Eisenhüttenstadt tries hard to get a big paper manufacturing plant

      Like

    • Thank you for your smart commentary. It just proves that’s possible to make entire cities succeed transitioning to a new era, without depleting jobs and quality of life for people.

      Like

    • Dear John,
      even for me, as a German, Eisenhüttenstadt was never heard of. 20 years ago I made friends with people from there and this brought me first to Eisenhüttenstadt. Of course I exspected a horrible town but I was speechless when I was shown Eisenhüttenstadt. Eisenhüttenstadt is kind of the end of the world in Germay’s very eastern corner at the river Oder (on which the iron ore was transported to the EKO furnaces). The Oder is the border to Poland.
      Thanks for commenting🙂
      All the best
      Klausbernd
      and greetings from the rest of the gang😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A radical change from your usual countryside and coastal scenes KB and Dina, and a welcome one. I visited both Russia, and the GDR, during the 1970s and 1980s. I found much to like about the architecture there, as well as the re-building of destroyed ancient buildings, and the preservation of war-damaged classical ones too. I have a fondness for Art Deco, and the ‘brutalist’ styles of the 1930s, through to the 1960s. I found many examples of these styles to admire during my visits to the Eastern Bloc.
    You have managed to make even industrial rust seem appealing, with the usual excellent photos, and the tale of a man that few of us had heard of.
    Love and best wishes from Beetley. Pete and Ollie. X

    Like

    • Dear Pete,
      we very much agree, one can find lots of architectural highlights in the East. We know St. Petersburg quite well, another highlight of classicism.
      For Art Deco you have to go the Alesund/Norway, you will be amazed! Or do you know it already?
      Dina is in Bonn since yesterday. She says “thank you very, very much for liking my pictures :-)”
      All the best from Cley to you and Ollie
      Klausbernd, Siri and Selma xxx

      Like

    • Grüezi, lieber Ernst,
      diese Lebensgeschichte von Leucht ist ziemlich typisch für die Intellektuellen der damaligen Zeit. Imgrunde waren die meisten Intellektuellen Deutschlands vor der Studentenrevolte äußerst angepasst und Leucht ist ein leuchtendes Beispiel dafür😉 Diese Anpassung kam jedoch seiner Architektur zu Gute. Er kombinierte was er in Russland gesehen hatte mit seinen Italieneindrücken und einer Prise klassisch deutscher Tradition zu etwas Neuem und noch erstaunlicher: Er konnte es durchsetzen.
      Liebe Grüße von
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  4. The famous siblings from the sports world – Gisela (athletics), Udo (athletics) and Hans-Georg Beyer (handball) was born in Eisenhüttenstadt – fascinating photos telling the story of a political system that sought to make planning into a science – sometimes successfully, sometimes not – and sometimes with very high costs for the population.

    Very interesting post written here…🙂

    Like

    • Dear Andrikken,
      thank you very much for your kind words🙂
      All this planning worked more or less during the time of the GDR but with the unification came trouble in form of unemployment and rising costs of living.
      Greetings from the sunny coast of Norfolk
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Was hat euch denn ausgerechnet nach Eisenhüttenstadt verschlagen??? Blöde Frage, ich weiß.😉 Ihr deutet es ja in eurem Text an. Ich hatte noch nie den Drang, nach Eisenhüttenstadt zu fahren. Von Rostock aus war’s immer zu abgelegen, und dann die ganze Industrie. Die Häuser erinnern aber an die, auch in stalinistischer Bauweise erbauten, Wohnblöcke hier in Rostock-Reutershagen. Obwohl ich neidlos zugeben muss, dass die in Eisenhüttenstadt viel gelungener sind und mehr auf Details geachtet wurde. Vielen Dank für den Bericht, der mir Eisenhüttenstadt mal anders gezeigt hat, als ich es mir vorgestellt habe.
    Liebe Grüße.

