- Architecture of descent: historical reconstructions and the politics of belonging in Kaliningrad, the former Königsberg
- Journal of Urban History
- Volume | Issue number
- 39 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The focus of this article is on the relationship between history, identity, and architectural design in a city defined by dispossession and displacement. The former German Königsberg, today’s Russian Kaliningrad, was annexed, repopulated, and rebuilt during the postwar Soviet period. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 cast a critical light on this annexation, and problematized the belonging of the city to Russia by territorially cutting it off. Using two urban designs of historicized architecture that developed recently in the city, this article revisits the specific interface between urban history and the material forms that it takes. The against-the-grain case of Kaliningrad, where the relationship between people and the city demands constant reinterpretation, points to a distinct role that made-appear historical architecture sometimes plays, and demonstrates different selective and expressive processes that enable it. To make sense of the findings, the article develops a new subcategory within a more general notion "heritage": the architecture of descent. It is especially applicable in cases of disrupted urban development and repossession.
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