Stacked: Photos of Berlin’s Plattenbauten


Born in former West Berlin at the end of the 70s, self taught photographer Malte Brandenburg moved to Copenhagen in 2006, where he has lived and worked ever since.

He returns on a regular basis though, and continues to shoot his native city, seeing it these days through both native and foreign eyes. One of his aesthetic tropes is architecture, which let him to the project ‘Stacked’, for which he captures images of Berlin’s famed Plattenbauten (tower blocks).

“I always had a passion for architecture in general,” he says. “I like how different it can be and how architecture can affect places. I was interested in these tower blocks as they contain history for me in many ways. I had friends who lived in some of them when I was a kid. I passed some of them every morning on my way to school, university or work.

At the time I moved into my first apartment, “Berliner Altbau” flats became quite popular. A few years later some of the tower blocks became popular as well, especially the ones in the city centre – even though it was common knowledge that you should not hang around some of the other tower blocks, which is sometimes still the case.

This caught my interest at some point: why does this urban form of life work and sometimes not? How can an initially modern and beneficial architectural solution become a failure? Is it because of the concept, the building, the people, or other demographic aspects? I think it’s very interesting how we as a society evolve and how our way of life changes, with good and less good effects. I am convinced that architecture plays an important role in that, though it’s probably not the decisive element.”

Malte has also started working on a new project in Copenhagen that also focuses on  the changing cityscape, contrasting how the large tower blocks rise up between the low and older residential buildings. He also co-runs Copenhagen Format, a visual arts collective that supports emerging artists through pop-up gallery events and workshops.

You can find his website and more work here.

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