Researching the International Building Exhibition of 1987 in West Berlin, usually referred to by its German acronym, IBA, is a challenge. The municipally sponsored event that bolstered Berlin's “return to the inner city” kick-started postmodern architecture in Germany and focused international media attention on West Berlin for nearly a decade. It generated not only scores of residential buildings but also mountainous archives and a flurry of publications by the organizers, some of which are considerably biased. Analyzing these traces from an independent perspective is as hard as giving voice to the inhabitants of the newly erected and renovated buildings, who are usually left out of the picture. With...

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