Véronique Patteeuw, ENSAP Lille
Léa-Catherine Szacka, University of Manchester
‘Architects do not make buildings, they make drawings of buildings’. In his 1989 contribution to the CCA’s major publication Architecture and its Image, Robin Evans eloquently affirmed the important role of architectural drawings within architectural practice. Often mediating between architectural conception and realisation, the drawing proposes a free space for the construction of architectural thought. The affordances and limitations of specific media used, suggest a certain way of thinking about architecture, at times prophesying technological innovations in representation. Likewise, innovation in media and technical instruments has given way to new forms of thinking and representation. One could argue that the material medium and technique of the drawing affords, limits or directs the conception of the architectural drawing and the architectural project; in other words, that the drawing constitutes the formal, material or atmospheric qualities of the project. As such architectural drawings, their making, material histories and collaborators, contribute to an alternative architectural historiography. The period between the 1960s–80s, which could be considered a last call for disegno, is rich with examples spanning from the pencil drawings and paintings of Aldo Rossi to the sketches and paintings by Zaha Hadid, from the axonometric drawings of Ricardo Bofill to the collages and silkscreens of OMA.
This session explores the material history of architectural drawings. It focuses on drawings stemming from the postmodern period in Europe and is particularly interested in proposals relating the forensics of drawing to the construction of architectural ideas. It explores several questions: How does the drawing push the limits of representation to influence the proposal? How does the technique of representation enable a certain approach towards architecture? How does a concise analysis of the drawing and its materiality propose an alternative historiography? And how might this enable us to rethink ideas of authorship in architecture?
The Forgotten Assemblage: A Media Archaeology of the Paste-Up
Craig Buckley, Yale University
The paste-up remains one of the most consequential, yet least recognized, transformations affecting architectural drawing in the post-WWII period. The paste up was a cardboard surface for preparing materials for reproduction in print, on which a wide array of things could be fitted, marked, glued, and overlaid: photographs and magazine clippings, ink and graphite drawing, transfer lettering, stamps, correction fluid, zip-a-tone patterns, and more. This composite quality makes the paste-up different from paper, it was neither carried around like a notebook, nor meant to be the permanent vehicle of the architect’s mark-making. Paste-ups more closely resemble collages and photomontages, yet they were not conceived as works of art, nor objects to be seen in themselves. Instead, they were to be delivered to a printer, captured photographically, turned into a printing plate, and eventually into a printed page. Paste-ups were a way-station, a transfer mechanism connecting the drawing board and the clipping file to the emerging technology of photomechanical offset lithography. In this sense, paste-ups were less an autonomous medium than a crucial element in an assemblage for producing technical images, in which the procedures of hand drawing were more intimately linked to protocols of photomechanical reproduction. Looking at paste-ups produced by Arata Isozaki, Hans Hollein, and Archigram, the paper theorizes the agency of this technical assemblage as part of a transition from an era dominated by the reproductive processes of industrial letterpress and rotogravure to a later moment dominated by xerography and desktop publishing. Paste-ups mark a turning point in the relation of drawing to design. Where the assembly of graphic materials had long been seen as a secondary, mechanical activity compared to drawing’s manual and conceptual virtuosity, in the era of the paste-up the collection and arrangement of ready-made graphic parts was reclaimed and valorised as central to the architect’s intellectual work.
Carlo Aymonino and the Practice of Drawing between Autobiography and Design
Lorenzo Ciccarelli, University of Florence
The intense practice of drawing characterized the approach of many Italian architects during the post-war and postmodern decades. In this context Carlo Aymonino (1926-2010) was a pivotal figure. He started his career as a painter, winning also prizes at the 1948 Rome Quadriennale d’Arte, and then he decided to move to architecture, maintaining always the instrument of drawing at the centre of his design method. The hundreds of black sketchbooks kept in his archive witness the daily practice of drawing that characterized all the Aymonino’s life, far beyond the needs of his work as an architect. For Aymonino, drawing represented a larger container of memories, researches, suggestions within which grasping design solutions and figurative ideas for specific projects. Scrolling through the pages of those sketchbooks, fragments of beloved painting of Raffaello or Michelangelo overlapped memories of voyages, portraits of his wife and plans and sections of ancient and contemporary buildings. This complex ensemble of personal memories, carvings into the fields of art, archaeology and architecture, reworked through the medium of drawing (black pen, watercolours, collage etc.) is the best way to approach Aymonino’s architecture. My paper will start with a contextualization of Aymonino’s figure within the Italian panorama of the Fifties and Sixties, and then I will analyse some pages of sketches and drawings from his black sketchbooks. Finally, I will approach the exemplary case of the Monte Amiata residential complex at the Gallaratese in Milan (1967-72), in collaboration with Aldo Rossi, which allows us to deepen the Aymonino’s close relationship between the practice of drawing, the design process and the building site. This paper is a part of a broader ongoing research on the figure of Carlo Aymonino, and I will be able to show and discuss unpublished drawings from CSAC archive in Parma, the Accademia di San Luca archive and the AAM Architettura Arte Moderna archive in Rome.
This Is Not (Only) a Drawing: The Material Agency of John Hejduk’s Victims
Bart Decroos, University of Antwerp
This paper contributes to the panel by proposing a ‘vitalist’ reading of John Hejduk’s Victims drawings and, in doing so, attempts to guide the postmodern discourse on the autonomy of architectural drawing and its discursive function towards a more embodied understanding of material agency.
The production of architectural drawings in the late twentieth century has been shaped and interpreted exhaustively through the lenses of various strands of poststructuralist thought, producing and explaining these documents as an autonomous architectural production that contributes to the ﬁeld of architecture through their discursive (i.e. linguistic, signifying or deconstructionist) operations. As such, these drawings have been considered as a cultural production in their own right and have been mostly circulated within art galleries, museum exhibitions and private collections, which points towards their status as only that: drawings.
One of the lesser studied ﬁgures in this perspective is John Hejduk, who is known more for his enigmatic drawings than his (limited) built work. His drawings choreograph multiple characters within a broader narrative of cultural and architectural sensibilities. Emblematic for this work, this paper will focus on Hejduk’s Victims drawings, a collection of 25 sketches and 51 pen-and-ink drawings. The Victims series is a design proposal for a former Gestapo headquarters in Berlin. It was described by Hejduk as a ‘construction of time’, to be constructed over two periods of each thirty years. The design consisted out of 67 structures, each named according to the role assigned to them—horticulturalist, gardener, drawbridge man, physician, children, researcher, judge, the exiles, the disappeared, the application. In doing so, the proposal is not even an architectural design, but instead proposes a social situation to unfold on this historically charged site.
Taking Hejduk’s Victims series as a case study, this paper proposes that a ‘vitalist’ reading of these drawings can oﬀer a perspective on how architecture and its representations can recalibrate the relation between the human and the non-human world. To do so, this paper will draw from recent materialist ontologies to trace out the spatial agency of Hejduk’s proposed buildings and structures within the social scenarios of this world we live in. As such, this paper aims to free the postmodern production of architectural drawings from the stiﬂing discourses of poststructuralism, and will reveal Hejduk’s drawings as more than only drawings: they direct our social relations with the physical, material, tangible world.
Dissent Images and Analogue Architecture
Elena Markus, Technische Universität München
Political protests or calls for social changes were hardly to find in Switzerland before the youth protests in Zurich, a protest movement of the post-punk generation around 1980. Its rebellious spirit also affected a young generation of Swiss architects, and in particular, a group of students and young architects at the ETH studio led by Fabio Reinhart, Luca Ortelli and Miroslav Sik. Their teaching approach latterly called Analogue Architecture was represented by the large-scale crayon perspective drawings; with the travelling exhibition of the same name it enjoyed for a short time much resonance within the European architectural discourse.
From today's point of view the "post-punk spirit" of analogue architecture should be considered in a higher context of dirty realism, a concept defined by Bill Buford 1983 in relation to the new American literature being "not heroic or grand" but rather referring to "the belly-side of contemporary life." Few years later the concept was conveyed by Liane Lefaivre to the built examples of renowned architects and to the cinematic art or urban environment by Josep Lluís Mateo. Dirty realism appeared to be a response to the demand for an objective reproduction of reality of the 1980s instead of idealistic architecture concepts of the previous times. Nonetheless it was left behind already in the 1990s.
As well as the literary representation, achieved through the conceptualization of everyday life in the form of artificially constructed everyday language, the analogue images represented a particular concept of contemporary architecture: as a critical engagement with the fragile dirty reality of post-industrial society, also taking into account the unique urban reality of Switzerland. The oppressive photorealistic cityscapes with oddly backward-looking buildings were considered by the analogues as exercices de style (Raymond Queneau), depicting complex configurations as transformations of a wide range of "difficult" analogies such as reform architectures, Biedermeier or Nordic Classicism as well as everyday constructions and mass culture images.
The analogue drawings not only differentiated from ordinary architectural design; by alienation of neither modern nor postmodern types and forms they demonstrated a critical architecture practice: The images of an "estranged" architectural universe as critique of "depthlessness" (Jameson) of postmodern architectural structures.
Photographs in the Late- and Postmodern Architectural Drawing
Peter Sealy, University of Toronto
Amongst the myriad graphic techniques employed by late- and post-modern architects, the incorporation of photographs into architectural image-making offers a unique entry in the period’s imaginary. Used by a wide range of architects and artists such as OMA, John Hejduk, Melvin Charney, Haus Rucker Co., and others, photomontage and -collage both deployed and undermined photography’s then-expiring “truth guarantee” within the realm of the architectural project. Sometimes, photomontage and other related forms were used instrumentally, to visualize and disseminate proposed designs. In other instances, photomontages served as “real” iterations of projects never intended for actualization in any other form. From Hans Hollein’s “Aircraft Carrier City in a Landscape” (1964) to Stanley Tigerman’s “The Titanic” (1978), photomontage offered a ground for critique capable of destroying (or at least undermining) modernist shibboleths, many of which had themselves been photographically instantiated. While considering a broad range of photo-drawing techniques, this presentation will focus upon the dialectical relationships established between a background site photograph and an overdrawn or otherwise inserted architectural project. At first glance, Herzog & de Meuron’s “Berlin Zentrum” project (made with Remy Zaugg for a 1991 exhibition) appears to follow in a paradigm of modernist virtualization, communicating the immense scale of the proposed towers and their geographic anchorage within the city’s western half. While the background photograph may be seen to offer a surrogate site for an unrealized alternative future, it also transforms the project into an index of a rapidly shifting urban situation, one whose inevitable transformations could never satisfy the heady optimism of the early nineties. At this moment when many European architects (particularly from the Benelux nations) have returned to various forms of photomontage and collage, it is à-pro-pos to return to the recent past to trace the genealogies and typologies of these images.
Eunice Seng, University of Hong Kong
Jiat-Hwee Chang, National University of Singapore
Of late, much has been written about transnational networks of architecture and planning in the mid-twentieth century. Many accounts of the circulation of knowledge and movement of people across politically-bounded territories challenge and expand existing histories of modern architecture, particularly those that equate internationalization with westernization and those that understand localization through nationalist narratives. But with a few exceptions, almost all the transnational actors that are celebrated are expatriate male, white and based in metropolitan centres in Europe or North America. Whiteness refers to a description of the historical legacy of colonialism and contemporary realities of structural power of the white-dominated West in virtually all spheres. Architects like Constantinos Doxiadis and Ieoh Ming Pei — part of the New Commonwealth migration of the “long boom” in the 1950s and 1960s and part of the Sino-American elite respectively—fall into this paradigm.
By privileging the expatriate male and white as primary transnational actors, these accounts have mostly overlooked the contributions made by other actors and who are not based in the metropolitan centres of Europe and America. Even when these “local” actors are included, they tend to be relegated to secondary roles as passive local collaborators and informants. They are consigned to being actors with limited cosmopolitanism and highly circumscribed agency in the transnational networks of architecture and planning. However, many of them were educated in the metropole, internationally well-connected, and some practiced beyond the nations in which they held citizenship. Within Asia, we can already identify figures like Minette de Silva, Charles Correa, Balkrishna V. Doshi, Muzharul Islam, Sumet Jumsai, Lim Chong Keat, William Lim, Koichi Nagashima and Wang Chiu-Hwa. We believe that similar marginalized cosmopolitan figures abound in Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere in the Global South.
This panel explores topics related to these marginalized figures in the Global South to interrogate accounts of transnational networks of architecture and planning in the mid-twentieth century. By rethinking the marginalized subjects in relation to broader questions of race, class, gender and geopolitical circumstance, this panel seeks to deepen our understanding of the contexts and processes of transnational circulation of discourses and practices.
Pan-Arab Modernism in Kuwait: The Untold Story of Arab Architects Building an Arab City
Dalal Musaed Alsayer, University of Pennsylvania
Ricardo Camacho, University of Coimbra
Abstract In 1960, amidst the larger Pan-Arab movement, Palestinian-born, American-educated Saba George Shiber started his career in Kuwait, first in the Department of Public Works and later in the Development Board. In 1968, the firm Pan-Arab Consulting Engineers (PACE) was established by British-educated Kuwaiti architect Hamid Shuaib, Palestinian-born, American-educated architect Charles Haddad, and American-educated Kuwaiti engineer Sabah Alrayes, and went on to construct key buildings in Kuwait, UAE, Yemen, and several African nations. The stories of Arab actors such as Shiber, Haddad, Shuaib, Alrayes, and many others are often missing from the architectural history of Kuwait. Kuwait’s architectural modernism boom, which reached its apex in the 1970s, is often attributed to the 1951 Masterplan of the British firm Minoprio, Spenceley and MacFarlane and subsequent plans by Colin Buchanan. However, the reality is that Kuwait’s boom was facilitated through actors such as Shiber, Shuaib, and Haddad. With a series of forward-looking Emirs, who were open to change, Kuwait became a site of exploration and experimentation. The story of Kuwait is unique for three reasons. Firstly, its leadership were eager to physically materialize an Arab project, and architecture was the mechanism by which this Arab-ness came to fruition. Secondly, politics took a backseat to modernization and the desire to become cosmopolitan. Lastly, it embraced Arab professionals that were educated and/or practiced in the larger Arab region. For while the imagined Pan Arab State was never fully realized, its central tenet of Arab identity and solidarity took hold in Kuwait. Through archival research and interviews, and by focusing on how these Arab architects mediated between their foreign education, their strong Arab identity, and their interactions with foreign firms, this paper will tell the story of an Arab city constructed by Arab actors for an Arab society.
