Universum Center - Kristina Miller

Kristina Miller

The high-rise Universum Center, located in southern Germany, was considered a showpiece building of the 1960s. The building – so designed by Stuttgart architect A.H. Wein – was intended to be an elite cosmos of itself and followed the city-within-a-city principle. The 22-story, nearly 60-meter-high building contains 121 apartments and 41 stores, an atrium with a fountain, and a terrace.

Similar to the novel High Rise by J. G. Ballad, the building underwent its own transformation over the decades, culminating in anarchy and class struggle. Riots broke out between the residents distributed on the floors according to social hierarchy. The pent- house floor, privatized on the 22nd floor, is accessible via its own elevator, while the remaining 21 floors are characterized by poverty, prostitution and violent crime. The former jewelry stores in front of the gambling casinos have been weakened.

The building and its residents have struggled to recover from a fire at a former bowling center in the basement, and the building's foundation is shaking. These developments can be understood as a parable of a desolidarized society.