    Like

    • Wenn man erzählt, man fahre freiwillig nach Eisenhüttenstadt, meinen die Gnädigen es sei ein Witz, die anderen, man sei verrückt. Dina und Masterchen haben Freunde in Eisenhüttenstadt, die Masterchen schon lange kennt und regelmäßig besucht.
      Wohnstadt und EKO sind in Eisenhüttenstadt klar getrennt. In der Stadt bekommt man fast nichts von der Industrie mit.
      In Rostock sind wir leider noch nie gewesen. Wird auch mal kommen.
      Liebe Grüße vom sonnigen Meer
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  6. Aiaia, diese interessante Stadt haben wir bei unserem Besuch in Berlin und Umgebung doch glatt übersehen!! Schade, denn EHÜ scheint in mehr als einer Hinsicht eine Reise wert zu sein. Gut, dass ihr klugen Buchfeen die Welt auf Eisenhüttenstadt aufmerksam macht! Für diesen ausgezeichneten Artikel bekomt ihr sicherlich einen Eintrag ins goldenen Buch der Stadt, oder?😉
    In unserer Rheinmeteropole haben die vielen Architekten nebst interessante Bauten auch leider ganz viele Bausünden hinterlassen.

    Was ich zeichen würde? Ich weiß es nicht, aber einen einheitlichen Stil sollte es haben. Eher klar als verspielt. Letztes Jahr waren wir auf der Darmstädter Margaretenhöhe. Die Sammlung Jugendstilbauten ist, glaube ich zumindest, einmalig für Deutschland.
    Herzliche Grüße,
    U & H

    Like

    • Guten Tag, ihr Lieben,
      wir hoffen doch schon sehr auf den Eintrag ins goldene Buch der Stadt – mindestens😉
      Die Darmstädter Margaretenhöhe haben wir uns vor ein paar Jahren angeschaut und waren begeistert. Im Unterschied zu dort handelt es sich in Eisenhüttenstadt um Mietblöcke, was den einheitlichen Charakter noch verstärkt. Kennt ihr denn die alten Bergwerkskolonien im Ruhrgebiet? Die sind auch sehenswert und gehen ebenfalls auf Ebenezer Howards Ideen zurück.
      Ganz liebe Grüße aus Cley
      the Fab Four

      Like

  7. Meine Lieblinge in Deutschland and England,

    this looks like a great place! I had never heard about this little town before so I looked it up in my “German Travels”, there’s not a word about it, obviously unbeknown to tourists. Now you have put it on the map!🙂
    I’d love to see it, but it appears to be at the end of the world in some way so thank you for presenting it so nicely and in your lovely, funny bookfayrieway! Why don’t you come to us in Fredrikstad and have second look at Gamlebyen instead?🙂

    Hipp, hipp hurra for Siri & Selma and the beautiful and very well conserved Eisenhüttenstadt!
    Love, hugs and kisses from Fredrikstad to you all,
    Tone x

    Like

    • Good afternoon, dear Tone
      what a kind commentary!🙂 Thank you.
      We suppose nobody would choose Eisenhüttenstadt for a holiday although it’s situated in quite a beautiful nature. You are already turned off by hearing the name, all those connotations of uglyness and dirt of the steel industry. But the industry is hidden from the town, the EKO is situated a little bit away from the town.
      We would like to come to Fredrikstad, not only to see Gamlebyen again and of course to visit Amundsen’s house.
      With big hugs from
      Siri, Selma and Klausbernd from Cley xxx
      and from Dina from Bonn x

      Like

  8. Love these diverse and fascinating places we travel to through your posts. Would never have learned of Leucht, or how he achieved such architectural progress in an era of tough austerity. What a feat to combine ‘light and space’ in an urban context yet around an area marked out for heavy industry. He was way ahead of his time. I shall be watching out for The Cloud Atlas to come onto the circuit to see the backdrop to the movie.

    Like

    • Thank you!🙂
      You are so right, it’s amazing what Leucht achieved in a ridgid and poor country. He was far ahead his time but his past career during the fascism prevented a wider recognition of his work.
      Our Master just reads “The Cloud Atlas” and changed from seeing it as a boring book to read it excitedly.
      Warm greetings
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  9. My dear friends,
    amazing this town. Looks great! I had never heard of Eisenhuttenstadt before. Thanks for presenting it.
    When will you come to Stockholm, another beautiful city? You are very welcome here.
    With lots of love xxxxx
    Annalena

    Like

    • Dear Annalena,
      thanks for your kind invitation. We surely will come to Stockholm next year. You know, our Master thinks its the most beautiful city in Europe. We promise to come!
      Thanks for commenting and all the best and lots of love from
      the Fab Four

