The Scientific Collections are a unique specialised archive for recent East German building and planning history with a focus on the GDR era. In addition to the holdings of the former Institute for Urban Design and Architecture and the Association of Architects of the GDR, they house around 150 bequests and estates of architects and planners and include drawings, plans, written documents and photos as well as hand files and architectural models. The Collections are gradually being digitised. The online portal "Stadt-Raum-Geschichte" offers the public simplified research options and access to the already digitised holdings of the collections. However, the archive can also be used on site. In order to make their own holdings accessible and to support other specialised archives, the collections use citizen science approaches and conduct research into data management issues. In terms of organisational structure, the Scientific Collections represent a Research and Infrastructure Group within the IRS Research Area "Contemporary History and Archives".

Online Portal

The portal is part of the digital strategy of the Research Area "Contemporary History and Archives". The unique holdings of the Scientific Collections are gradually being made accessible there in digitalised form. Plans, photos and architectural designs can be searched for thematically and in a map view. The portal also provides insights into the research activities of the Research Area.

To the Portal

Infrastructure Group

The research infrastructure group indexes analogue and digital archival holdings and makes them accessible online. The core is formed by the Scientific Collections for the History of Building and Planning in the GDR, which, as a special archive for the recent history of spatial development in East Germany, are available to international research as well as to the general public. more infos

Research Area

Foto: Andreas Praefcke /Eigenes Werk/CC BY 3.0/

The Research Area addresses problems of design, planning and appropriation of spaces in recent history. The focus is laid on the history of urbanisation, architecture and urban planning in the GDR, the significance of materiality in the historical transformation of the built environment, and cross-border cooperation in spatial development. more infos

Event Series

This workshop series has been held for over twenty years and provides a forum for interdisciplinary debate among junior researchers and established scholars on manifold issues relating to the history of urban planning in the German Democratic Republic (GDR). The series provides a space for academic discussion on the legacy of Eastern European and GDR urban planning within the history of modernist European urban development. It brings together not just academics but also former urban planners and architects from the GDR as historical witnesses. more infos


04. September 2023 | News

In the history of the Cold War, the Global South often appears only as a theatre of bloc politics between East and West. In recent research, voices from Africa and Asia have been noted, but little is known about their interconnections. To shed light on these, the collaborative project "Crafting Entanglements: Afro-Asian Pasts of the Global Cold War", starting in July of 2023, looks at student and women's networks, media entanglements through radio stations and film festivals, and the divided city of Berlin as a site of South-South connections. more info

Head of Infrastructure Group

On-Site Usage

The holdings of the Scientific Collections can be viewed on site by prior appointment, ideally by e-mail. For more information click here.

Contact: Anja Pienkny

Opening hours: upon agreement

Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS)
Scientific Collections
Flakenstraße 29 – 31
15537 Erkner

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