The Levantine Gentleman and the Other "White City": Zacky Chelouche, Robert (Hillel) Chelouche, and the Untold Story of Tel-Aviv's Mediterranean Modernism
Tzafrir Fainholtz, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Tel-Aviv, the so-called "white city" is often described as the "Bauhaus city", the work of central European architectural Genius. A description which marginalized and all but obliterated the great contribution of native, Levantine architects to the development, modernization and building of the city.
Two of the most outstanding of these architects were the cousins, Zacky (1893-1973) and Robert (Hillel) Chelouche (1904-1972) who had, each his own practice in the city. Natives of the multicultural city of Jaffa, and sons of a prominent North-African family, they were part of a polyglot society, which had deep roots in the middle-east but also great affiliation to European culture and to the French Language. Educated in Paris they were taught by architects who were active in the French colonial project, and on their return to Tel-Aviv, they brought with them modernist expertise and built extensively in the city, creating a rich heritage very similar to that of contemporary Mediterranean cities such as Casablanca. Cosmopolitans and well educated they kept their professional network in Europe, with connection to the French professional press and to international organizations, and yet, though both well respected they never became a true part of the mainstream architectural Zionist Central/East European milieu, creating instead their own milieu, building mainly for a small affluent community of Sephardic and Mizrahi families.
Challenging the prevailing Bauhaus narrative of the "white city" this paper aims on telling the untold story of modernist architects who were born in Palestine and active in Tel-Aviv. Presenting the architectural biography of two of these architects, it will present the role played by the middle-eastern gentleman-architect in forming the city's unique identity and will offer a re-thinking of Tel-Aviv modernist heritage in relation to that of other "White Cities", as a distinctively Mediterranean town.
Unrecognised Actors and New Networks: Teaching Tropical Architecture in Mid-Twentieth Century Australia
Deborah van der Plaat, University of Queensland
In 1962, Balwant Saini (1930-) established a Graduate Course in Tropical Architecture at the University of Melbourne (Australia). Indian born, Saini had received his own architectural training at Melbourne where he studied at the School of Architecture, graduating in 1954. Working in India after graduation, Saini returned to Melbourne in 1958 to take up a teaching position and begin a PhD on indigenous building technologies in Papua New Guinea. Melbourne’s Tropical Architecture course could be completed as a Masters or taken as a short course over 4 weeks. The course attracted students from across the region including Thai architect Dhanit Sridhora, Emmanuel Kingsley Osei of Ghana, architect Chua Ka Seng of Malaysia, and architects Jon Lim and Chew Chee Sun of Singapore. The program was modelled on the Department of Tropical Architecture established in 1955 at the Architectural Association’s in London. Saini had met Fry prior to this, when he took a year out from his undergraduate degree and worked on the Capital Project in Chandigarh under Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. In 1973, Saini left Melbourne to take up the Chair of Architecture and Head of School at the University of Queensland (Brisbane Australia). He continued to teach the Graduate program in Tropical Architecture and together with Hungarian architect Steve Szokolay, hired by Saini on the recommendation of Otto Koenigsberger, the University of Queensland became a leader in the Architecture Sciences and the study of Tropical Architecture. Saini retained the Chair of architecture for nearly 2 decades and is currently Emeritus Professor.
Saini’s narrative (brown rather than white, teacher rather than student, and Australian rather than European or American based) disrupts and unsettles the accepted networks on tropical architecture in the mid-twentieth century. His story is also one that has been neglected in both histories of tropical and Australian architecture. This paper seeks to rectify both. His story, however, has added significance. Saini’s teachings, it will be argued, shifted a focus in tropical Australia from the ‘comfort of the white man’ and the acclimatisation of settler communities to shelter, development and economic progress. Encouraging Australian architects, educational organisations and governments to engage with its Pacific and South-East Asian neighbours (identified as new markets), it also forced these same institutions to look again at the plight of the nation’s own indigenous communities and the housing of Australian Aboriginals in northern Australia. While the former is widely accepted as outcome of the transatlantic network of tropical architecture and architects, the place of the latter debate on Aboriginal housing in this same network has yet to be considered and fully understood.
China’s Design Institutes: Unsung Heroes in Promoting Transnational Architecture in the Global South
Charlie Qiuli Xue, City University of Hong Kong
Transnational or say, cross-border, architectural design became obvious and prevailing after World War II. The transnational design and planning were practiced in the armature of design consultancy, helping reconstruction and foreign-aid. Famous examples are seen in those projects like Le Corbusier’s works in India, British architects’ “tropical modernism” works in its (former) colonies. Although not white, Japanese architects’ works in the Middle East and Southeast Asia can be seen as the same category. These works effectively met the desires of modernization and nation-building in those newly independent countries. They powerfully disseminated the ideas of modern architecture and have authoritatively occupied the pages on modern architectural history.
Parallel to the “main stream” dissemination of modern architecture in the world, Chinese architects imported their design to the developing countries since the late 1950s. China began its journey of foreign aid from the 1950s including constructing parliament houses, stadiums, theatres, schools, hospitals, factories and infrastructures, first in Asia, then Africa, the Oceania and Latin America. Up to now, China has delivered more than 1,000 buildings in more than 150 countries. Although motivated by diplomatic manoeuvre, they embodied China’s responsibilities in the international society, alleviated social problems and served local society. Technically, they are the extension of modern Chinese architecture during its evolution of the past 60 years. China learnt from the western experiences of modernist architecture, digested in domestic practice and promoted to the developing world with adaptive technologies. They bear the fruits of cultural and technical exchanges between donor and recipient countries. Together with other means of foreign aid, buildings and constructions in Asia and Africa in the 1960s-1970s are prelude to today’s One Belt One Road initiative.
The Chinese government and professionals have spent tremendous efforts and overcome unthinkable difficulties in constructing the aid buildings abroad. However, these buildings are largely unknown in the world and unwritten in the English literature - this pity forms huge academic gap. This paper examines the typical construction aid projects delivered by the Chinese government, design institutes and professionals to the developing countries during Mao's era (1958-1976). The unreasonable high percentage of expenditure in construction aid might burden the life of ordinary people, however, they gave Chinese architects rare opportunities to practice modernism in overseas environment. The strength of state's technical forces and wisdom of designers are crystallized in conference halls, factories and stadiums built in Asia and Africa. They in-turn informed the similar designs in China and abroad.
In terms of authorship, there are some prominent figures like Gong Desun, who designed buildings in Mongolia and Dai Nianchi, who designed buildings in Sri Lanka in the 1960s. They are the second generation of Chinese architects. However, their intellectual wisdom is more displayed through the socialist system of “design institute”, which represent the will of state and government. These Chinese architects are the unsung heroes in promoting the transnational architecture in the developing countries.
The author has investigated the cases through extensive study at home and abroad. The key designers and constructors were interviewed, archives were read and site surveyed. The paper is hoped to fill the academic gap of transnational architecture beyond Europe and North America in the Cold War, and enrich our understanding of Asian and African architecture.
Chen-kuan Lee and the Role of Transnational Exchange between German and Chinese Architectural and Cosmological Cultures in his Practice, Taiwan, 1981-1996
Liyang Ding, Marywood University/ University of Pennsylvania
Among the many documents in the Hugo Häring Archive at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin is a dark blue folder with a paper slip attached, on which Häring artistically wrote: “CHIWEB,” his abbreviation for “Chinesischer Werkbund” (Chinese Werkbund). The folder contains minutes of discussions about Chinese architecture and city planning held from November 1941 to May 1942. Major participants were, besides Häring (1882-1958), Hans Scharoun (1893-1972), and Chen-kuan Lee (1914-2003). Part of this history has been documented. Häring’s writing about roof profiles, for instance, has been translated and published by Peter Blundell Jones. WenChi Wang’s book, Chen-kuan Lee und der Chinesische Werkbund mit Hugo Häring und Hans Scharoun (2010), provides the first scholarly attempt that discusses Häring and Scharoun’s encounters with East Asian architecture. The significance of Chinese tradition and, more importantly, the role of the transnational exchanges between East and West in terms of architecture, urban, and cosmology in Chen-kuan Lee’s architectural thinking and designs, however, remained understudied. In fact, since their collaboration on the Darmstadt Elementary School project (1951), both Scharoun and Lee not only continued to study Chinese architecture and cities but also paid special attention to the religious and spiritual basis that gave rise to this wide range of spatial expressions. This paper will therefore focus on Lee’s career during his stay in Taiwan between 1985 and 1996, aiming to answer the following questions: (1) what motived Lee’s enduring interest in bridging German philosophical thinking, which largely formulated Häring’s and subsequently Scharoun’s ideas of organicist architecture, and the Chinese architectural, urban and cosmological tradition; and (2) how did Lee’s immersive experience in both Germany and China affect his teaching and professional practice in Taiwan, both formally and conceptually.
Elke Couchez, University of Hasselt
John Macarthur, University of Queensland
The way that society thinks about children has undergone paradigmatic shifts in the last century. The child has been represented in many ways: as the helpless, the innocent, the savage, the primitive, the unprejudiced, and the source of unfettered creativity, the latter being a romantic construct praising the child as the ‘creative artist’ of all sorts. In this session we ask how concepts of childhood have affected architectural education. The idea of spatial and building play for children opens the wider question of what architectural education is, if it is not merely professional training. What does the education of architects share and not share with the education of children and the kinds of adults and citizens we wish them to become through personal awareness of their built environment.
Philippe Ariès’s pioneering, yet controversial study Centuries of Childhood (1962) and the advent of postmodern and psychoanalytic approaches in academic studies in beginning of the 1970s have turned critical attention to the socio-cultural and material constructions of childhood. Toys, miniatures, games, but also environments such as playgrounds, and the architecture of schools and kindergartens have been considered as the sites where pedagogical, political, economic and aesthetic interests collided. This session not so much explores the material culture of childhood or designs made for children, but rather seeks to unravel how the concept of childhood and a set of related terms such as development, growth, child experience, plasticity, impulse and play, but also negative connotations such as infantility and childishness are woven into the fabric of post-war architecture culture. Thus we ask how a new interest in children and designing for them in the later Twentieth century affected the education of architects and reposition the built environment in familial and civic life.
The Anarchist Child: Four Readings of the Child in the City
Isabelle Doucet, Chalmers University of Technology
Tahl Kaminer, Cardiff University
Simon Sadler, University of California, Davis
Timothy Stott, Dublin Institute of Technology
Is Colin Ward’s work—perhaps best known through The Child in the City (1978)—a ‘missing thread’ in understanding architectural preoccupations with urban and spatial emancipation? Ward’s notions of play, everyday self-organization, and autonomy offered ways to envision liberating architectural and urban design. This paper reconstructs Ward’s ‘anarchist child’ (likely a trope for ‘the human’) through four correlated approaches, which disclose the multifaceted nature of Ward’s writing, specifically its applications in architecture, historical and contemporary, and how this transformed familial and civic life.
A feminist reading, first, brings to the fore some ambiguities in Ward’s approach to gender and the urban subject, and explicates the feminist references present in his work. Second, Ward’s correlation between the micro and the macro will be shown as a key analysis of the production of urban subjects, children and adults. The adventure playground was one of everyday life’s ‘minor anarchies’: bottom-up response to urban planning, rural enclave in the city, and catalyst for community engagement. Like the playground, the allotment—another subject of Ward’s interest—is presumed to be a social microcosm, here interrogated as a third approach to spatial form and society. Finally, Ward’s presentation of the urban environment as multiple, producing unevenness and inequality, can be shown as anchored by Ward’s humanist trust in autonomy.
We expand Ward’s view by analysing the anarchist child's involvement in architectural and governmental experiment, where its self-organised play entered into what Michel Foucault called the ‘game of liberalism’. If there is a revived interest today in the city as an environment of playful freedom and self-organised activity, it has been largely subjugated to market logic and stripped of anarchist sympathies. Revisiting Ward’s anarchism of the 1970s suggests a fruitful historical enquiry into architectural culture, (radical) architecture’s emancipatory ambitions, and a parallax view on the subsequent hegemony of neoliberal creativity.
Children Shape The Future: Hans Scharoun’s Schools as Vehicles for Societal Reform in Post-War Germany
Dan Sudhershan, University College Dublin
Hugh Campbell, University College Dublin
Following World War II, German society sought comprehensively to reform and renew itself. As Konrad Jarausch explains, central to the attempt ‘to lead Germany back into civilized society and the European economy’ was the reform of education. Children – through what, where and, how they learned - would be central to this process of renewal.
Led and financed from America, the educational strand of reconstruction emphasised the need ‘to fashion new learning objectives, new curricula, new teaching methods, new teachers, new relationships between the people, the teachers and the school.’ John Dewey’s philosophy of learning through experience was often invoked, although it had by that time fallen out of favour in the US. Through curriculum reform and innovations such as the student parliament – the SMVs – German children were seen, in Brian Puaca’s term, to be ‘Learning Democracy’.
This paper will explore architecture’s role in this reorientation of children’s learning, by focussing on the Geschwister-Scholl School in Lunen, one of two schools designed by Hans Scharoun in the late 1960s. The project’s low-lying arrangement of angular classrooms linked by loose circulation space had its origins in the design for a school presented by Scharoun at the Darmstadt Symposium of 1951. Scharoun talked of giving architectural form to the pedagogical process, attuning light and space to the children’s needs. There was an evident compatibility between Scharoun’s long-evolving design philosophy and aspects of the project of educational reform, particularly in his emphasis on spatial configuration as a determinant of social behaviour. This paper will explore the extent to which what has generally been understood as a sensibility specific to Scharoun is in fact directly prompted and shaped by the political agenda of the time. This will involve looking at other examples from the period in West Germany and also at what was happening contemporaneously in the GDR, where curriculum reform was also being pursued, with radically different means and to radically different ends. In all instances, schools, and the children they housed, shaped the future political culture.