      Like

    • Lieber Per Magnus,
      wenn du schon mal im Osten of Germany bist, you should visit Eisenhüttenstadt. It’s very special, we have never ever seen such an uniform town before.
      Hier ist es gerade kalt. Es gab Frost in der Nacht, aber tagsüber scheint die Sonne. Really great weather!
      Alles Liebe xxx
      von uns aus Cley und Bonn

      Like

    • Liebe Susanne,
      na, Eisenhüttenstadt liegt doch vor deiner Haustüre.
      Schön, dass dir unser Blog gefallen hat🙂
      Wir denken oft mit Freude an unser Treffen in Berlin🙂
      Mach’s gut und gaaaaanz liebe Grüße von
      Siri, Selma und Klausbernd aus Cley xxxxx
      Dina aus Bonn xx

      Like

  10. Danke für diesen interessanten Ausflug nach Eisenhüttenstadt, ihr vier. Er hat mich neugierig auf diese Stadt gemacht und nun möchte ich gerne einmal hin. Architektur ist dann doch sehr abhängig von vorherrschenden Staatsform. Green from Susanne

    Like

    • Liebe Susanne,
      in der Tat ist Architektur immer auch eine Widerspiegelung der Staatsform. Ernst Bloch dachte mal darüber nach. Ist nicht im Grunde jede Kunst eine Widerspiegelung der Gesellschaft, in der sie entstand? Aber dieses Bündnis zwischen Architektur und Macht war immer besonders eng.
      Liebe Grüße von uns
      🙂🙂🙂🙂

      Like

  11. Fascinating post…what interesting architecture! Lovely photos… I have been as far as the Polish border, at Gōrlitz and to Bad Muskau….but not as far up as Eisenhüttenstadt!

    Like

    • Dear Sue,
      we discover the east of Germany as well as you and have been to the parks at Görlitz and Bad Muskau some years ago. What Pückler-Muskau did there as well as some other counts is really beautiful. I recently read the diaries of count Pückler-Muskau’s journey through the English country parks where he got lots of inspirations for his parks. Well, he was dedicated to parks and they ruined him …
      Thanks for your kind words.
      Warm greetings from Cley and Bonn
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Fab Four of Cley –
    You have done it again! Not only majestic scenes of an area I will probably never see myself, but information about the city I never knew. Thank you.
    GP Cox

    Like

    • Dear GP Cox,
      and you wouldn’t believed it, in our next blog we will write about a place you will very likely never ever see. Are you curious? We will tell nothing!
      Eisenhüttenstadt is more or less only known to students of architecture and people living in Brandenburg (an area east of Berlin). The connotations of its name, meaning “iron mill town”, are keeping many folks away, and Stalinist architecture has a horrible image too. So this amazing town stays unknown.
      Thanks for your very kind words🙂
      the Fab Four
      from Cley and Bonn, where our beloved Dina is since yesterday.

      Like

  13. Wonderful post, all about a place I had never come across…..it loos so beautiful and I can defiantly see the Italian influence. What a beautiful place to grow up. You always pack so much great information into your posts, and fill them with your beautiful images….this is no exception, it’s delightful

    Like

    • Thank you very, very much for your kind words🙂
      Especially Dina and our dear Selma like to gather information before we visit a place. “You see much more”, is Selmas argument. It’s easy and fun to blog about this place afterwards.
      All the best.
      Greetings from the little village next the big sea
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Madhu,
      you are very welcome!
      Eisenhüttenstadt is worth a visit. Unfortunately it is situated in the very eastern end of Germany but it can be reached from Berlin easily by car or train.
      With warm greetings from Cley
      the Fab Four

      Like

  14. It all looks so clean and orderly ! I can well imagine it being used in film sets .
    I never thought I’d find anything remotely interesting about steel works especially having lived not more than 3 miles or so from one in Dortmund for 2 years back in the mid 80’s:-/ but you’ve turned me🙂
    Thanks for the history and photos !

