team - online group photo

our team: up (f.l.t.r.): Sarah Wheat, Prof. Dr. Alla Vronskaya, Dorothea Blank; middle (f.l.t.r.): Constanze Kummer, Benjamin Eckel, Megan Eardley; down: Fee Huschenbeth.

Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.)

Research Assistant I History and Theory of Architecture

Gottschalkstraße 24
34127 Kassel
Gottschalk 24, Torhaus B, Raum 2110

CV  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))

Constanze Kummer studied architecture and urban planning at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. After graduation, she worked in various architectural offices in Switzerland on new construction and remodeling projects in the field of residential construction. During this time she completed a Master of Advanced Studies in History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich. For her thesis at ETH Zurich, she investigated urban development strategies in Belfast after the end of the Northern Ireland conflict. Since October 2020, Constanze Kummer has been a research associate and doctoral candidate at the University of Kassel in the department of history and theory of architecture.     

Constanze Kummer's research focuses on modernist architecture and urbanism. The focus is on how political, economic, social and cultural-historical contexts are reflected and represented in the built environment. She is particularly interested in industrial housing and furniture construction in the GDR. She will devote more time to this topic in her dissertation.

Publications  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))

Kummer, Constanze, Die Stadt als Handlung. Kommunales Praktikum und Planungscamp, in: Kegler, Harald, Constanze Kummer, Benjamin Eckel and Wiebke Reinert (ed.), Stadtwende Halle, Kassel 2022.

Eckel, Benjamin, und Constanze Kummer, Die Wende in der Stadt. Bürgerschaftliches Engagement und stadtplanerische Prozesse in Halberstadt und Meißen, in: Breßler, Jana, Harald Engler, Harald Kegler, Constanze Kummer, Detlef Kurth, Jannik Noeske, Wiebke Reinert and Max Welch Guerra (ed.), Stadtwende. Bürgerengagement und Altstadterneuerung in der DDR und Ostdeutschland, Berlin 2022, S. 224–234.

Collaboration in the research project on Swiss women architects as part of the MAS program at ETH Zurich: (Homepage expected to be available from fall 2022)

Vorträge  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))

"Die Platte als Chamäleon? Variable Plattenbauten im innerstädtischen Kontext in den 1980er Jahren", 17. Werkstattgespräch IRS Erkner (19.05.-20.05.2022), in collaboration with Benjamin Eckel

Aktuelles / Forschung  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))

Variable Standardization

Participative processes in prefabricated housing construction in the GDR

Dissertation Constanze Kummer

Prefabricated housing construction in the GDR seems to be characterized by its rigid

modular system, yet references to variable floor plan design in prefabricated housing can be found in the literature of GDR planners. This paradox between the received idea of a standardized, inflexible building system and the possibility of individual design choices will be discussed in the dissertation. The aim is to rethink the concepts of 'standardization', 'variability', 'individuality' and 'participation' in the industrial housing of the GDR. In doing so, it is argued that planning processes are by no means exclusively based on mechanized top-down approaches, but on participatory processes that place the everyday lives of residents at the center of the architectural solution.

A central example and starting point of the dissertation is the experiment called 'Variables Wohnen'. It not only required new structural, architectural and interior design solutions, but also revealed unusual planning strategies within the GDR. Various experts, such as architects, furniture designers, sociologists, and medical professionals, as well as future residents, were selected to develop more flexible and diverse architectural housing solutions. This approach contrasts with the typical top-down decision-making within the GDR and is replaced by participatory planning processes.

Scope  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))

Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin
Fachgebiet Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur

Biografie und Curriculum Vitae  (Constanze Kummer (Dipl.-Ing.))


2017 – 2020 Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich), studies: History and Theory of Architecture (GTA), degree: Master of Advanced Studies (MAS ETH GTA) 

2008 – 2014 University of Stuttgart, studies: Architecture and Urban Planning, degree: Diplom-Ingenieurin (Dipl.-Ing.) 

2012 – 2013 University of Massachusetts Amherst, studies: Architecture + Design Graduate Program



Since 06/2021 University of Kassel, Department of History and Theory of Architecture, task: research assistant in the project „Second World, Second Sex“

Since 03/2021 University of Kassel, Department of urban planning and planning history, task: research assistant in the project „Stadtwende“ (collaboration of University of Kassel, University of Weimar, TU Kaiserslautern and IRS Erkner)

Since 10/2020 University of Kassel, Department of History and Theory of Architecture, task: research assistant and PhD candidate

08/2015 – 06/2020 Architecture offices in Switzerland


Nikolay Erofeev is an architectural historian whose work focuses on socialist architecture and urban planning. His research looks at mass housing, using it as a lens with which to explore various facets of socialist society – such as architectural aspects of prefabrication systems, the analysis of labor relations, technical assistance projects in the Global South and the late-socialist destinies of avant-garde projects. In his book manuscript, ‘Experiment in concrete: Diversity and Debate in the Design of Soviet Housing, 1955-1990,’ he explores the understudied architectural story of the ‘bureaucratic modernism’ of prefabricated housing. In contrast to a rather simplistic view of standardized housing as an ‘end of architecture’ and a complete takeover of the profession by construction experts, the book reconstructs a vibrant, complex and uneven history, as the housing drive became central for the formation of late-Soviet design culture, construction industry and urban sociology.

Erofeev received his D.Phil (PhD) in History from the University of Oxford in 2020 and his specialist degree in the History of Art from Moscow State University in 2014. Erofeev previously had fellowships at the Department of Urban Studies at the University of Basel and at the Jordan Center for the Advanced Study of Russia at New York University. Erofeev also had academic appointments at Manchester Metropolitan University where he taught Master of Architecture dissertations. Erofeev’s fellowship at the University of Kassel is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Research Grant. His research was previously also supported by Hill Foundation and the Swiss Government Excellence scholarships, among others. Erofeev published on the history of socialist architecture in edited volumes and peer-review journals.



N. Erofeev and Ł. Stanek, ‘Concerns of multilateral socialist assistance to Mongolia during the Cold War’ in M. Motylinska, A. Butter, C. Bernhardt (eds.) A. Between Solidarity and Economic Constraints (De Gruyter, 2022) [forthcoming]

N. Erofeev and Ł. Stanek, ‘Integrate, Adapt, Collaborate: Comecon Architecture in Socialist Mongolia’ ABE Journal 19 (2021), DOI: 10.4000/abe.12604

N. Erofeev ‘Review: Moscow Monumental: Soviet Skyscrapers and Urban Life in Stalin's Capital, By Katherine Zubovich’ Social History, 46/3 (2021), p.336-338.

Erofeev, N. ‘Cybernetics & Standardization: Revisiting a Soviet Vision for Better Urbanism’ Strelka MAG (04.10.2021).

N. Erofeev ‘The I-464 Housing Delivery System: technological transfers from France to Moscow, from Moscow to Alma-Ata, from Alma-Ata to Havana’ Project Russia, 96 (2021), p. 239-64.

N. Erofeev 'The I-464 Housing Delivery System: A Tool for Urban Modernisation in the Socialist World and Beyond' Fabrications, 29/2 (2019), doi:10.1080/10331867.2019.1611255

N. Erofeev and M. Sapunova, 'Urban Standard and Norm and Their (Post)-Socialist Transformation', Urban Studies and Practices, 3/4 (2018), pp. 7-11

Student assistants

Elina Amann supports the project "Second World-Second Sex" and the project-related website "Women Building Socialism".

Antonia Heesen supports the entire department through various assignments.

Andreas Panagiotopoulos supports the Office for International Affairs.

Philip Stöcker supports the work linked to the lecture GdgU (Geschichte der gebauten Umwelt).