GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Rental Barracks on Kastanienallee in the Prenzlauer Berg Neighborhood of Berlin (1880s)
Rapid urbanization from mid-century onward resulted in rental barracks [Mietskaserne] like the one pictured here, which were designed to pack as many housing units as possible into the smallest possible space. Often, the inner courtyards were so tiny that they barely met the building code, which was based on the radius of a fire-hose’s spray. The unwillingness of politicians to intervene on behalf of working-class tenants and the pressure on landlords to meet the demands of lending banks ensured that almost no provisions were made for adequate light, ventilation, and green space. Conditions worsened as more and more tenants took lodgings in the cellars and attics of these buildings. This model was made from wood and plaster.