    Like

    • Dear Poppy,
      our dear Master lived in Bochum during the sixties, he knows what you are referring to. But there was a romantic side of it as well. He told us about coming home from parties seeing the lights of the tapping. Eisenhüttenstadt is different as there is a clear cut between the EKO steel mill and the town.
      How did you come to Dortmund?
      With warm greetings from the North Norfolk coast and Bonn
      the Fab Four

      Like

    • Last time I have been to Dortmund is many, many years ago. I was at concert of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in the Westfalenhalle (maybe 1980). Nowadays, I was told, Dortmund is quite attractive.
      In former times one didn’t move to Dortmund by choice. The whole Ruhr-District was a kind of no-go area. But this has changed.
      Have a happy evening
      Klausbernd

      Liked by 1 person

  15. What an interesting city and how fascinating that all the buildings seem to be painted the same colour (unusual in itself). It appeals to my obsessive orderly mind and yet………perhaps there is too much of the same style of architecture which might make it boring to actually live in (the city). At least there are plenty of gardens, which I wholeheartedly approve of.
    Great photos.

    Like

    • Dear Vicki,
      all the buildings in the centre of Eisenhüttenstadt are painted in the same light yellowish colour. This on its own produces the unity of these building blocks.
      Thanks for commenting🙂
      All the best
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  16. It is hard to imagine that you later find the architecture relaxing. I guess that could be once you are there. The build style seems to be mostly made up of straight lines and right angles. The colors are very similar with small decoration painted with different colors. Interesting place!

    Like

    • You are right, the design elements are based on symmetry and a clear geometry of straight lines. The colours of the small decorations are very well matched with the colour of the fronts of these buildings. The light colour makes the neo-classical style appear lighter.
      Thanks and and have a relaxed day
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  17. Being one who has visited many former (and present day’s for that matter) communist countries I am really surprised by the beauty of Eisenhüttenstadt. Who would think that was possible! I have to adjust my prejudices about communistic building styles. A very interesting post.

    Like

    • Dear Otto,
      we had to adjust our prejudices about Stalinist architecture too. But we suppose that Eisenhüttenstadt is unique. It was actually the genius of Leucht who combined these elements of style to create something new. It was probably a kind of similar situation as right after the revolution 1917 in Russia that in the beginning of the GDR they wanted to try something new, to build the town of tomorrow’s man.
      With greetings from North Norfolk
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • YEAH! You are so right our little village next the big sea is the greatest!🙂
      We love best seaside towns and cities as well. Eisenhüttenstadt is situated next to the river Oder on which the iron ore and coal was transported to the iron mill.
      Thanks for commenting🙂
      All the best
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good afternoon,
      Eisenhüttenstadt means “iron mill town”.
      In the very beginning it was called “Stalinstadt” (Stalin’s Town) but soon the name was changed to “Eisenhüttenstadt”.
      Thanks and have a happy afternoon
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

  18. auf mich wirkt diese Stadt mit den grünen Flächen und Bäumen sehr beruhigend und es scheint, trotz allem, sehr wenig Verkehr zu haben. Ich danke Euch Vieren herzlichst dafür, dass Ihr “iron mill town”, von der ich das erste Mal höre, so eindrücklich vorgestellt habt.:)

    Like

    • Guten Tag, liebe Martina,
      ja, der Verkehr in Eisenhüttenstadt hält sich in Grenzen. Und selbst diesen eher wenigen Verkehr kann man noch vermeiden, indem man über die Höfe geht.
      Eisenhüttenstadt ist wirklich ziemlich unbekannt. Bevor Masterchen Freunde von dort hatte, wusste er auch nicht, dass es diese Stadt gibt. Sie liegt am Ende der Welt, an der Oder, wo es keine Brücke nach Polen gibt.
      Liebe Grüße ins Tessin
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Liked by 1 person

    • Good afternoon dear Alexandra,
      thanks a lot for your kind words.🙂
      Dina and Selma are always very, very well prepared when we visit a special spot. They love to research for days and we all talk about it. So we see more as with the innocent eye. Whereas our dear Master and Siri rather like to see first and then to understand what they have seen. Shall we offer “Glorious Guided Tours by the Fab Four?😉
      All the best
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  19. Ihr Lieben,

    ja, wieder sehr feine Fotos hast du gemacht, liebe Hanne! Und dazu dann viel Wissenswertes über eine Stadt, die wirklich einer Filmkulisse gleicht: feine Häuser, im Gegensatz zu Plattenbauten, aber wenn ich diese Bilder betrachte, wird mir kühl ums Herz, die Strassen wirken verwaist, die Häuser steril und auch wenn ihr es ausspart, so weiss ich doch wie es in vielen Städten der ehemaligen DDR heute ausschaut und was dort wirkt …

