In early twentieth-century Germany a population explosion in its big cities created a housing crisis. A widespread and heavily medialized debate prompted a search for solutions and triggered a rhetoric of the last dwelling. From large communal estates to subsistence-level dwellings, a new type of housing was propagated in newspapers, magazines, exhibitions, films, guidebooks, and advertisements. Siegfried Kracauer, architect, journalist, and author, also became engaged in this debate, willfully reinterpreting New Objectivity’s aesthetics of things (Dingästhetik) both in architectural critiques for the Frankfurter Zeitung and in his novel Ginster. This article analyzes Kracauer’s critical contribution to the modernist housing debate in the Weimar Republic.

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