Carter Manny Award

  • Stasi as Architectural Producer: Surveillance and Scientific Management in the East German Built Environment, 1961–1989
    Emine Seda Kayim

Façade of a WBS70 type mass housing block in Fennpfuhl, Berlin, 2016, Berlin. Photo: Emine Seda Kayim

Emine Seda Kayim, University of Michigan, A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning, is the recipient of the 2018 Carter Manny Research Award.

This dissertation examines the German Democratic Republic’s Ministry of State Security—known as the Stasi—as an architectural producer to chart its largely unexplored involvement in the East German built environment. The project focuses on three facets of the Stasi’s architectural activities: its role as a building agent participating in the centrally planned scientific management of architectural production, as a building contractor commissioning top-secret governmental structures, and as a building user occupying architectural spaces to conduct domestic surveillance. Looking at architectural institutions, objects and practices within which the East German surveillance apparatus’ manifold functions diverged and intersected, the dissertation interrogates the coconstitutive operations of state surveillance and building industries. In doing so, it includes surveillance agents among the constellation of building experts and policy-makers to explore how methods and conditions of surveillance influenced the production and use of East German architecture, and how—in turn—architecture affected the techniques of surveillance.

Emine Seda Kayim is a PhD candidate in the Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning and a Graduate Certificate Student in German Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. After earning her BSc and MSc degrees from Yildiz Technical University, Istanbul, she worked as an architectural journalist, media designer, and documentary filmmaker. Her scholarly work focuses on the intersection of history and theory of architecture, media studies, and German studies, with an emphasis on the technologies and materialities of space. Kayim’s current research examines architecture as a technology of surveillance and investigates the discontents of the panoptic model. She is the recipient of the 2017 Dr. Helen Wu Award, and her dissertation research was supported by the University of Michigan’s Weiser Center, Center for European Studies and Rackham International Research Award.