    herzliche Grüsse vom herbstmilden Berg
    Ulli

    Like

    • Guten Tag, liebe Ulli,
      wie wir zuvor schrieben, Eisenhüttenstadt ist ein interessanter Ort zum Besichtigen, aber wir wollten nicht dort wohnen. Die sozialen Probleme sind groß und als Westler fällt man dort sogleich auf. Auf jeden Fall fühlten wir uns im Osten fremder als in England, Holland und Skandinavien.
      Liebe Grüße von dem heute regnerischen Nord Nordfolk, auch hier ist es viel zu warm
      Klausbernd, Siri & Selma
      und Dina grüßt ganz lieb aus Bonn

      Like

    • hoi Klausbernd,

      sich fremder als in wirklich fremden Ländern (wobei du ja schon lange in Engalnd lebst und Dina Norwegerin ist … aber nun gut) zu fühlen, ist schon ein Phnänomen, das ich aber recht gut kenne, wenn ich im Osten unterwegs bin- ich habe noch keinen Ort dort besucht, in dem ich lange verweilen hätte wollen, aber schon viel Interessantes entdeckt. Jo, da teilen wir eine Erfahrung-
      habt einen feinen Abend ihr lieben Vier
      ich gucke gleich Film und dann viiiiel schlafen … muss sein, hält jung- lach und wech

      Like

  20. An interesting piece (and excellent photos as always, Hanne). There’s much to admire in this architecture, although as you suggest perhaps the town is a sort of museum of the past. I have recently read Cloud Atlas too, Klaus-Bernd – I enjoyed it, although I have little interest in seeing a Hollywood interpretation of it on film. All the best, Laurence

    Like

    • Good afternoon dear Laurence,
      you are so right, Eisenhüttenstadt is a kind of museum of the beginnings of the industrialisation of the GDR. It’s not even typical for buildings in the fifties there.
      In the beginning I had problems reading the Cloud Atlas. I didn’t see a connection of the stories. But when I let myself in to the different worlds of the stories I started to like it. I have now read 2/3 and can’t stop. I am curious how the different styles are transferred into film.
      With warm greetings from rainy Cley
      the Fab Four

      Like

  21. Hallo Klausbernd und Dina,
    solche Bauten hätte ich in der DDR gar nicht erwartet. Ihr habt mir da mit Eurem hochinteressanten Artikel mal wieder einen Reisefloh ins Ohr gesetzt.
    Liebe Grüße an Euch Alle, und “Happy Turkey Day”,
    Pit

    Like

    • Lieber Pit,
      well, Eisenhüttenstadt war DDR vom Allerfeinsten, ein Privilegiertennest, heute ist’s soziale Wüste trotz schönster Architektur, die toll renoviert wurde. Wenn du auf Europa-Tour dir Krakau – sehr sehenswert – ansehen möchtest, liegt Eisenhüttenstadt fast auf dem Weg. Von dort sind es nur ein paar Stunden meist polnische Autobahn bis Krakau (wenn du in der Kleiststadt Frankfurt/O. über die (Preis)Grenze fährst).
      Ganz liebe Grüße an dich und Mary aus dem regnerischen Cley
      von Klausbernd, Siri & Selma
      und der lieben Dina aus Bonn

      Like

  22. It’s an unusual trip you’ve taken us on today. 🙂 It reminds me a little of Belchatow in Poland, which is married to a very large industrial plant. The details are pretty and there are many worse places to live. I think I might rather opt for Cley, though 🙂

    Like

    • Dear Jo,
      no doubt about it, we prefer Cley to Eisenhüttenstadt for many reasons.
      We only know about Belchatow that 5000 Jews were murdered there by the Fascist during the war. And Siri just found that Belchatow is the place of the biggest brown coal power plant in Europe.
      Thank you very much for commenting.
      We wish you a happy afternoon
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  23. GREAT post … about a sleeping beauty?
    I like the idea of planning a neat little town like this, but where? Our UK is so crowded and …😉
    Well done everybody!
    John