Quick and Simple, Folded Paper Models of Architecture
Matthew Mindrup, University of Sydney
Of the many innovations in childhood education during the nineteenth century, the folded paper architectural model came to have a significant impact on the design practices of early twentieth century architects. There is evidence for the use of paper to model architecture since the sixteenth century but only Robert Maude’s 1630 model of a preliminary design for a quadrangle at Oxford University remains today. In 1802, the German mathematician and pedagogue Heinrich Rockstroh published Anweisung zum Modelliren aus Papier that was to have a lasting effect on the childhood of nineteenth century architects throughout central Europe. Influenced by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Rockstroh proposed that children should cut and fold simple paper models of identifiable architectural structures in order to develop a sensibility for compositions of geometrical shapes. Rockstroh’s models anticipated the development of more elaborate structures by manufacturers such as Schreiber in Germany and Pellerin in France who also produced a series of models named after their users, Le Petit architecte. It was through Pellerin’s models that many students of L'École des Beaux-Arts had their first encounters with architecture. The American architect Harvey Wiley Corbett is no exception and published a handful of articles in the 1920s promoting the use of folded paper models as a design tool. Similar to the children’s toys of Pellerin or Schreiber, the models Corbett created were drawn and then cut from single sheets of paper and folded into three-dimensional scale renditions of proposed designs. As Corbett’s friend, William Boring noted however “[t]he paper model is hardly suited to guide the architect’s first vague imaginings but to illustrate the solution of his problem when he has arrived at it.” This paper will explore how, despite its limitations, the paper model became a popular tool amongst architects offering a form of imaginative play that was unavailable using traditional methods.
'From Slightly Above and Mostly Frontal': The Child Perspective in Ulm
Anna-Maria Meister, Technische Universität Darmstadt
The design objects made at the Hochschule für Gestaltung (1953-1968) shaped the German nation post-WWII for years to come: the Braun equipment, the Lufthansa logo, or the stern, reduced and deeply rational stackable dishware. This was the "Good Design" that the school's architects and designers thought would aid the re- democratization of West Germany. And while the model making was the mode of production of the object, it was photography that rendered the Ulm objects iconic. They were photographed 'from slightly above and mostly frontal'—the point of view of an architect looking at a model. Or rather, the perspective of a playing child?
Down in the city of Ulm, another organization tried to shape a new West German future through design: the 'Committee for Good Toys' ('Verein Spielgut'). It consisted of a group of volunteers who tested and selected toys for children. Organizing a traveling exhibition in 1954, the committee—soon consisting of children psychologists and paediatricians, a toxicologist, "experienced parents and grandparents," but also seven architects and two engineers—met regularly.
This paper contends that both these attempts—related through personal ties and aesthetic kinship—took the design of objects as opportunity to renegotiate the lost Maßstäblichkeit in the post-war (physical and ideological) rubble. Presenting the objects (toys as well as tea cups or building parts) as isolated entities in front of a neutral background with no context or scale, took the point of view of a playing child and turned it into the subject position of the maker and ruler—an attempt to suggest the possibility of reconfiguring the pieces toward a rational, democratic society.
Bodies in Motion at the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute for Rhythmic Education
Ross Anderson, University of Sydney
‘We gather here in Hellerau this afternoon to celebrate the laying of the foundation stone for our school building’, announced Wolf Dohrn to the smiling audience gathered together on a warm spring afternoon in 1911. ‘The youngest pupil—a local eight-year old Hellerau lad—will strike the first three hammer blows for this building that is one of the few to be consecrated to the future.’ The Swiss music pedagogue Émile Jaques-Dalcroze (1865-1950) stood proudly up front—it was after him that the school was named: the Jaques-Dalcroze Institute for Rhythmic Education. The architect of the Institute, Heinrich Tessenow (1876-1950) was also there. Characteristically absent was the reclusive Swiss Scenographer Adolphe Appia (1862-1928), who largely through his austere yet mysteriously atmospheric Espaces rythmiques drawings and then his stagings at Hellerau, played a decisive yet understudied role in the development of twentieth-century architecture and aesthetics; a role that attained its greatest realisation in the Institute’s remarkable luminous Festsaal (festival theatre) that—within a year after those three hammer blows struck by its youngest pupil—would host Eurhythmic performances of choreographed youths in motion before enraptured audiences.
There is much that is remarkable about the Hellerau endeavour, not least of all how very important the bodily-musical education of children through Eurhythmics was to it. Also notable is the effort that was given over to finely tuning the architecture of the Institute to music and movement through a modular play of dimensions. This paper presents an account of the remarkable cultural life that was ushered into being at Hellerau (centring on the time-out-of-time of performance in which music, light, bodily movement and architecture were brought into accord), achieved through the common commitment of the individuals from various countries and backgrounds who gathered there, united by their common belief in the promise of Eurhythmic education.
Session co-sponsored by the SAHGB
Anthony Gerbino, University of Manchester
Historians have long been attentive to the way in which architectural projects evolve over time. In the gradual refinement of a design, scholars can often see the architect grappling with the desires and resources of both patrons and users of a building. Any reconstruction of a project’s genesis will naturally involve a host of issues, from planning and style to patronage, iconography, and reception.
Our normative conception of the design process understandably yokes it to the executed building, but it is worth noting that this view involves some unintended drawbacks. To the extent that the built work remains the privileged object of study, it can hinder a fuller understanding of the very conditions underlying architectural practice. Instead of a restricted focus on buildings as the outcome of the design process, this panel seeks to contextualize the process of design itself. That process has always been historically contingent, subject both to technological constraints and the level of knowledge available at a given time. The recent advent, for example, of computer-generated design and the almost complete disappearance of pen-and-paper drawing from architectural offices and schools bring home the mutability of architectural practice like nothing else. Architects of the period before modernity were no less affected by such changes.
This panel explores design as process, with no restriction on geographic range, from the ancient world to mid-eighteenth century. It will highlight the use of proportional or compass-based methods of generating form; techniques of measurement and of drawing, both on paper and at full scale; the organization of the office or workshop and its relationship to the building site; or the limitations and advantages imposed by local materials and regional construction techniques. Such an approach would be attentive to the material culture of architectural practice as it is embedded, for example, in drawings, instruments, models, and, of course, buildings themselves. The perspective adopted here would see the designer’s studio, the stone-yard, the drawing floor, and construction site not merely as places where the architectural object takes shape, but where architectural knowledge is deployed, exchanged, and amplified among various participants in the building process. Above all, the panel will seek to elucidate how projects are conceptualized and executed within a horizon of existing education, abilities, tools, and techniques.
The Illuminating Origins of the Marble Roof
Fabio Barry, Stanford University
Although we still take for granted that the ancient world was teeming with glistening white buildings, the Athenian Acropolis was an anomaly and marble Rome the exception, not the rule. Recent obsession with the extent of ancient polychromy has obscured the more important question of why the Greeks began to build in marble at all, a material once reserved for statuary. The imaginative leap was first occasioned by the brilliance and translucency of Naxian and Parian marble, and then by sculptors who capitalized on these properties in masonry construction. This paper recounts the birth of marble temples in the Cyclades; the desire to denature stone in favour of erections seemingly hewn from light itself; and the underestimated diffusion of the translucent marble roof, which, in conjunction with reflecting pools, created an interior that could counterfeit Olympus and host Chryselephantine cult-statues that seemed to float in the luminous medium.
Materiality and the Making of Geometry in Islamic Patterns
Mine Özkar, Istanbul Technical University
Islamic geometric patterns span a period between the 9th and 18th centuries and a geography stretching from the western parts of Central Asia to the Iberian Peninsula. The extensive interest in the variety of these patterns has mostly been mathematical, yielding to parametric and generative models that recreate and explore their geometric constructions. That variety, however, owes just as much to the physical construction of the designs with constraints from particular materials and techniques.
The system underlying the geometric construction, that is interlocking circles and polygons merely using a compass and a ruler, is not only the instrument of design but also of its application to the material when inscribed using a sharp tool. A few manuscripts from as early as the 10th century have offered instructional drawings to the specialized audience of "scholar- practitioners, artisan-designers, builder-architects" of the times. Nevertheless, current literature offers little on how the tools and techniques applied on the material surface factor into and determine the final shapes. Our research applies methods of computational making to explore the material properties and the constructional procedures implicit in these designs. Understanding the specification of tectonics in relation to processes of designing and making is a step towards deciphering a past knowledge of design(ing) beyond pattern books.
The Design Process and the Building Site: Leonardo da Vinci at Milan Cathedral
Giulia Ceriani Sebregondi, University of Campania “Luigi Vanvitelli”
Leonardo da Vinci’s involvement in the competition for the design of the dome of Milan Cathedral offers a window onto many aspects of architectural practice and management in early modern period. The competition, which he entered in 1487, five years after arriving in Milan, was his first direct experience as an architect. Like Donato Bramante and Luca Fancelli, he was one of many consultant architects on the project, without a permanent position on the Cathedral’s building site. Although the authorities ultimately rejected his proposal in 1490, for Leonardo the experience was nevertheless enduring. The confrontation with other experts and with the technical aspects of architecture prompted continued study over the following years, particularly into the principles of statics. This paper will examine Leonardo’s possible collaborators as well as his knowledge of the building-site and its earlier history (including the project by Gabriele Stornaloco in 1391). It examines the forms of drawing and wood modelling he employed, as well as the materials and construction techniques used on site. The paper takes as its starting point the well-known and enigmatic drawings of the project in the Codex Atlanticus and will offer a new reconstruction of Leonardo’s proposal.
Gothic Locks: Designing Hydraulic Works in Sixteenth-Century Holland
Merlijn Hurx, Utrecht University
Just as Gothic cathedrals have long dominated the perception of medieval architecture, the spectacular drawings of the German lodges have shaped our view of the medieval design process. Their towering importance, however, has diverted scholarly attention from alternative drafting practices and reinforced the view of a homogeneous Gothic design practice, based on quadrature.
Historians generally accept that a new Renaissance graphic language challenged and ultimately replaced the Gothic tradition north of the Alps by in the first half of the sixteenth century. This antagonistic narrative of one dominant practice superseding the other, however, needs to be re-examined, because hitherto neglected drawings for other types of buildings reveal that medieval drafting practice was more varied and open to new developments than is often believed.
This paper will examine two rare sets of architectural drawings, together consisting of more than 25 sheets, made for two stone locks in Holland between 1556 and 1562. They show that for technically demanding hydraulic works, drawings directed every step of the process, from enabling discussion of the most suitable design to guiding the stonemasons in the execution of the work. Moreover, they demonstrate that for such projects, gothic masters did not adhere to tradition, but engaged with new design methods, using scale, colour, and multiple views to convey all aspects of the project, thus indicating that changes in style and method were not always interrelated.
Between Design and Making: The Architect as Orchestrator of Craft Production
Christine Casey, Trinity College Dublin
A narrow understanding of design and of the agency of the architect has led historians to neglect the negotiation between designer and craftsman that characterises architecture of the early modern period. Likewise, privileging of spatial properties has shifted focus firmly away from crafted surfaces. Gottfried Semper called for a return to what he considered the true role of the architect as choragus or orchestrator of the many skills required to create a building. Problems in reconstructing the dialogue between architect and practitioner in the early modern period include the fact that craft was not adequately theorised and consequently that the silence of tacit knowledge prevailed. Likewise, on-site negotiation between designer and craftsman was rarely formalised and must often be arrived at through comparison of preparatory drawings and completed building or through rare archival documentation.
This paper proposes to explore the space between design and making through two related early modern offices in Britain and Ireland, that of James Gibbs (1682-1754) in England and Richard Castle (c.1690-1750) in Ireland. Gibbs and Castle employed the same migrant craftsmen and were connected through Gibbs’ clerk of works and draughtsman, the Dresden-born Baumeister Johann Borlach. Both Gibbs and Castle favoured richly carved stone and wood and sumptuously modelled decorative plasterwork, and both repeatedly employed the same master craftsmen. The paper will explore the relative agency of architect and craftsman in the creation of surface ornament across several media.
Sigrid de Jong, ETH Zurich
Erik Wegerhoff, ETH Zurich
The drive-in is the place where the vehicle and the building collide. Just as architecture by its nature is static, the vehicle is by definition dynamic. What happens at this – controlled – collision, when mobility and immobility meet? In what ways is architecture challenged by the moving object, what concessions does a building make to accommodate movement, and how does it signal that movement here, temporarily, comes to a halt? Finally, how does drive-in architecture accommodate the driver or passenger, whose status changes from that of a mechanically moved body to a moving subject?
This session investigates the drive-in not so much as a building type (as Kenneth T. Jackson, John A. Jakle and Keith A. Sculle, Richard Longstreth and others have done) but as a phenomenon. The drive-in is seen as a challenge to architecture and its tradition of tectonics as much as to the car or carriage and the promise fulfilled by its movement. In that sense, it looks for the semantic dimension of the drive-in as it can be located in relation to architectural theories. Opening the chronological scope, we are asking for in-depth case studies comprising drive-in structures from early modern to contemporary times, and thus from carriage to motor age, explicitly including drive-ins long before that term was invented. Furthermore, we are interested in accounts of the experiences of these spaces, and how the collisions between mobility and immobility are ‘solved’ in texts or theoretical concepts.
The session seeks to examine how these buildings formulated statements towards movement and flow way beyond the modernist fascination for motorized promenades architecturales and generic automobile roadside architectures. It explores individual buildings and parts thereof such as porte-cochères, drive-in rooms in early modern palaces (such as the vestibule of the residence at Würzburg), or the more obvious drive-in diner. Individual buildings may be discussed, but also regulations for incorporating vehicle movement within architecture, relevant texts from architectural theory, and not least accounts of the experience of such spaces. The aim of this session is to discuss the productive conflicts sparked by the friction between car and carriage movement on the one hand and the static building and tectonics as their sublimate language on the other, as well as by the friction between bodily experiences of mechanical and human movement, where mobility and immobility, object and subject meet.
Arriving in State or Incognito: Aristocrats Going to Church in Seventeenth-Century Paris and Brussels
Eelco Nagelsmit, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Private transport in the seventeenth century city was intricately bound up with class and gender. Horse riding was mostly a male affair, while aristocratic women moved around in carriages. But since the exigencies of rank and decorum sometimes dictated unpractical numbers of horses, some members of the highest nobility preferred more modest ways of transport, such as litters carried by footmen. Devotional treatises of the time recommended pious noblewomen to attend religious services incognito, so as to avoid the worldly distractions of seen and being seen. They should shun the public eye and enter and leave church “like an angel” in a closed sedan chair. At the same time, monastic communities went to great lengths to accommodate carriages turning and parking at their doorsteps, as they vied for aristocratic patronage.
This paper explores the cultural practices of mobility in and around the drive-ins of convents and churches in Paris and Brussels, from the perspective of their users. Their movement was channelled by implements and framed by ornament. It will be argued that these spatial and architectural implications of patronage were defined by rank and honour as well as by the religious culture of devotion à la mode, which required frequent movement between different sites, be it in state or incognito.
