When old building was something bad

From Pieschen to Gorbitz - Inge's residential biography in various Dresdner Nachbarschaften.

Text and illustration: Rosa Brockelt

Inge - Dresdner Nachbarschaften © R. Brockelt

In Club Passage the atmosphere is very relaxed and familiar. Some of the women present have been loyal to the project for a long time and because of them the mood is immediately relaxed and cheerful. The creative task is quickly explained, and as we browse through the materials, we come to the topic of housing without much of a detour. The conversation is immediately very interesting: the participants identify themselves immediately as city or village children and tell their personal housing history.

I find Inge’s housing biography in Dresden particularly exciting: Since I myself have only lived in Germany and in Dresden since 2011, I only know the current housing market. Since I’ve been living here, apartments in old buildings with their high ceilings, wooden floorboards and stucco decoration on the ceilings have been very popular – and quite expensive, especially when renovated. If you don’t have an old lease, you have to be able to afford it first. Newly built apartments, on the other hand, are often perceived as anonymous and lacking character.

In conversation with Inge, I learn that things were quite different at one time. She describes her life in the “Trachi 13”, in Pieschen: There she lived between 1977-1985 in an old apartment. Rent: 27.93 marks. The house, unfortunately common in old buildings at the time, was not in good condition. It was cold and damp, as there was only one stove for the whole apartment, and black mold was spreading on the walls. The plumbing was old and the water pipes burst frequently – at least one a year, sometimes more. The manager, who had no decision-making authority himself, communicated with the community of heirs through a lawyer, which ultimately meant that no one really felt responsible. But the residents did their best to make life in the house beautiful, and the community that developed was valuable for everyone.

“We had to wait eight years before we were allocated a new-build apartment in Gorbitz. In 1985 the whole residential area had just been built, around the house there were neither footpaths nor gardens, everything was just bare earth. At the beginning we had to do AWG hours, i.e. help with the construction and the garden planting. But I was heavily pregnant at the time and mostly just had to hand out coffee.”

When, in 1985, after eight years of waiting, Inge’s family was finally allocated a new apartment in Gorbitz, everyone was nevertheless incredibly happy to leave the old apartment. Gorbitz – a district that today struggles with its difficult reputation – was a popular residential area at the time, offering new, modern and comfortable apartments.

More information

Club Passage (JugendKunstschule Dresden)
Leutewitzer Ring 5 · 01169 Dresden
Mail: passage@jks.dresden.de · Phone: 0351 411 26 65

Dresdner Nachbarschaften – sichtbar, vernetzt, engagiert!

Neighbourhoods are everywhere – we are right in the middle of it. With district walks, conversations in the green, creative workshops, exhibitions and much more.

Supported by

The project is funded by the State Ministry for Social Affairs and Social Cohesion. This measure is co-financed with tax funds on the basis of the budget passed by the Saxon state parliament within the framework of the state programme Integrative Maßnahmen.