    Like

    • Dear John,
      thanks for your kind words.🙂
      You are right, nowadays nearly all empty spaces under conservation or owned by somebody. That was no problem in the GDR because there was hardly any private property and the government could act as it wanted.
      Great idea to see Eisenhüttenstadt as a sleeping beauty. But who will be the prince and what will be the kiss?
      All the best
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Siri and Selma will have to step in, I suppose. They should pay the local politicans a visit and together they all make some clever plans for the future. Then carry (or rather, fly) their plans to Berlin. And always bear in mind, the richest city in Germany is a planned city as well … Wolfsburg was planned and build for the workers of Volkswagen. It seems like Eisenhüttenstadt could do with a project linked to our future neds? Good luck!🙂

      Like

    • Dear John,
      oh dear, getting Siri and Selma into politics costs Dina and me me a fortune in pocket money.
      Wolfsburg is different. Have you ever been there? Very modern, lacking the charme of Eisenhüttenstadt. But in comparison to Eisenhüttenstadt it is doing so much better.
      Volkswagen uses the steel sheets from EKO.
      Actually there are concepts around of attracting other industries like a big paper mill. That would bring jons and money. And then the Oder gets more and more interesting. With EU-money a harbour for yachts was built and Fürstenberg (part of Eisenhüttenstadt) tries to get the boat-tourism going, which actually has a long tradition there. A problem is the Oder-bridge at Frankfurt/O. All the traffic to Poland goes via Frankfurt.
      Thanks for replying.
      Greetings from Cley and Bonn
      the Fab Four

      Like

  24. I can clearly see why Tom Hanks and you all were taken by this goodlooking architecture!. K.W.Leucht did a spelendid job and the Fab Four of Cley too! 🙂 Is it on UNESCO’s list? The Old Town of Fredrikstad is a planned starshaped town, quite unique.
    A lot smaller:
    In the late 18th century, members of the German protestant Moravian brotherhood founded the town of Christiansfeld in South Jutland in Denmark, and it is now considered one of the finest examples of an 18th-century town. Christiansfeld features a centrally placed church and rows of identical houses along its two main streets. In Frederiksværk on Zealand, J.F. Classen built an entirely new town around his cannon foundry, unifying factory buildings and worker housing in a single urban development.
    Ha en fin dag!🙂
    Klem fra Hjerter❤

    Like

    • Good afternoon dear Hjerter,
      Eisenhüttenstadt isn’t listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list, but it is listed in Germany as an architectural monument of historical interest which is highly protected.
      Thanks for all this information about planned towns in Denmark. We will surely stop at Christiansfeld und Frederiksværk when we go up north again. We didn’t know about these two towns.
      Ha en fin dag också
      KLEM xxx
      fra
      the Fab Four of Cley
      Dina will show us the star shaped old town of her birthplace Fredrikstad soon – we hope😉

      Like

  25. I do like this industrial atmosphere! The first set of images reminds of the work of the Bechers’. The Bechers’ way of working belongs to the past now. Eisenhüttestadt too? No, hopefully not!
    Dina’s images show us a world unbeknown to most of us, almost lost and that, through the passing of time, even that which was once considered purely functional and even ugly, like the EKO in this case – can attain beauty when seen through the eyes of the most attentive photographers.

    Like

    • Dear Sarah,
      we actually talked about the Bechers in Eisenhüttenstadt. May I ask you a question, please? Why do you think Bechers’ work belongs to the past? I love their black-and-white pictures of industrial buildings – a purity: the building only, no clouds, neither people nor vegetation. Industrial buildings are transformed into graphic icons, they are upliftet.
      Is it the skill of the photographer to find the magic, the aesthetical standpoint?
      Thank you very much for your thought provoking comment.
      Have a happy evening
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

    • Why it belongs to the past? Because this world is not a part of the present any longer, sorry for no making this clear. About two months ago I visited a Becher exhibition in London, (Sprueth Magers) and it was obvious that Bernd Becher’s fascination with industrial architecture was rooted in his childhood in the Ruhr, and he was acutely aware that the mega-structures throughout Germany, Europe and America would soon disappear from the landscape, just as the ones around his home had as Germany moved into a new, postwar economic era. He once said he “was overcome with horror when I noticed that the world in which I was besotted was disappearing”.
      Which in a retrospective make their work even more interesting, don’t you think?