The Motif of the Porte‐Cochère in H. H. Richardson’s Domestic Designs
Richard W. Hayes, Independent Scholar, New York
H. H. Richardson incorporated porte‐cochères—covered carriageways —into many of his domestic designs. While the literature on Richardson is enormous, this particular motif has yet to be explored in detail. My paper examines three of Richardson’s houses from the late 1860s to the 1880s to examine why acknowledging mobility and travel was so important to the architect in his domestic commissions. Beginning with one of his first designs after returning to America from studies at the Ecole des Beaux‐Arts —his own house in Staten Island, New York of 1869—Richardson accommodated arrival and departure by carriage into the domestic realm. He went on to make a porte‐cochère an important element of the main façade in his Watts Sherman house of 1874 in Newport, Rhode Island, one of his most influential designs. Finally, in his gate lodge for Frederick Lothrop Ames in North Easton, Massachusetts of 1880‐81, Richardson expanded the covered driveway to mythic scale.
Focusing on the porte‐cochère in Richardson’s work helps underscore both the practical and functional side to his designs and the internationalism of his interests. It is arguably French architecture of the Second Empire that first influenced Richardson to take up the motif when he began his practice as an independent architect. A brief review of the novels of Henry James and Edith Wharton set in the 1870s and 1880s shows how knowledge of the differences among carriage types (e.g.: broughams vs. landaus vs. coupes) was a necessary accoutrement among the moneyed set who commissioned bespoke houses in the last decades of the nineteenth century.
Finally, the porte‐cochère in Richardson’s houses serves to connect his suburban villas and country estates to the transportation infrastructure that burgeoned in late nineteenth‐century America. New commuter trains facilitated the development of suburban residences and Richardson designed nine railroad stations for the Boston and Albany Railroad, most of which incorporated covered driveways. The domestic porte‐cochère thus connects Richardson’s houses to a modern network of transportation and communication.
Architecture and an intended Car Boom in the USSR: Dreams versus Reality
Olga V. Kazakova, Higher School of Economics, Moscow
A nationwide project to boost the number of privately owned cars, masterminded by government minister Alexey Kosygin, was launched in the USSR in 1965. In line with the romantic ideals of the time, the Soviet government hoped to reach a ratio of 20 cars per 1000 people within a decade. To that end, a deal was signed with Italian car manufacturer FIAT and the plan was to create a behemoth infrastructure in the USSR in order to build and service new cars. Architect Leonid Pavlov was tasked with handling the ambitious project.
In 1967, Pavlov proposed a new reconstruction plan to drastically rebuild Moscow, which included the construction of speedways cutting through the city. That project was largely inspired by Le Corbusier’s The Radiant City. According to Pavlov’s plan, the new buildings, both residential and administrative, that would be erected along the proposed speedways would be large and would have large details so that they could be easily seen while driving or riding in a high-speed car.
Pavlov’s reconstruction plan never came through but a couple of giant service stations, designed by the architect, were built on the outskirts of Moscow and became important examples of Soviet architecture of the early 1970s. Pavlov also designed several filling stations and camping sites for tourists travelling by car.
Pavlov did draw at least some inspiration for his projects from his Western counterparts as, after being tasked with creating the USSR’s new automobile infrastructure, he visited the United Kingdom and France. But his primary sources of inspiration included the architecture of Soviet avant-garde, which he got acquainted with through his teacher Ivan Leonidov, and even Suprematist paintings.
As a result, one-of-a-kind buildings were designed, but their construction during the rule of Leonid Brezhnev (a period in the history of the USSR also known as the Stagnation Era) became quite a challenging job, completed with varying degrees of success.
Drive-In to God: Early Churches and Chapels alongside German Motorways
Markus Jager, Leibniz Universität Hannover
Viola Stenger, Leibniz Universität Hannover
Alongside German motorways there are 45 churches and chapels (“Autobahnkirchen”). Neighbouring Europe counts only a handful of comparable buildings. For that, motorway churches seem to be a special outcome of the German Autobahn. The first motorway church was erected in 1958. The origins of this special building type ranges between high speed and silent devotion, which is reflected in architecture in the disposition of rooms, in the artistic design and liturgical equipment.
Located at an unconventional site, far away from the territorial parish, they address to a specific group of recipients: the motorists. In a country of unrestricted speed limits driving the motorway is marked by fear of accidents and sudden death. Therefore, motorway churches are meant so represent a place of silence, contemplation and shelter in surroundings of noise, speed and exhaust fumes. This led a private entrepreneur to build the first motorway church in Adelsried (near Augsburg) in 1958. It was designed by the architect Raimund von Doblhoff. Shortly after, three further motorway chapels were erected. One of them was designed by Carl Hecking, a former employee of Dominikus Böhm. All these projects started non-institutional and were initiated by private people. When St. Christophorus was inaugurated in 1978, it became the first milestone of this genus. It was planned by the architect Friedrich Zwingmann and the artist Emil Wachter. New architectural and artistic standards became visible, especially in the concrete reliefs, which refer equally to biblical themes as to the automobile.
The lecture focuses on the origins of the motorway churches in Germany, primarily demonstrated by the first example in Adelsried.
The Elusive Promise of ‘Traffic Architecture’: Air-rights on Tel Aviv’s Highway
Neta Feniger, Tel Aviv University
Roy Kozlovsky, Tel Aviv University
The term ‘traffic architecture’, conceptualized in Colin Buchanan seminal book, was part of a global venture to adjust the urban environment to the growing demands for motorization. On an urban scale, it embodied a reformist ambition to reconcile the conflict between accessibility and aspirations to preserve traditional conceptions of pedestrianized public space. On a building scale, it referred to architecture that embodied traffic uses with more conventional architectural uses. While usually segregating motorized traffic from pedestrian movement, in these projects, architects were compelled to consider the conflicts between vehicular movement and the static nature of architecture.
This paper explores a case study, part of the planning of the Ayalon Crosstown Expressway in Tel Aviv. In 1978, four multidisciplinary teams, led by architects, were commissioned to study the prospect of selling air-rights above the highway in order to finance its construction, creating ex nihilo urban fabric, maximizing the value of otherwise ‘wasted’ space. Like similar projects around the world, the objective was speculative and not architectural, yet for some of the architects, it offered an opportunity to envisage architecture anew by developing a systematic approach to architectural and urban design that embraced traffic engineering’s methods of the quantitative, three-dimensional order of vehicular flow, regulating car traffic into buildings. Others prioritize the more conservative ensemble, concealing transport infrastructure underneath, leaving architecture and public space free of traffic.
Considered at first as an opportunity for reforming cityscape, making it financially lucrative, or radicalizing it through the creation of mega-structural development, we argue that ‘traffic architecture’ carried the proposition that architectural integration with motorization would initiate the next evolutionary stage of modern architecture. Using this case, we ask how traffic, as a concept and as materiality, affected architecture in the 1970s and what is the significance of these experiments on the history of post-war architecture.
Michael Falser, University of Heidelberg
David Sadighian, Harvard University
Our present model of “world heritage” owes much of its genealogy to the geopolitics of Empire. This hypothesis aims to expand prevailing narratives, which track the rise of “world heritage” programs starting with the creation of UNESCO after WWII and the elevation of monument preservation to international law (Allais 2018). In the century leading up to these events, however, state and non-state actors travelled throughout colonial territories with the self-ordained mission to study, document, and restore precolonial cultural sites, which often became “historic monuments” as part of an imposed scheme of “cultural heritage as civilizing mission” (Falser 2015).
These iconic monuments did not remain in situ. They travelled to imperial metropoles in the form of fragments, facsimiles, plaster casts, drawings, and photographs, facilitating their further mobility and thus expanding their reception as icons of “civilization.” Iconicity’s affordance for circulation was hardly unique to the Age of Empire, however. Many of these structures were sites of age-old religious worship and transregional pilgrimage beyond political boundaries (e.g., Angkor Wat in Cambodia), but underwent a secular turn and taxonomic shift within networks of colonial exploitation—from the pages of scholarly journals, to the halls of museums, to performative spectacles at World’s Fairs. Such phenomena initiated the modern “world heritage imaginary” as a regime of monument worship with its own systems of secular governance between the “original” sites and their multi-sited substitutes.
In this session, we aim to cultivate genealogies of “world heritage” during the height of Empire, ca. 1870-1940, even if projects before this core period offer crucial points of reference. This session will explore how disciplinary expertise was developed and deployed—long before the UNESCO heritage-scape—to identify and (re)build historic structures as “historic monuments” beyond the boundaries of the modern European nation state. Key research questions emerge: What were the criteria for classifying heritage sites and to what extent were their pre-existing cultural and religious meanings appropriated into secular forms of iconicity? What role did indigenous knowledge and labour play in the circulation of monuments within and beyond empires? How did juridical frameworks develop alongside practices of cross-regional monument preservation? How do we situate the violence of colonial expansion within aspirations toward “global community” and the idealism of early internationalist programs (Crinson 2017)?
Heritage Ahead of the Times: Palazzo Te in Mantua
Ludovica Cappelletti, Politecnico di Milano
This paper proposes Palazzo Te in Mantua as a case study in issues of built and cultural heritage before UNESCO. Palazzo Te was built for Federico II Gonzaga between 1525 and 1534 following a design by Giulio Romano. Since its very construction and throughout the nineteenth century—under both Austrian and French empires—campaigns of restoration and design were carried out on the architecture and ornamental apparatus of the palace to ensure its preservation and transmission into the future. Such practices stem from the recognition of the intrinsic value of the palace as an expression of the cohesion of art and architecture in the work of Giulio Romano: a value that shaped Palazzo Te’s cross-cultural recognition as a monument. This identity was built not only through physical interventions, but also through a critical construction. Beginning in the eighteenth century, Palazzo Te was analysed by scholars, described by travellers, and drawn by local and foreign architects and artists, thus disseminating through Europe images of the palace in both literary and graphic representations.
By 1866, after the Unità d’Italia, the Italian Unification, Palazzo Te was transformed into a museum. The palace is open to visitors, and descriptions are provided in each room to present the works of art to the public: an extremely modern practice that, along with ongoing preservation efforts, ushered the palace into its contemporary status within the UNESCO site of Mantua.
This research investigates the process by which Palazzo Te came to be recognized as a monument across geopolitical regimes as well as the practices related to its preservation in the modern era, arguing that the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries laid the groundwork for modern definitions of transnational built and cultural heritage, for which architecture and literature were a means of its identification and transmission.
Baltic Architecture as World Heritage: Finding a Place for Oneself in the Global Narratives
Kristina Jõekalda, Estonian Academy of Arts
I seek to look anew at the legislation of heritage preservation in the Baltic area from 1880s to 1930s. The Baltic German community, representing the cultural elite at the time, made continuous attempts toward a heritage law. With their Baltic Heimat between the German motherland, Russian fatherland, and awakening communities of Estonians/Latvians, several empires and “cultural contestants” were at play. Nonetheless, the first heritage conservation act only came to be realized in 1923 (Latvia) and 1925 (Estonia), by which time the political circumstances had completely changed. My analysis compares the preparations and drafts for the act by the Baltic Germans around 1900 and the new nation-states in 1920s. How was the international value of local heritage articulated in those documents? Which international (and German) role models and specialists were consulted? How were these debates communicated to a wider audience?
Furthermore, fitting Baltic art into the international narratives is a common feature also in the first survey books, most importantly Wilhelm Neumann’s Grundriss einer Geschichte der bildenden Künste und des Kunstgewerbes in Liv-, Est- und Kurland vom Ende des 12. bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts (1887) and Voldemar Vaga’s Estonian Art: The History of Arts in Estonia from the Middle Ages to the Present Day (1940, in Estonian) – authors who were at the forefront of both the field of art history and heritage preservation.
The Baltic area is hardly a completely disparate community, but it is curious that the Baltic German culture that did see itself as an integral part of German culture is not commonly recognized as such by either the colleagues at the time or those of today. Therefore, this is a topic discussing peripheries within Europe, colonial narratives, patriotic duty of a Kulturnation, national self-positioning, cultural responsibility to posterity, and the universal value of local heritage – all common notions in the texts published at the time.
Modern Traditions, Heritage Protection and Cultural Identity in Meiji Japan (1868-1912)
Beate Löffler, Technical University of Dortmund
During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Japan was forced by the western hegemonies to end its isolationist policy. To avoid colonization, the Japanese government initiated a complex process of modernization: It introduced the western administrative machinery, as well as technological and cultural knowledge from the West, dispatched students to renowned educational institutions abroad, and hired experts from Europe and North America as advisers and teachers. The ensuing shifts in society affected art and architecture as well.
Collectibles such as art objects met a tremendous western interest, usually described and summed up in the keyword Japonism. This was a mixed blessing: It ensured research and discourse on Japanese art but went with a sell-out of Japan’s mobile artefacts. Japanese architecture faced a different but no less difficult situation. Largely perceived as a technologically outdated curiosity, it was marginalized in western discourses. On site, existing structures suffered both from loss of economic systems that had ensured their maintenance over time and cases of targeted destruction in the wake of political changeover. In addition, traditional practices and competences fell out of favour due to the focus on modern building technologies.
The paper addresses these multi-layered processes as well the actors and institutions involved. With a focus on built artefacts, it traces the re-interpretation of Japan’s cultural characteristics against the foil of western norms and standards. It shows Japan’s modern heritage policies as part of the general negotiation of a modern cultural identity, as a phenomenon of cultural transfers and negotiations of meaning. As a result, it shows the emergence of a cultural practice in which “traditional” values and “modern” perceptions of relevance became inextricably interlinked.
Making Hagia Sophia as World Heritage: Multiple Actors – Multiple Discourses
Nilay Özlü, University of Oxford
Suna Çağaptay, University of Cambridge
In 1852, a volume titled Aya Sofia, Constantinople, as Recently Restored by Order of H.M. the Sultan Abdul-Medjid, was published in London. The book was prepared by Swiss architect Gaspare Fossati and documented his findings during the restoration of the “grand Byzantine Basilica.” Sponsored by the sultan, this prestigious volume included coloured plates documenting previously unknown mosaics of Hagia Sophia. This work could be accepted as the first formal attempt that positioned the edifice as “world heritage”. The book glorified the supranational and suprareligious architectural and decorative wonders of Hagia Sophia, emphasized its Byzantine origins as the seat of the Orthodox Christianity and underlined its prime position as the major sultanic mosque of the Ottoman capital. This presentation seeks to convey a snapshot of the genealogy of Hagia Sophia becoming a world heritage monument during the late Ottoman and early Republican periods.
With the awakening of international interest towards Hagia Sophia, the monument became a major tourist destination during the second half of the nineteenth century and was visited by Western travellers with a special permit obtained from the Ottoman state. Hence, the former Byzantine church was visually and textually depicted in almost every travel account, memoir and guide book of the time. Postcards, engravings, and photographs of the monument were circulated locally and internationally, re-establishing its legacy.
