The JenTower

Since early 2011 the Imre Kertész Kolleg has been housed on the fourteenth floor of the JenTower, which had been planned as a highrise research building for the state-owned enterprise Carl Zeiss Jena in the late 1960s. In 1967 the GDR Council of Ministers decided to give East Germany's most important city centers a new, socialist appearance. In Jena, the close interplay of science and technology was to be made more visible in the urban architecture. In the original plans the tower formed the center of an ensemble that was supposed to include, in addition to two smaller towers, also a number of side buildings.
The demolition of the Old Town began in April 1969, and in January 1971 the tower was already completed, but it was the Friedrich Schiller University Jena that moved in and not the Carl Zeiss company. Zeiss had experienced an economic slump and the party leadership had changed its course, making the prestigious project superfluous. What remained was the"gigantic vestige of plans for a socialist urban utopia, for which major parts of the Old Town had been sacrificed." [1]
After the university moved out of the space in 1996 there was heated debate in Jena whether the building should be torn down or continue to be used. An investor acquired the property in the late 1990s for a symbolic price and had major renovations carried out. Since then the tower has become an established sight in the cityscape. Today it is considered a landmark of the city and its difficult history.

[1] Diers, Michael: "Einleitung", in: Diers, Michael/ Grohé, Stefan/ Meurer, Cornelia (eds.): Der Turm von Jena. Architektur und Zeichen, Jena 1999, p. 9.