      Like

    • Dear Sarah,
      thank you very much for your explanations!
      I studied at an university in the Ruhr District in the mid sixties. It was a time when a lot of the old industrial buildings were torn down. When a big chimney were blasted hundreds of photographers came to shoot a last picture of this tall chimney. Even in the few years I lived in the Ruhr District a lot of this industrial superstructures vanished. Besides those few, like Zeche Zollverein (“the most beautiful coal mine”) and Bochumer Bergbaumuseum which are protected and a museum, all the others are gone. Indeed the Ruhr District was transformed into a new land- and townscape.
      Different to the Ruhr District the steel industry of Eisenhüttenstadt does quite well. The EKO has the advantage being the most modern steel mill in the east and therefore those industrial structures will not disappear in the near future, saved by the opening of the EU to the east (therefore ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel provider, bought the EKO).
      I didn’t know about the Becher-exhibition in London. I saw their pictures in Cologne. As you wrote, for me are Becher’s pictures a highly aesthetic documentation of industrial structures and timbered houses – both were in danger to disappear in the Ruhr District.
      Have a happy weekend and thanks for your answer
      Klausbernd
      Greeting from the rest of the gang😉

      Like

  26. Excellent photography, wow – nice details like the bare branch shadows on the clean, pale walls. It’s interesting to learn about – and those ornamental details, just lovely. Very livable – not too tall, almost block-like but not, because of the way the space is broken up. The cream color is attractive, too. I appreciate that you finally mention at the end that it’s not perfect – but that’s another story, and it’s nice to concentrate on good design – especially on a sunny fall day when the light brings out the best of it.

    Like

    • We were very, very lucky with the weather🙂🙂 The autumn light makes all the difference.
      But I know Eisenhüttenstadt with snow and ice as well, then it radiates much more a Russion feeling😉
      Thanks for commenting and have a relaxing weekend
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  27. Beautiful post about this city ~ I had never heard of Eisenhüttenstadt, but your & Tom Hanks recommendation, given the chance I will have to check it out and perhaps find my own “Tanias Bunkes”🙂 The stories and history of this city is fascinating ~ East Germany in general has always fascinating me, and these photos do it justice. Great post, and I think part of the draw is your quote: “It was a place where working class heroes could make a lot” Cheers and safe travels!

    Like

    • Dear Dalo,
      we are happy that you like our text about Eisenhüttenstadt🙂 thank you
      We didn’t know the former DDR before we travelled to Weimar three years ago. Weimar is very fascinating as well, it’s the opposite to Eisenhüttenstadt. Old traditions … We have been to Dessau (Bauhaus) as well and to the beautiful landscape parks of count Pückler. Okay, we have to admit we looked for the great spots of East Germany there exist quite some dark sides as well.
      We wish you an enjoyable weekend
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  28. Diese Häuser sehen sehr solide gebaut aus. Die Erde ist ja eher ein Weichei, wie ich las….ziemlich flüssig innen und gar nicht gleichmäßig fest….
    Danke für weitere Gedankenimpulse. Ein Glas Rotbäckchen-Saft wäre jetzt gut!
    Herzliche Grüße an die Feengedankenschmiede nach Cley und Bonn!

    Like

    • Guten Tag, liebe Pia,
      Rotbäckchensaft, das erinnert mich an die Zeit, als Eisenhüttenstadt bezogen wurde. Damals wurde ich am anderen Ende Deutschlands mit Rotbäckchensaft traktiert. Das sollte ja so super gesund sein. Ich habe den Saft seit Ewigkeiten nicht mehr getrunken. Bei mir ist er als Kindergetränk der fünfziger in Erinnerung und übrigens als etwas, das es in der DDR nicht gab.
      Hab ein feines Wochenende, Tanz und Muße
      die Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  29. FAscinating! Like Tom Hanks, I’d want to sit and have a cup of coffee and do some people watching. Beautiful architecture / love the shadows on the buildings