Apart from acclaiming popular attention, the monument also attracted scholarly interest among local and international circles. In addition to the works of a group of scholars of German, Austrian, French and British backgrounds; publications by the Orthodox community, such as Syllogos (Istanbul Hellenic Philology Community) and the Russian Archaeological Institute of Constantinople made the Byzantine architectural heritage of the city known to a wider and international circle of researchers, historians, and archaeologists who positioned the Byzantine heritage as a part of the –universally acclaimed– Greco-Roman legacy.
Hagia Sophia’s biography takes a sudden shift with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and the foundation of the Turkish Republic. Undoubtedly, it once again becomes a politically charged edifice: a showcase for the secular and anti-Ottomanist tendencies of the new regime. Starting from the 1930s, an international team, led by Thomas Whittemore conducted the scientific restoration, unveiling the stucco covering the Byzantine mosaics. Eventually, the monument was declared as a state museum in 1935, confirming its status as a part of the pre-Islamic and pre-Ottoman past, a part of the world history. Since then, the discussions revolved around the identity of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul never came to a conclusion. Continuous attempts of nationalist and conservative groups (Greek or Turkish) to (re)open the monument for religious practice ignite fervent debates on the role and future of this iconic edifice as the heritage for humanity. The presentation will discuss various actors and multiple discourses that took part in the making of Hagia Sophia as a world heritage and hopes to scrutinize its future as well.
Reinventing Jerusalem – Between the Actual City and its Image
Reut Yarnitsky, University of Pennsylvania
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, a growing number of European travellers, pilgrims, and scholars arrived in Jerusalem, establishing research institutions, initiating archaeological excavations, and creating cartographical and artistic representations of the city. While these were common colonial practices at that time, the iconisation and reconstruction of Jerusalem was, however, a unique case of a heritage site formation. For at the heart of this endeavour stood not the folklorising gaze on the east, adding an iconic monument to the growing “world heritage imaginary”, but rather an inner European motivation of gazing upon the origin of Christian faith at the very moment it was vanishing in the heart of industrializing Europe. Consequently, rather than importing the monument to the centre of the empire, a reversed process occurred in which the long-lasting Christian symbolic image of the heavenly city was brought from the heart of the empire to the orient. The unavoidable gap between the ideal image and the actual provincial ottoman city, resulted in a unique working method: not a preservation of the existing, but a reinvention of the declining religious symbolic image using modern scientific methods. An essential step was the translation of the medieval jewel-like portrayal of an abstract heavenly city into a modern representation based on a “birds eye view”, framing and canonizing the city as a closed geometrical emblem. With the establishment of the British mandate in 1917, it was exactly this reversed action of turning the symbolic image into a demarked geographical zone that enabled British planners to translate the image directly into a set of planning principles: creating an unbuilt green belt around the walls, while restricting development within them. This planning tradition that shaped Jerusalem as a hermetic enclosed monument holds important implications to this day. Looking back at the formation of the city as a monument, while unpacking the convoluted relationship between the city and its image, might help make it more graspable today.
Petra Brouwer, University of Amsterdam
Johan Lagae, Ghent University
Today, it seems almost inevitable that the lingua franca of an international peer reviewed academic journal is English. While earlier generations of English intellectuals taught themselves Italian in order to read Dante in the original (to paraphrase Reyner Banham, who himself learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles), today’s non-native English speakers must not only read, but also write in English in order to be part of the self-asserted “international” academic community. Native English speakers may find it difficult to imagine the greater efforts and time investment required to express oneself in a language that is not one’s mother tongue. Articles from non-native English speakers for example, need significant extra editorial support to meet the publication standard.
At the same time, many of these authors have access to unique sources and materials that are only available for those who can read and contextualize them. By default articles on topics that require knowledge of other languages than English, question dominant theories, methods, discourses, and historiographies by demonstrating an infinitely more complex (geographical) architectural realm. They offer alternative readings of long-existing theories and concepts such as (post)colonialism, feminism, transnationalism, heritage, and environmentalism. Despite the arguable and disciplining norms of international (read Anglo-American) academic publishing, one could state that the use of English as lingua franca, proves to be crucial to overcome geographical and cultural boundaries. It is only by using one common language, that an academic community can be truly critical and self-reflective.
But one could also state that language is not a neutral tool. It comes with vocabulary constraints, culturally-loaded words, preconceived mind-sets and normative ways of expressing arguments and ideas that in turn unilaterally fashion how (selected) things are looked at and what conclusions are derived from their observation. The dominance of academic English is moreover a segregating device leading to over-representation of certain issues and narratives and complete omission of others. These biases are rarely reflected upon. Accepting linguistic diversity and promoting multilinguism should help academia to be more inclusive – in other words, enriched.
This round table considers the pros and cons of English as the modern academic lingua franca, and is especially interested in personal experiences, statements and cases that illustrate in a concrete way one’s position in the debate.
“… with wood chip on the wall …” Language and Cultural Connotations in (Interior) Architecture
Carola Ebert, Berlin International University of Applied Sciences
Architecture and interior are highly culturally specific. In Disco 2000 e.g., a song by British band Pulp, the phrase “your house was very small, with wood chip on the wall” sketches regionally specific social and cultural connotations of an architectural environment. This presentation aims to look at English as a lingua franca for (interior) architecture beyond language, which asks primarily whether non-native speakers would have the linguistic means for such a sketch. Cultural connotations on the other hand ask whether authors will be understood by a potentially global audience, and how one can deal with such a broad, diverse global discursive framework.
The presentation discusses different examples from the author’s experience: - Research: How investigating the West-German (modernist) Bungalow required a two-fold disambiguation due to the diverging cultural connotations of a supposedly global typology. - Education: How using largely English-language sources affects (interior) architecture education in Germany and other countries, and why translations to and from English might very be important. - Theory: How the level of theorisation and the disciplinary status of interior architecture across the globe is highly culturally distinct, which is hardly reflected in the discipline’s mainly Anglophone discourse.
The presentation argues in support of the idea of English as a lingua franca, yet it also raises the question how this can and should be distinct from simply accepting non-native authors into Anglophone discourses. A lingua franca enables a global discourse and questions assumptions that, regionally, are often perceived to be neutral or even universally applicable. Moving away from language, which tends to complexify the situation of non-native authors, towards cultural connotations within this discussion highlights that the position of Anglophone authors, editors, and reviewers might be no less complex.
“Thrown in the absolute translation”: The Vicissitudes of an Architecture Historian in the Contemporaneity
Anat Falbel, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro
Since actually Portuguese was never my mother language, as an architecture historian coming from South America and working on the space of the encounters between the American and European architecture cultures, I was thrown in the absolute translation - as once expressed by Jacques Derrida - decades before I started to publish in English or any other languages. In fact, I have been facing the issue of the incontestable monolingualism within which one need to produce since the beginnings of 2000. And, although as suggested by the present call, as a lingua franca English is crucial to overcome geographical and cultural boundaries, the monolingualism flatten and level the resistance of any singularity or exception, in particular, nowadays when apparently history writing is approaching literature in the sense that form is part of the content of our work. In this sense one could echoes Édouard Glissant (1981) elaboration on the French, considering that the “lack” in one’s text is not in the ignorance of a language, but in the non-mastery of an appropriate language. In this sense, I would like to contribute to the round table “English as the academic lingua franca” and its reflection upon the precise questioning identified by Brouwer and Lagae, from within my own experience with editors and reviewers extending the question posed by the call itself when recognizing the over representation of certain issues. I would suggest that even when trying to include other geographies and narratives, the superficial knowledge of certain foreigner contexts and themes compromises important editorial decisions comprehending not only the issues to be addressed and the choice of the authors as well as a critical analysis of the essays and even the selection of the reviewers who due to their own monolingualism have no access to primary sources and yet, many times contest data and hypothesis founded on second and third sources published in the “lingua franca”.
Let's speak "Doxiadish": On the Multiple Lessons Learned
Konstantina Kalfa, National Technical University of Athens/ Athens School of Fine Arts
As Mark Wigley argued in “Network Fever,” Doxiadis quickly realized that in order to survive this global explosion, one must be as “networked” as possible. This paper draws attention to how these networks were shaped by his international reputation beyond merely conforming to the rules and constraints of English as a lingua franca. I argue that on the one hand, Doxiadis was “speaking” the development discourse of the Cold War era, which was primarily articulated in American English whose grammar reflected structures of domination and control. On the other hand, Doxiadis was attentive to global diversity. For example, he gathered data around collective discursive constructions and introduced terminology such as “ekistics” or “ecumenopolis” in his native tongue of Greek. And, he also relied on non-linguistic visual forms of representation, such as graphs and diagrams to illustrate his transnational communicative strategies.
This paper addresses these issues by reviewing recently produced literature on Doxiadis. The growing interest in Doxiadis’s work, which spanned forty countries, is nationally and culturally diverse. It can thus, provide an opportunity to critically revisit the norms of academic publishing that disproportionately favour English. I will also bring two personal experiences of collaboration with other scholars into this discussion. The first encounter was at the “Systems and the South: Architecture in Development” conference at Princeton University, where I met other scholars working on Doxiadis. The second instance were collaborations around translation with two scholars, where I helped translate documents from Greek to English from the Doxiadis Archive with the urban historian Huma Gupta or a joint translation of her published article from English to Greek with the architectural historian Panayiota I. Pyla. I believe that the “linguistic exchanges” with the above scholars are emblematic of a new paradigm of academic inquiry and writing across language and borders.
I am Part of the Problem
Andrew Leach, University of Sydney
It can be argued that the rise of English as a dominant language of publishing in the history of art and architecture has had an impact on a number of European languages—not completely in the demise of national/linguistic cultures (German, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, etc.) but in the way they are regarded by (a) universities and (b) international academia (being the world beyond those national/linguistic limits, beyond specialists). One effect is the relatively new reputational fragility of venues that do not publish in English; another, the assumed significance of journals publishing in English. The situation this upends is, though, problematic: an understanding that serious scholars will work across the “art history languages”. The traditional art history languages have always mapped to a fixed idea of the proper subject of architectural history—or a subject flexible in fixed ways. The rise of English has tracked (rightly or wrongly) an opening up of the subject as other cultures have used it to find purchase in the larger field. The rise of English as a common language of publication has tracked the rise of scholarship in the Global South, where the lingua franca has been a force for communication with historical centres of discourse. This doubtless undermines European cultures, but to the benefit of the world beyond Europe (India, China, Japan, Iran and the Arab world …). That this is a complicated consequence of British and American imperialism is without doubt, and worth debating. What work does this leave open, for European discourses on architecture’s history? These are issues that face journals and conferences of architectural history alongside the natural wish to foster the field’s linguistic complexity. But I wonder: what would new languages would we need to enable global communication in our field and to write as we wish?
Richard Wittman, University of California at Santa Barbara
Taylor van Doorne, University of California at Santa Barbara
The concept of monumentality conjures permanence, or at least an aspiration to durability: the etymology of the word (Latin: monere, to remind) underscores the idea that monuments should survive those who build them so as to remind those who come after, perhaps long after. Yet throughout history the monumental has always also been challenged, confronted, or invaded by ephemerality, both in a negative sense, as when monuments intended to be permanent are destroyed, but also positively, as in the fabrication of deliberately ephemeral public monuments. This panel seeks to explore this second category, the deliberately ephemeral monument, in the specific context of eighteenth‐ and nineteenth‐century Europe. Monuments are defined broadly here to include official, unofficial, or semi‐official examples of infrastructure, urbanism, installation, or urban decors that stake a claim to speak to collective memory in common public spaces.
What is particular about ephemeral public monuments in modern times? Such monuments may communicate a distinctly modern anxiety about immutable declarations, or reflect the rhythms of public time implied in Baudelaire’s famous description of modernity as “the ephemeral, the fugitive, the contingent, the half of art whose other half is the eternal and the immutable.” They may reflect the discontinuities of an age in which the changeable will of the public displaced the authority of eternal gods; in which mere social reproduction no longer seemed the destiny of humanity; in which the future was widely expected to be very different from the present. Richard Taws has recently suggested that ephemeral and provisional objects can influence historical mythos by their very ephemerality, which shifts the focus of meaning from an imagined posterity to the more proximate reality of their creation.
Thinkers as radically different as Georges Bataille and Karsten Harries have been cited in debates about whether ephemeral architectures might offer a solution to the historical problem of meaning in contemporary architecture. Urban ephemerality has been the subject of enormously suggestive research by current scholars working mostly on other temporal and geographical contexts. We are interested in papers that bring the history of modern European ephemeral public monuments and monumentality into conversation with this burgeoning historical and theoretical literature.
Pavillon Finlandaise (Paris, 1900): An Image-Truth in Stone
Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Yale University
My paper proposes that Eliel Saarinen’s Pavillon Finlandaise for the 1900 Paris World's Fair, together with auxiliary exhibits and publications, blended art, architecture, science, and mythology in service of Finland’s quest for independence. The focus will be on how granite was used throughout the pavilion in a manner that blended fake and real stone, structural and ornamental use, scientific and artistic imagery in a manner that turned the igneous rock into a symbol of national perseverance and raison d’etre of independence from Russia, all while promoting it as an export material. I will pay particular attention to a series of exhibits that blended art and science, which included the display of the visually stunning first geographic survey of Finland published in Atlas de Finlande (1899) and Axel Gallen-Kalela’s Kalevala frescos that build on contemporaneous archaeological discoveries by depicting the protagonists of the national myth in a Stone Age-like setting.
The notion of image-truth refers to the way the pavilion forced the visitor to bounce between haptic, visual, and verbal information in an effort to absorb various geological, archaeological, and geographic narratives and to function as a "relay connecting theories of art, language, and the mind with conceptions of social, cultural, and political value." (W.J.T. Mitchell) The title refers to Mitchell’s notion of the "duplicity of image," that is, its "capacity of both truth and illusion," which countered the notion of "truthness" to material, which dominated how stone was theorized in 19th century architectural theory from Gottfried Semper to John Ruskin. I argue that this conceptual shift made it possible for the pavilion to be considered as a beacon of modernity in the eyes and minds of the contemporary French audience attuned to reading modernist poetry that relied similarly on creating a fleeting kaleidoscopic image in the mind of the reader.
Infrastructural Ephemerality and Photographic Monumentality in Late-Nineteenth-Century France
Sean Weiss, City College of New York
How are monuments made? Insofar as colossal works of engineering were emblematic monuments of the nineteenth century, smaller, ephemeral infrastructural elements depended on new technologies of photographic representation and reproduction to emerge as monuments in their own right. This essay focuses on a novel, temporary bridge type and the photographs that monumentalized them in late-nineteenth-century France. Portable, demountable bridges were comprised of prefabricated steel members, which could be quickly assembled and dissembled to provide temporary passage across damaged railroad bridges. The structures were developed after the Franco-Prussian War, of 1870-1871, when the French military hastily destroyed a number of railroad bridges crossing the Seine River in an unsuccessful attempt to stop German troops from reaching Paris. This event, coupled with the arduous process of rebuilding the bridges after the war, led French military engineers to implement temporary railroad bridges as a military strategy of industrial warfare. Ubiquitous in the world wars, the bridges are firmly entrenched in the history of military architecture. This paper addresses their earlier applications, when French military and civil engineers worked with private industry to develop the bridges, deploying them in France for civilian purposes and exporting them internationally, across Europe, Latin American, and the colonial world. Although photographs of the bridges were used by their builders to document technical expertise, the images relentlessly crept into the mass media and penetrated the popular imagination. A staggering number of photographs circulated in the illustrated press, postcards, and at universal exposition, and they placed the bridges in the ambit of the militarization of everyday life after the Franco-Prussian War, the colonial imagination, and industrial capitalism. By turning to the photographs within the circumstances of their public circulation, this paper shows how the images visualized and monumentalized these ephemeral infrastructural elements as part of the cultural landscape of late-nineteenth-century modernity.
Melting Monuments: Provisional Architecture and Recordings of Atmospheres and Motion in Kristiania, Norway
Mathilde Simonsen Dahl, Oslo School of Architecture and Design
In a study on aesthetics published in 1890, the Norwegian philosopher Marcus Jacob Monrad rendered what in his eyes was a devastating verdict over the art and architecture of his time: it was hardly built to endure the passing of time and seemed to vaporize in thin air. This critique of the zeitgeist might also be read as a portrait of the urban reality outside his office windows. From the ground of the University, Monrad could witness a number of provisional architectural objects in wood, glass, and steel, with scaffoldings, fabric and illuminations. These temporal constructions and the reception of the theatrical events for which they were erected – exhibitions, theatre performances and royal processions – have been studied as part of particular political circumstances. However, they might also be seen in relation to a shift in the perceived meaning of architecture Monrad observed. Following this argument, I will suggest that these structures were perceived as a series of architectural experiments to be explored in the moment with the landscape and urban quarters encircling the University as spatial reality and more permanent background. These quarters represented the new city centre in the young capital, sited on the rural fields at the banks of the river stream Bislettbekken. By the end of the 19th century, the field was woven into the urban fabric of new public institutions along a parade street connecting the renaissance city quarter to the royal palace. However, rather than celebrating these new quarters as built, the provisional architecture seemed to foreground the topographical features of the landscape. By looking at recordings of the events in text, xylography and film, I will show how architecture was staged as an activity and motion, the atmospheres of dark winter nights and high summer light as the main monumental features in the scenery.
Paper Ephemera: The Monumental Frontispiece to the Description de l’Egypte
Eirik Arff Gulseth Bøhn, Oslo School of Architecture and Design
It is well known that the period following the French revolution saw a proliferation of temporary architectural structures that, although by nature fleeting, lent an imprint of ancient virtues to the pageantry of post-revolutionary Paris. Although confined to paper and permanently fixed to the page, the Napoleonic frontispiece to the first volume on ancient Egyptian architecture in the Description de l’Egypte resonated with these monuments while amplifying their encomiastic function, an agency derived from a fusion of different times and spaces that could only be realized in the printed realm.
Constructed from two main components – a triumphal gate that opens up onto a landscape of Egyptian ruins – the frontispiece acted as a receptacle of sculptural spoils, uniting, on paper, constituent elements from antiquity that had been either lost to the British after the French defeat in 1801 or violently relocated from Italy to Paris, subsequently to become the focus of major urbanistic interventions in the French capital.
Thereby hinging on a specific moment in the flux of artefacts between Egypt, Paris and Rome, the gate forms a great mnemonic structure that fuses ideal, classical time with the immediate temporality of contemporary urbanism. It opens up not only onto Egypt but, in its portrayal of the Nile Valley as a barren land of ancient structures to be restored, onto the landscape, plastic and malleable, of the past itself. As such the frontispiece constituted a monument – simultaneously atemporal and precariously fleeting – that signalled a provisional architecture of the future built from the remnants of the past.
This paper considers the Description frontispiece as an ephemeral structure on paper whose particular monumentality lay in its temporal ambiguity, its play on ruined decay and re-pristinated ancient form itself suggesting that its concern was as much with contemporary and future France as with Egyptian antiquity.
Unsettling Ephemerality and Monumentality: The Case of the Eléphant de la Bastille
Ben Vandenput, Ghent University
"Unsettling Ephemerality and Monumentality" traces the rise and fall of one of the few post-revolutionary monuments that physically came to replace the former fortress-prison on the Place de la Bastille. The elephant fountain which Napoleon Bonaparte ordered in 1808 to be erected in situ however was never finished. A scale model of plaster and wood, it was ousted by the current July Column from 1835 onwards to a remote corner next to the Bassin de l’Arsenal. The ruined Eléphant de la Bastille was eventually torn down in 1846.
Due to the central place the Place de la Bastille occupied in the minds of many nineteenth-century Parisians, the project and subsequent decline of the elephant fountain was a much-discussed topic in contemporary newspapers and specialised periodicals. The Elephant de la Bastille however achieved everlasting glory through the hand of Victor Hugo. In Les Misérables, the Eléphant de la Bastille is characterized as “a prodigious first draft, a grandiose cadaver of an idea by Napoleon that two or three successive blasts of wind had taken away and thrown every single time further from us." Hugo’s words on the model have elaborated on contemporary reactions to the once so promising project for a fountain on the Place de la Bastille. At the same time, Hugo’s view onto this fugitive, ephemeral monument of which he until his death in 1885 kept a wooden fragment invites for new perspectives. A repulsive and grotesque presence, the monument on the Place de la Bastille through the eyes of Victor Hugo sheds fresh light on questions of monumentality and ephemerality in the politically unstable milieu of nineteenth-century France. Conversely, the fugitive Eléphant also questions some apparent dogmas on the nature of architectural monuments Hugo expressed thirty years earlier in the chapter ‘Ceci Tuera Cela’ in Notre-Dame de Paris.
Monumentality, Ephemerality and Propaganda: the Funeral Car of Napoleon (1840)
Jean-Philippe Garric, Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne)
If ephemeral architecture is the other half of modern architecture, it has nonetheless occasioned little interest from historians, particularly with respect to nineteenth-century France. Although it gained importance in the context of Napoleonic propaganda and the Napoleonic tradition, its status in the opinion of that time still remains contradictory; André Chastel once described the feasts of the Renaissance as the missing link between monuments of stone, but the situation was quite different in Paris following the French Revolution. Between the coronation of the Emperor in December 1804 and that of his nephew Napoleon III in May 1852, non-permanent arrangements for celebrating key political events constituted an alternative reality – splendid but imperfect – parallel to the main stream of built production. This duality was a key problem in Europe, at a time when the antique model remained preponderant even as liberal and capitalist society was developing.
The funeral car of Napoleon by Henri Labrouste, then still a young architect yet to erect a building of his own, echoed the famous funeral car of Alexander the Great, and marked a climax in the opposition between ephemerality and the will to inscribe a symbol for eternity. Widely commented in the professional press of its time, as well as in popular journals and newspapers, Victor Hugo himself described it as "a kind of golden mountain slowly moving... beyond the great white phantom-like statues". This paper, based on analysis of the funeral car’s architecture and of the setting planned for Paris on the occasion, will situate this moment in the context of political Parisian feasts of the first half of the nineteenth century. A reading of contemporary reactions and comments will underline, on the one hand, the contradiction between the Classical model and its quest for eternity, and, on the other, contemporary contingencies and opportunistic issues.
The Merseburg Homage: Ephemeral Public Entertainment Infrastructure in early Nineteenth-Century Berlin
Emma Letizia Jones, ETH Zurich
This paper examines the role of ephemeral public entertainment infrastructure as both contributor and responder to the censorship and sanitisation of urban life, through a focus on case studies from early nineteenth-century Berlin. In 1815 Schinkel designed the urban décor for the Homage ceremony to Friedrich Wilhelm III, King of Prussia. Though the Merseburg event was a closed royal affair, the ceremonial decorations included a grand public gesture: the illumination of the Schloss Merseburg, where the ceremony was to take place, against the night sky. Such events reflect Schinkel’s consummate ability to manufacture Stimmung, defined as ‘mood’, ‘atmosphere’ or ‘ambiance’. For Schinkel, an image or a display transmitting Stimmung could provoke a sense of spatial or temporal dislocation (Ortsversetzung), which in turn created in the viewer an emotive – if heavily manipulated – response. With the celebrations at Merseburg, Schinkel pulled such experiences of Ortsversetzung from the interior of the theatre even further into the public realm. The Merseburg celebrations notably coincided with the increased State policing of public life after the withdrawal of Napoleon’s troops from their occupation of Berlin, aided by the peace talks at the Congress of Vienna of 1814-15. The Prussian monarchy had been pressured by Austria at these negotiations to introduce a series of reactionary censorship and surveillance measures, designed to control expressions of individualism and German nationalism in its population. The practice of Ortsversetzung through temporary public entertainment infrastructure in early nineteenth-century Berlin thus contained a paradox: it responded to this state-imposed censorship of civic life by staging the illusion of escape through the provision of controlled spectacle in the city. Such temporary spectacles contributed to a collective civic identity, yet they were also part of an overriding sentiment of withdrawal from public life.
Marking the Ephemeral: The Enduring Paradox of 100 Venetian Markers
Ludovico Centis, Università IUAV di Venezia
In 1791 the Venetian Republic placed 100 markers to define permanently the border of the Venice lagoon. Yet the boundaries of Venice and its lagoon are by their very nature unstable and subject to continuous negotiations. The whole operation revealed a paradox: how to define for eternity the boundary of 550 square kilometres of marshes and navigable waters that made the existence of the Republic possible? The positioning of these humble markers – made either in stone or bricks and ranging from 1 to 1.5 meters in height – proved inadequate to fulfil such an ambitious goal, and represented the swan song of a Republic that fell a few years later under Napoleon.
Today the markers that define the area of conterminazione lagunare – the area under the control of the Magistrato alle Acque (the Venetian Magistrate of the Waters) – have lost political relevance in national and international terms. Some have been removed, some have been relocated, and some have been brutally overpowered by contemporary infrastructures like bridges and train embankments. Yet a kind of "revenge" of the markers has been accomplished: the lagoon that the Venetian Republic considered and wanted to maintain eternal is today under serious threat, while the majority of the markers still survive and stand in a crucial position to read the contemporary phenomena that affect Venice. The ever-changing border between the lagoon, the mainland and the sea hosts projects – the expansion of the Tessera airport, San Giuliano Park, the cluster of hotels around Mestre station, the transformation of the brownfields of Porto Marghera, the Port and the mammoth cruise ships that cross the historic centre and the lagoon, the MOSE project mobile gates to fight the high tide – are crucial for understanding the possible future of a city that considered itself eternal but was inexorably discovered to be ephemeral.
The Spectacle of the Ephemeral: Architectural Reconstructions at the Expositions Universelles, 1867-1900
Maude Bass-Krueger, University of Ghent
French architects of the nineteenth century were specialized in historic reconstructions. Architecture students at the École des Beaux-Arts were trained to look at ruins and reconstruct them on paper. The French were proud of this tradition and displayed hundreds of such drawings at all of the Parisian Expositions Universelles. As the decade progressed, France showed an increasing number of historical reproductions at the Expositions, despite scant public interest and criticism from foreign commissions.
But the public was interested in architectural restorations—of another kind. They flocked to the life-size, built replicas of Roman, Egyptian, and Mexican temples, Turkish baths, medieval villages, foreign houses, and myriad other ephemeral architectural reconstructions that were commissioned by foreign nations but conceived of and built by French architects. By 1900, their popularity was such that entire architectural theme parks were dedicated within the Expositions.
This paper will examine some of the most popular large-scale architectural reconstructions made for the Expositions between 1867 and 1900 (many of which have not yet been studied in depth) and suggest that although they derive from the same tradition as the paper reconstructions, the very nature of their ephemerality and placement within the World Fair environment allowed the architects to push the boundaries of their imagination. How did the French architects navigate between the foreign nations that were commissioning these structures and their own architectural training? How did the scale and nature of the Worlds’ Fair shape the way they conceived these reconstructions? How did the public memory preserve these temporary buildings once the Exposition was over? Ultimately, this paper will look at how these ephemeral reconstructions helped shape the cultural imaginary long beyond the time frame of their exhibition.
Made of Monuments: Ephemeral and Informal Uses of Ancient Monument Fragments in 19th-Century Athens
Nikos Magouliotis, ETH Zurich
In 1848, the self-taught archaeologist Kyriakos Pittakis became General Ephorate of Antiquities in Athens. Presiding over an abundance of material, Pittakis' main concern was to store archaeological fragments, in order to stop their looting. Thus, around 1840 he constructed what later became known as "the wall of Thisseion": Collecting fragments from excavations, Pittakis constructed a long wall of spolia at the foot of the Acropolis; a construction whose main function was the protection of its ancient building blocks. Despite its picturesque appearance, this construction was not intended as permanent; it was a temporary storage device. However, until its eventual dismantling in 1888, Pittakis' wall stood in place for four decades and gradually grew into a monumental pile of fragments which attracted numerous visitors.
Simultaneously, Athens was witnessing more radically unofficial spolia-practices: Taking advantage of the limited protection of archaeological sites, the Athenian common folk often stole ancient fragments and used them in the construction of their houses. Such practices stemmed from the Athenian peasants' particular understanding of local antiquities: They believed that ancient monuments were the work of the 'giant Hellenes'. Consequently, their fragments were thought to possess magical powers and were thus built into the walls of houses as protection against evil spirits. Unlike Pittakis' dismantled wall, several of these fragments remain in place to this day, often hidden under thin layers of plaster.
Whether official operations or informal practices, all of the aforementioned constituted ephemeral or temporary uses of ancient monuments. Although not necessarily intended as 'monumental', they were certainly direct responses to ancient monuments and opposing appropriations of the same Classical heritage. A comparative analysis of these different uses of the matter of Classical Antiquity can help us understand how, in 19th-century Athens, ephemerality and informality were prominent tactics in dealing with a monumental, ancient past.
Henriette Steiner, University of Copenhagen
When the large-scale architectural and planning efforts of the European welfare states were set in motion in the post-war period, easy access to high-quality green landscapes was considered as important as other pillars of welfare, such as health, education, and retirement benefits. The welfare states supported massive building initiatives that introduced a radically new model of urbanity, characterized by an abundance of green and open spaces including public parks, recreational topographies, and shared spaces on housing estates. These green open spaces, which are a constitutive part of today’s urbanized areas, were designed to foster social welfare and individual well-being for all citizens: hence, we call them welfare landscapes.
Today, the architecture and planning of the European welfare states is being re-evaluated, and is undergoing renovation projects to address physical decay, changing users and uses, new urban ideals, the need for climate adaptation, and other issues. Moreover, in light of changing welfare politics, the relevance of welfare landscapes as living heritage, their underlying ideologies and intended contributions to citizens’ lives, and the sustainability of their design are all increasingly contested. The complexly interlinked climatic, economic, political and social crises currently facing modern industrial culture’s products and workings (Latour, 2018), thus also concern the welfare landscapes. This presents us with a paradox: how can some of the European welfare states’ most optimistic projections for the sharing of space, resources and values simultaneously embody some of modern society’s most fraught concepts – including resource exploitation, gigantism, gender, the body and biopolitics, social engineering, nationalism, and ideas of human exceptionalism?
While the architecture and planning of European welfare states is an emerging theme in architectural-historical research, it has not yet been sufficiently understood from a landscape perspective. This session explores specific histories of welfare landscapes across Europe, and that examine their current and future role, value and contestation. It also examines what happens if we regard the post-war period not as an era of optimism about welfare and the common, but as a moment when the concept of welfare itself snapped into focus as a place of contestation and debate (as proposed by Kjældgaard, 2018). How was this contestation articulated and negotiated in cities and their designed landscapes? Did it consolidate welfare as a security instrument, a ballast against the volatility of culture following the Second World War’s crisis of humanism?
Finnish City and Forest: Design in the Nordic Welfare State Public Realm
Frances Hsu, University of North Carolina Charlotte
This paper introduces the theoretical construct of the "commons"--as described by Hardt and Negri in Commonwealth (2009) as natural resources, social practices, and modes of sociality--to address notions of public space in Helsinki as an essential component and often contradictory medium for the underlying social and political values of the welfare state. Welfare state modernization addresses building initiatives for social housing, historically conceived as living practices, resources for health and wellbeing that could be quantified and managed. What role does the management of landscapes--an essential aspect of the commons--play within the welfare state, and how were they measured and assessed?
An examination of the social, political, and urban planning in the city centre (beginning at the Central Railway Station, including Central Library and Square, and extending around Töölö Bay), reveals the centrally located open natural park spaces as part of a national and perhaps regional identity that challenges and resists the communitarian ideals and scientific management of welfare state ideology. This especially in comparison with two iconic examples of iconic Finnish settlement and demonstrated by numerous participatory urban initiatives based in the capital city. Landscape and public space are the blind spot of the welfare state apparatus.
Green Wilderness and the Tensions of Welfare: The Designed Landscapes of Farum Midtpunkt Housing Estate, Copenhagen, Denmark
Svava Riesto, University of Copenhagen
Kristen Van Haeren, University of Copenhagen
The many new social housing estates that were constructed in Denmark between 1950 and 1980 suggested new urban typologies, combining large housing block structures with vast, green, lush park-like environments and open spaces. These estates and their embedded green spaces were closely tied to the welfare state, which subsidised and regulated them. However, we contend that they can also be understood as ‘welfare landscapes’ in a broader sense. The landscapes’ spatial organisation articulates specific ideas about the facilitation of citizens’ welfare, e.g. through playgrounds, communal squares, pedestrian streets, community gardens, etcetera. Following its adoption in the 1950s, the word ‘welfare’ did not have a stable set of values or a clear ideology in Danish post-war culture (Kjældgaard, 2018); rather, it was continuously contested in a heated cultural debate – in which, we argue, welfare landscapes took part. Thus, the landscapes of social housing estates were spaces of tension regarding welfare ideals – between economic wealth and social well-being, the individual and the collective – and of potential friction between human dominance and ecological processes.
To better understand how social housing landscapes articulated ideas about welfare, we zoom in on the social housing area of Farum Midtpunkt (1972–1976), north of Copenhagen. Comprising 3,500 residents, it is one of the largest estates built during the last years of Denmark’s post-war building boom. This meticulously planned urban structure has a large number of narrow, designed green spaces that give the impression of wilderness – inaccessible to humans, but highly significant to residents’ perceptions of the area. Drawing on studies of historical documents and the site’s spatial organisation, we present these green spaces as a lens though which to understand discussions about the meanings of welfare and its inherent tensions in 1970s Denmark.
Hertopia: Women of the Swedish Welfare Landscapes, 1950s to 1970s
Jennifer Mack, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Heidi Svenningsen Kajita, University of Copenhagen
The welfare landscapes of the expansive modernist housing areas constructed in Sweden from the 1950s to the 1970s were developed using government-sanctioned ideas about universal citizens who would live, work, and play identically. Designers developed housing blocks with modular room dimensions to accommodate homogeneous furnishings, as well as standardized common landscapes like laundry spaces, playgrounds, traffic plans, and town centres. While these plans for collective living were envisioned to support women’s new roles in paid labour, women were at the same time imagined as housewives occupying auxiliary, specific roles in the areas of domestic work and leisure activities.
When the national government’s landscape ideals did not materialize into real built environments, tales about women’s everyday travails came to the forefront. Critically, reports about women’s difficulties in common spaces began to represent a larger “problem of the suburb.” These negative notions eventually became fixed, with few follow-up reports commissioned. We revisit these popular historical views about these suburbs’ “failed landscapes.” And from a feminist perspective, our research in widely divergent parts of Sweden (from Botkykra to Tibro to Helsingborg to Malmö to Skärholmen to Södertälje) shows that women residents’ affective and caring practices (Fraser, Hardt, Muehlebach, Tronto) challenge binary perspectives about welfare landscapes and, in particular, divisions such as work/pleasure, communal/individual, and unsafe/safe. Since the time of their construction, women’s individual and communal actions for local childcare and allotments, maintenance of playgrounds, and access to consumer goods became specific, local iterations of enduring and reproductive communities.
Connecting government reports, building norms, media accounts from the mid-20th century, and interviews conducted with long-time women residents of five housing areas, we explore discrepancies between ideals, stigma, and tenants’ own accounts of their experiences and changes. How have working-, housewife-, and activist women co-opted and complicated concepts underpinning the welfare state’s supposedly unsuccessful utopias?
Cybernetic Landscapes, ca. 1967
Maroš Krivý, Estonian Academy of Arts
This article considers the engagement of architecture with post-industrial change in the late 1960s. It explores the notion of welfare landscapes through a comparative reading of two unrealized, large-scale projects from the UK and Czechoslovakia: Cedric Price’s Potteries Thinkbelt, a network of educational facilities on wheels; and Gorazd Čelechovský’s Etarea, a proposal for an intelligent city of 135,000 inhabitants. The article recounts how the architects interpreted the two sites—a derelict industrial land and an urban recreational sprawl—as not only in need of improvement, but as emblematic of the broader crisis of the industrial society. It then explores the central role that information exchange, knowledge work and cybernetic automation played in the two projects. Etarea was a manifesto for an automated socialism, while Potteries Thinkbelt envisioned a knowledge-society capitalism. And yet, both were also predicated on the widely held belief in the late 1960s that the socialist-capitalist distinction would be superseded in the coming post-industrial society. Despite fundamental political differences between British Keynesianism and Czechoslovak state socialism, for both Price and Čelechovský future welfare was a matter of technological knowledge and automation rather than one of politics and redistribution. Although their imaginative landscapes responded to and sought to redress the failures of welfare industrialism, we can equally read them as anticipating the twin condition of neoliberal workfare and “well-being”.
A Landscape for Compromise: The Appian Way in the Age of Welfarism
Manuel López Segura, Harvard University
Though the welfare state deserves to be deemed the most consequential of compromises in modern European history, it has been little analysed through that lens. Compromise itself remains undertheorized in political philosophy; it is simply absent from architectural histories.
This paper proposes to investigate the notion of welfare landscapes by considering them terrains for compromise, i.e., spatial entities under dispute, around which processes of voluntary accommodation between antagonistic urban constituencies unfolded. The paper will first sketch an analytic framework, presenting key points for a possible theory of architectural compromise, one focused on architecture’s aesthetic powers over political representation, their operations and limits. It will then undertake a synthetic account of the contested protection for public enjoyment of the Appian greenbelt in Rome between the 1950s and 1970s.
The largest expanse of campagna within the municipality’s bounds, the Appian Way and surrounding lands were the object of continuous give-and-take among property owners, developers, institutions, and an increasingly mobilized civil society. The myriad instances of negotiation between privates and functionaries, or of governmental mediation between builders and conservationists rendered recurrently tangible the welfare state’s central goal: safeguarding the post-war interclass settlement through the observance of conciliation, thereby securing lasting social harmony on egalitarian bases.
However, the area’s unique attributes, environmental no less than archaeological, brought to the fore paradoxes of administrative action that more habitual interventions managed to conceal –and that accounts of welfare programs tend accordingly to obviate. History’s imperious presence evidenced the perils of Italy’s accelerated transformation, causing actors on the ground to strike a middle course that would smooth the modernization that welfarism professed, a compromise formulated in scenic and managerial terms. Preserving the territory’s classical topoi within a countryside turned metropolitan park aimed to help assuage dehumanization across Rome’s mushrooming peripheries. The millenary Appia Antica became an emblematic welfare landscape, for therein precipitated the ambitions that drove, the practices that enforced, and the contradictions that have thwarted, up to our time, the newly founded European covenant.
Tijana Stevanovic, University College London and University for the Creative Arts
Throughout the twentieth century flexible space as an architectural quality has been widely celebrated by architects and critics of built and unrealised projects alike. Since the first usage of the term ‘flexible’ by architectural critic J. G. Wattjes to describe the possibility of a variety of spatial arrangements in Rietveld’s Schröder House, Utrecht in 1925, flexibility as a desired technical aspect of buildings and their elements continued to be pursued as one of the central tenements of functionalist design (in Forty, 2000). Flexibility in architectural programme and discourse has been equally often called in to dispute the functionalist rigidity and unreserved design authority of the architect, thus coinciding with the post-war cultural shifts and youth revolt against hierarchical social institutions, as potently demonstrated in writings by Henri Lefebvre, or projects by Cedric Price, and Constant Nieuwenhuys. Spatial flexibility credentials came to be associated with the newly-embraced potential of the user’s radical agency in everyday life, with the ultimate aim to challenge the capitalist property relations. Yet, the concept was simultaneously recuperated by the employers’ interest in the open-plan office, which promised to better motivate its workforce. Recent cultural critique identifies flexibility as a behavioural imperative which has been facilitating neoliberal economic change towards decreasing public administration since the 1970s (Boltanski and Chiapello, 1999), a Foucauldian, modern self-disciplining power that structures everything from workplace performance standards to personal attributes.
Taking into account this contradictory and abstract character of the concept of flexibility for architectural practice, and beyond the mere analysis of flexibility as a matter of architectural discourse, this session aims to deepen the understanding of uses of openendedness in the twentieth century design techniques and technologies. Indeed, Nicholas John Habraken proposed in 1961 that the architect’s role may approach that of the industrial designer, as his SAR system (a critique of mass housing uniformity) conceptually and economically separated structural elements from the flexibly-realised, user-chosen in-fill components and finishes. This session particularly welcomes paper proposals which explore through specific case studies what deeper technological, professional, and industrial implications the espousal of flexibility as culturally-conditioned value might have had. What kinds of building materials, or structural systems did the praise for flexibility in design and use require? How did the flexibility imperative affect the hierarchies and social relations among the many practitioners involved in architectural production?
Codification and Flexibility: Towards a Definition of the Atrium
Charles Rice, University of Technology Sydney
Since the late 1960s, architecture has renegotiated its urban interface through a pervasive turn towards the interior. Across a range of types and functions, buildings have incorporated large-scale interior spaces, here designated by the term ‘atrium’, in excess of typical programmatic or functional requirements. From the voids of atrium hotels, the winter gardens and interior streets of corporate and commercial buildings, to the caverns of museums and cultural buildings, these spaces have motivated and incorporated new approaches to function, use and experience in line with neoliberalism’s ethos of flexibility.
As part of a systematic account of the emergence of the atrium within architecture, the paper will focus on how its emerging presence was registered in building codes in the early 1980s, in particular those governing fire safety. It will show that the distinct spatial parameters of the atrium, its scale and spatial connectivity, presented unforeseen challenges to established approaches to fire safety, and prompted architects and regulatory authorities to develop flexible approaches to the development and application of building codes. Over time, this flexible approach would develop as the basis for understanding a building’s technical performance, and in particular its environmental performance, as the negotiation between different kinds of expertise – architectural, technical, and regulatory.
In making its argument, the paper will focus on a small set of examples emerging from the technical literature. Its method thus aligns with recent approaches that construct a bureaucratic history of architecture. It will argue that the emergence of the atrium shows a particular relationship between a spatial condition and technical possibilities, but that this relationship is not a deterministic one; spatial provision does not determine technical solutions, nor do technical solutions determine spatial outcomes. Rather, flexibility emerges between the spatial and the technical as a way of approaching regulation and the development and deployment of expertise. The atrium thus figures as, and can be defined in terms of, the confluence of different kinds of adjustability: of environment, of function, and of use, the effects of which have contributed to a broader spatial renegotiation of architecture’s urban role.
'A Facility Based on Change': Office Architecture and Facility Management
Joseph L. Clarke, University of Toronto
The facility management profession that emerged in the 1960s and 70s was charged with maintaining and regulating flexible workplaces, especially large open offices for collaborative intellectual work. Yet this broad mandate elided conflicting imperatives, as facility managers struggled to reconcile the rhetoric of improving employees’ collective well-being with mounting pressure to cut costs. This paper traces the origins of facility management and the early tensions over its aims and methods, and explores the political stakes of its evolving relationship to the discipline of architecture.
