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German History in Documents and Images
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The "Kino International" and the Hotel Berolina (background) on Karl-Marx-Alle, East Berlin (1964)
Starting in 1952, the section of East Berlin’s Karl-Marx-Allee between Strausberger Platz and Frankfurter Tor was transformed into a grand, representative avenue in the style of Socialist Classicism; it was modeled on the Stalinist architecture of the Soviet Union. Beginning in the mid-1950s, two factors converged – Soviet-sponsored de-Stalinization and new economic imperatives – to force a change from manual to industrial building in the GDR, and this eventually allowed for the cautious realization of a certain brand of architectural modernism that had been frowned upon up to that point. Starting in 1959, the section of Karl-Marx-Allee that runs east from Alexanderplatz to Strausberger Platz was lined with imposing buildings made from prefabricated slabs. Work proceeded according to a plan submitted by Edmund Collein and Werner Dutschke. The architecture of Karl-Marx-Alle was also shaped in large part by Josef Kaiser, who designed “Kino International” [“Cinema International”] and the 13-story “Hotel Berolina,” both of which can be seen below. Photo by Max Ittenbach.