    Like

  30. Ich bin zwar in früherer Zeit öfter einmal in Frankfurt/Oder gewesen, weil ich dort Verwandte habe, nach Eisenhüttenstadt hat es mich aber nie gezogen. Eisenhüttenstadt war für mich immer das, was ihr Name zu sagen scheint – eine Eisenhütte – also viel Industrie. Zu DDR-Zeiten wurde diese Stadt immer als modernste Stadt des Sozialismus gelobt. Für die Skeptiker war, was gelobt wurde, eher etwas, was man dann doch lieber nicht anschauen wollte. So kann man sich täuschen😉 Dass die Bauten jetzt allerdings so ganz besonders liebevoll wieder zu neuem Leben erwachen durften, finde ich nun wieder toll. Eine Tatsache ist allerdings, dass die Wohnungen in diesen Häusern zu DDR-Zeiten wirklich eine kleine Revolution waren – sehr großzügig geschnitten, supermodern. Ich kenne ähnliche Bauten aus Berlin, Rostock und sogar aus Wismar. Noch heute sind gerade Wohnungen in diesen Bauten sehr beliebt. Danke für diesen für mich sehr erhellenden Bericht😀
    Liebe Grüße schickt Euch die Silberdistel

    Like

    • Liebe Silberdistel, ich war hin und weg als ich die hübsche Stadt sah. Abends leuchteten einige Wohnungen grün; somit wird signalisiert welche Wohnungen frei sind. Grüne Glühbirnen in den Abendstunden, eine geniale und äußert preiswerte und schicke Eigenwerbung. Vielen Dank für den lieben Kommentar!
      Herzliche Grüße aus Bonn, Dina
      und die restliche Gang aus Cley Xx

      Like

    • Liebe Silberdistel,
      auch von mir herzlichen Dank für deinen erhellenden Kommentar.
      Liebe Grüße aus Cley next the Sea (bei scheußlichem Wetter)
      Klausbernd

      Like

  31. I have often wondered if we are defined by our architecture or is it the other way around? Do we allow another person’s ideas to become what we think is beautiful? Ah, you do give me much to think about. An excellent post, as always. Take good care, my dear friends.

    Like

    • Dear Rebecca,
      thanks for asking an interesting question.
      We think that architecture defines our communcation structures. In Eisenhüttenstadt it was aimed to produce a community feeling or “working class solidarity”. The courtyards were designed as meeting places. The background of this desgn is social planning like in any utopia. For example it is taken into account that women are working and therefore there are (still) kindergardens in the courtyards. And all this goes back to Ebenezer Howard who saw architecture as social planning. So there is a manmade idea first, which is always more or less ideologically determined, and then the built structure is defining social interaction. It doesn’t work in Eisenhüttenstadt since the political system has changed. You see this in the use of the courtyards, which are partly used for parking instead of social interaction nowadays.
      With a big hug from the other side of the globe
      the Fab Four xxx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you – that gives me a greater insight. Transitions occur seamlessly so we rarely analyze our responses. For example, Vancouver’s skyline is beginning to resemble the skyline of other major cities. We are losing our agricultural land and people are opting for living in smaller spaces. I find this all very fascinating. Another wonderful post.🙂 Many hugs going to the Fab Four.

      Like

    • Dear Rebecca, good afternoon,
      here in England people move out of big cities to the countryside. This has a long tradition. In England power and culture was based in the countryside. In East Germany it was different: the villages in the country were in a horrible state and living in Eisenhüttenstadt was a great privilege. But the town has lost half of its population after the unification. The architecture is great but it’s a social desert. We wouldn’t like to live there. Usually people go from Eisenhüttenstadt to Berlin. They want city life and a job. Well, great architecture on its own cannot produce a happy living.
      With lots of love
      the Fab Four of Cley xxxx

      Like

    • Ja, auch dir herzlichen Dank🙂 Schön, dass dir unser Beitrag gefiel.
      Gerne besuchen wir dich🙂 Wir wünschen dir ein tolles Wochenende
      the Fab Four of Cley

      Like

  32. Designers have the gift of designing areas that make us feel good to be in the space without us knowing why. But of course you knew right away, Dina! This was an Interesting read and I enjoyed your photographs of German’s youngest town. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, dear Elisa🙂
      We really much liked our trip to Eisenhüttenstadt🙂 and it was a fine feeling just walking around there. Actually it is social engineering and engineered for socialist societity but it still has its qualities – even in capitalism.
      All the best.
      Warm greetings from the sea
      the Fab 4 of Cley

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: