Satellite Dishes… Architects’ Nightmare?

The seemingly ubiquitous satellite dishes installed on apartment balconies are such a visual blight around Germany! Fortunately, our building doesn’t have single dish installed, but when riding the S-Bahn around town there are some areas where every balcony seems to be adorned with at least one large-pizza-sized dish.

Ugly, ugly, ugly, independent of whether they “adorn” turn-of-the-century beautiful architecture or a mid-century boring city block.

I find them particularly offensive as they encroach on an aspect of urban living that I value, namely opportunities to be outside. I suppose apartment dwellers are deciding that they’d rather watch TV/surf the net then use their balcony (I’m always amazed how few Vancouverites are seen on their balconies even though they are part of almost all building designs whether that’s a downtown glass building or a Dunbar faux-lodge). Too bad.

Why is it that the dishes are so much more common in some areas than others? I imagine that it has something to do with the availability of TV cable. Neighbourhoods that didn’t have cable when satellite TV became an option probably have a large number of them even now when cable might be an option. That would also explain that there seem to be more dishes in parts of Eastern Berlin. Recall that our heroes in Goodbye Lenin were installing dishes across East Berlin!

Is there an economic/aesthetic justice to this? Ugly dishes in more working class districts, but cable for tonier quartiers?



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