Can you spot the similarities and differences?

by Leslie Hossack

House at Number 22, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010

© Leslie Hossack

Today’s image, House at Number 22, Zehlendorf, Berlin 2010, is a virtual template for the photographs in my four previous posts: House at Number 4, House at Number 26, House at Number 5, and House at Number 31. In this close up image, the architectural details on the front facade are clearly evident. By scrolling back to earlier posts, it is easy to see the significant structural similarities and the minor decorative differences among the houses.

Celebrated German artists Bernd and Hilla Becher are well-known for their typologies, i.e. their extensive series of photographs of buildings and industrial structures. In photography, the term typology refers to an approach that focuses on a group of similar objects. It was the Bechers who introduced the term “typology” into photography. Their images of frame houses, water towers, and other industrial structures (usually presented in sequences or grids) are certainly the most famous examples of typological photography.

This week, the photographs posted on Haute Vitrine feature historic homes located in Berlin. They were built by Hitler’s National Socialist regime for SS officers and their families. These detached, semi-detached and terraced houses were allocated to SS officers according to rank. They are situated in an idyllic forest setting along the shores of a lake. This tranquil neighbourhood is now known as Waldsiedlung Krumme Lanke.

So this begs the question. Is this current series of houses in Zehlendorf a random collection of cookie cutter cottages? Or is it a typological series of photographs as defined by the Bechers? Interestingly, their first book was Framework Houses of the Siegen Industrial Region (1977) which presented a series of photographs of simple German houses.

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