In the late 1950s, management consultants Eberhard and Wolfgang Schnelle developed their Bürolandschaft office design approach around the premise that patterns of verbal communication in an office evolved continuously. Their fantasy of an endlessly reconfigurable infrastructure for creative work was in sympathy with designs by Yona Friedman, Cedric Price, and other radical architects. When the American furniture company Herman Miller adapted these principles to create a line of modular workstation components, it proposed an integrated approach to space planning, management science, building maintenance, and furniture procurement. By 1979, when Herman Miller founded its Facility Management Institute to advance this technocratic method, the optimism of the Bürolandschaft had receded. The oil crisis had punctured the illusions of limitless expansion, perpetual mobility, and environmental uniformity that initially made large open offices seem compelling. As corporate real estate became a precious resource, intricate office layouts designed around collaboration gave way to dense rows of cubicles and IT infrastructure.
This paper examines how the objective of reconfiguring building interiors for collaborative “knowledge work” led to multiple reconfigurations of the practice of workplace design itself. It analyses the early vicissitudes of facility management by examining key antecedents and theoretical models proposed in Germany and the United States, and considers how economic shifts eventually undermined the profession’s utopian premises.
Managing Expectations: Flexibility and Gender in the Office, 1960-2000
Amy Thomas, Delft University of Technology
The flexible office building was a key management tool in the second half of the 20th century. The prevalence of large open-plan offices and, from the 1980s, structural flexibility in commercial buildings coincided with the shift to HR-based management theories, which privileged the individual agency of the worker as the path to profit. Flexibility facilitated worker collaboration, creativity and choice, whilst also supporting organisational flux in increasingly unstable economic context. In other words, it maximised the performance of the building and the corporation. However, just as neo-liberal modes of governance privileged some bodies more than others, the effects of flexibility were experienced differently by men and women.
This paper investigates the relationship between the design of the flexible workspace and gender inequalities in corporations, 1960-2000. It argues that flexibility as both a design and management strategy affected women more acutely because of their lower status in firms. In the post-war period, most women occupied what Daphne Spain has called ‘open floor’ positions: low-skilled clerical work and manual computer operation, whereby women were under constant surveillance. In the next decades, as women climbed the ranks in service sector professions and obtained increased mobility within the workspace, gendered expectations of workload, hours, working styles, and external (family) commitments created new barriers to promotion, which stemmed from internalised structural pressures rather than external monitoring. The paper investigates how neo-liberal management strategies of self-surveillance and self-improvement were embedded in the design of the ‘new office’ from the 1980s onwards, and the ways in which women were particularly vulnerable to their effects.
Through an analysis of office buildings in Europe and America, the research explores the contradiction that female employees have historically been the targets of flexible design approaches – including floor layouts, furniture design, and ergonomics – but that these were mainly conceived and commissioned by men.
From Niche to Mainstream: Renewable Energy Projects in Milton Keynes
Kim Förster, University of Manchester
This paper deals with solar architecture in the course of the flexibilisation of energy sources and resulting urbanization process in the UK, both before the Conservative Party won the 1979 general election and after. Since the early 1970s, different actors, inventors and innovators, architects and engineers, affected by the Alternative Technology-movement, and supported by state and market, had been experimenting with renewable energy, impacting institutions, norms and values. Energy projects profited from government funding as a response of the welfare state to 1973 “oil shock”. The new town of Milton Keynes, centrally planned and built after 1967 in compliance with the ideology of the „non-plan“, serves as a case study and lens for alternative approaches to production and conservation of energy, implemented the MK Development Corporation and supported by the Open University. When under the Thatcher government, public subsidy for housing and energy projects, was withdrawn, MK started promoting home ownership, as flexible new technique of governance, through house exhibitions, which centred on the theme of energy: Home World (1981) and Energy World (1986). This paper, from the perspective of architectural, economic and social history, transition and critical energy studies, argues that home energy became transformed, while the energy system stayed intact. The responsibility for supply, heating and insulation, referring to the cost / efficiency argument, was then assigned to the consumer, first-time home buyers, as well as the building companies or the new type of architect-developers, rather than classically the town planners and local housing authorities. The year 1986 marked a turning point, as MK in the designated „energy efficiency year“ became the energy capital of the UK, championing both active and passive solar, due to the expertise established; 1986 was also the year, when London’s financial market was deregulated and the British energy sector denationalized, in the context of an economic liberalisation.
Shrinkage: Massaging Modernism’s Minimum
Helen Runting, Secretary Office for Architecture, Stockholm
Rutger Sjögrim, Secretary Office for Architecture, Stockholm
Karin Matz, Secretary Office for Architecture, Stockholm
Like many European countries, Sweden finds itself in the midst of a severe shortage of housing. In 2016, the Swedish Government that over half a million new dwellings would need to be built by 2025 (doubling the rate of production at that time), if, on a purely quantitative basis, there are to be enough dwellings to house the population. Thus an enormous biopolitical project was launched, without fanfare, envisaging an architecture at the scale of the population without giving strategic direction as to the form that that housing would take. In this paper, the Stockholm-based practice Secretary Office for Architecture presents a study of 14,471 apartment plans (all multi-res housing approved in the 26 municipalities that make up the Stockholm region at the highest point of the recent real estate and construction boom, 2017). Carefully tracing shifts in the placement and permeability of walls, the treatment of fenestration, and in the size, type, and sequence of rooms that make up an apartment, we use this archive of the present to identify and describe the vestigial traces of Swedish modernist apartment plans in contemporary production, locating points of deviation and mutations and linking them to the performance-based “re”-regulation of housing in the late twentieth century. In particular, we trace quantitative shifts — under the rubric of “Shrinkage”— in order to explore an emerging biopolitical regime characterised by a “densification of the interior”.
Formally Rigid but Technically Charming: Architects and Professional Etiquette, ca. 1916
Athanasiou Geolas, Cornell University
Landscape architect Charles Downing Lay often referenced a contracts and specifications manual that, among other technical information, included templates for professional correspondence. Echoing similar guidelines in then-popular etiquette manuals, letterforms provide detailed blanks that consciously mix litigious bureaucratic standards with well-mannered social formats and phrases. Tellingly, at the centre of Lay’s copy of this manual lies a torn page from a 1925 issue of Vanity Fair magazine. The page itself comments on the recently completed American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and America’s historical consciousness, while the pages immediately surrounding it speak on men’s fashion trends, the link between art and life, and various accounts of homeliness and deceitful manners. Specifically circumstantial, this sideways glance into the material discourse on Lay’s desk while he sat drafting contracts or writing letters speaks to broad cultural values and contexts at play within the solidification of corporate life and the institutionalization of professional practices.
This paper offers a situated analysis of the documents and objects passing over architects’ desks at the start of the twentieth century, and through this insight into a central and undertheorized technique of architectural practice: charm. Charm requires an agile navigation of supposedly unwavering social rules. One is not described as charming for rigorous adherence, but for transgressing boundaries ever-so-slightly and in a way that generates interest, desire, and even trust. In other words, by reconstituting the office desks of architects using Cornell University’s archival holdings, this paper turns our conversations surrounding flexibility toward an interrogation of what is at stake in the standardization of charm. Through this analysis it will become possible to see that the implications of flexibility in architectural practice today are varied, abstract, and susceptible change, but also that, however tumultuous, the techniques of charm will try to navigate them.
Self-Organization: The Fun Palace’s Gridded Excess
Ana Bonet Miro, University of Edinburgh
Animated by rapid developments in information technology, the appetite for free and dynamic space evident in the architectural experiments of the Sixties implicated the anxieties of a transient subjectivity subject to what Alvin Toffler had, in 1965, referred to as ‘future shock’. The image of abstract information patterns disembodied from their material instantiations would progressively permeate consciousness, a cultural condition that Katherine Hayles has defined as virtuality.
Situated within the historical time of the punch card and enticed by the idea of self-organization, the Fun Palace offers a relevant case to investigate the complex interplay between technology and pleasure, and more specifically between self-organization and under-specification in the Sixties’ culture of emancipation. Mediated by the figure of the grid, the practices of modulating air, charting performance and indexing pleasures push towards information and organization as the new objects of design, and with it, the redefinition of the role of the architect as that of systems designer. Underpinned by cybernetics, Price’s so-called ‘anti-architecture’ would aim to give away the stability of its body for an inbuilt non-programme – which would take the form of an interactive and evolving system regulated through feedback gathered from participants – as the means to pursue the project’s emancipatory ideals. Crucially, embedded in the agenda of the Cybernetic Committee constituted to design it, self-organization became realized within the material corpus of its work.
This paper looks closely into the archive of the project to argue, on the one hand, that the self-directed modus operandi of the Fun Palace organization as conveyed through its grids proves resistant to the modern commodification of thought. For it challenges architectural design metaprescriptives related to authorship and finitude by means of the libidinal mobility of the Fun Palace agenda, one that constantly puts itself into play by way of pleasure and excess. Drawing on Roger Caillois’s taxonomy of games on the other hand, the cultural role of the Fun Palace grids is assessed in relation to what could be read as ‘vertigo’ haunting the Sixties social experience.
Experiments and Enemies of Openness: The Case of Frank van Klingeren (Netherlands) and the Question of Authorship
Ecem Sarıçayır, Cornell University
Calling himself an overaged Provo, architect Frank van Klingeren (1919–1999) was most active during the 1970s in the Netherlands. His ideally non-hegemonic architecture and anti-authoritative position as an architect are seldom discussed and researched today. However, his architectural practice raises important questions about “open architecture” and participatory design—and, as such, provides a valuable contribution to contemporary discussions of flexibility. Van Klingeren’s radical ideals offered experimental answers to social and urban issues of the seventies, such as urban renewal, urban development, and—a particularly pressing concern for him—the issues of pillarization (verzuiling) and community (building). His two (at their time, radical) community centres, De Meerpaal and Het Karregat, should be perceived as embodiments of these ideas. Nevertheless, as much as these buildings brought him fame, the discussions and stir that his architectural practice generated also caused him agony. Shifting social, economic, and ideological realities of the 1980s introduced new ideals of space and leisure that led to public demands for alterations to his community centres. In response, Van Klingeren went to court to protect the flexibility of his designs by invoking his intellectual property, acting in seeming conflict with his anti-authoritative and participatory architectural principles. This paper investigates architectural flexibility and its limits as it emerges in Van Klingeren’s thinking and practice as well as his court case. To do so, I juxtapose an analysis of his written works with an interpretation of archival material. I investigate his democratically inclined architectural principles of flexibility as they appear in various written works such as his poems, stories, and critical essays. I interpret these alongside archival materials consisting of court documents and his correspondences about the renovation of De Meerpaal.
Languages of Flexibility: Digital Architectural Grammars, circa 1970
Pablo Miranda Carranza, KTH Stockholm
At the same time that flexibility was being constructed as the potential to rearrange, repurpose and even reclaim spaces within modernism, the 1960s and 70s saw the technical concretisation of a parallel conception of design as an open system, into a number of methods and technologies. Influenced by the linguistic and cognitive paradigms underlying the programming languages in which these strategies were being implemented, the intention of these systems was to produce architecture the same way one might derive spoken or written sentences from a set of grammatical rules. Some of the many examples of these concretisations include Christopher Alexander’s “pattern language” (1977) or the shape grammars proposed by George Stiny and James Gips in the 1960s, which were used to encode the individual styles of Andrea Palladio or Frank Lloyd Wright into flexible combinatorial design systems.
The majority of the historical record of this early digital architecture consists of texts written in assembly, FORTRAN, Lisp and other programming languages. These historical texts and the technical systems in which they were inserted still remain outside traditional historiographical methods. The present paper looks at how these forms of digital flexibility, variation and indeterminacy were linked to new forms of writing and literacy associated with the computer in the early 1970s. It looks in particular to the specific case of shape grammars and the programs, diagrams and formal descriptions used in their proposition. Shape grammars not only exemplify the application of linguistic models as a means to implement design as an open combinatorial system, but also embody a moment in architecture dominated by formalism, semiology and linguistics, leading, as Manfredo Tafuri would put it, to “a syntax of empty signs” within “a language that speaks only of itself.” (Tafuri 1974)
Zachary Stewart, Texas A&M University
Lizzie Swarbrick, University of Edinburgh
Frequently encountered in the historiography of pre-modern architecture is the theme of genius loci—a paradigm in which factors such as climate, local resources, and local traditions are understood as determinative for the building practices of a given region, country, or nation.
Writing on Gothic architecture is a striking case in point. The style was a pan-European phenomenon. Yet, almost from the beginning, it was interpreted in patently ethnic, regional, or national terms. Late medieval observers in northern Europe saw it as French (opus francigenum). Early modern observers in southern Europe saw it as German (maniera tedesca). And antiquarians, archaeologists, and architectural historians active during the era of the formation of modern nation states, in an effort to advance competing domestic claims to Gothic, coined a series of stylistic labels—’Perpendicular’ for England, ‘Flamboyant’ for France, ‘Sondergotik’ for Germany—that continue to be employed into the present day.
Thus have medieval architectural historians struggled to examine the buildings of smaller regions with more heterogeneous architectural traditions. Scotland—a land whose medieval edifices have been characterised as ‘dour’, ‘embattled’, and even a ‘fag-end’—is exemplary in this regard. Smaller buildings less sympathetic to foreign fashions have typically been viewed as crude. Larger buildings more sympathetic to foreign fashions have typically been viewed as mannered, wilful, or downright bizarre (cf. Roslin Chapel). Such interpretations not only uphold a simplistic centre-versus-periphery model of historical explanation but also assume that national styles are real ontic categories.
Raising the stakes for a re-evaluation of issues of place, space, and identity is the politically febrile atmosphere in which we now live and work. Indeed, nativism draws on the idea that countries have distinctive (if not inviolable) cultures, and architecture plays a dual role in such discourse in that old buildings can be used as evidence for certain values and new buildings can be used as vehicles for certain ideologies. Consequently, this panel seeks to interrogate the relationship between architecture and regional or national identities in the pre-modern period, with an emphasis on the buildings of medieval Scotland.
Encompassing Medieval Multiplicity: Styles, Historiography, and Architectural Identity in the Medieval Mediterranean
Heather E. Grossman, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
The problematic dichotomy of “East” and “West” has long been used to frame medieval architectural history. This division has pressed unique architectures, such as those of Sicily, Syro-Palestine, Cyprus, and post-crusade Greece, into stylistic categories that they do not easily fit. In this paper, I examine such stylistic categories as they have been applied to medieval Mediterranean monuments in locales that saw periods of intense cultural interaction.
Historiographic arcs in many countries have claimed – or disavowed – monuments that display traits from multiple, canonical medieval architectural styles, such as Gothic, Islamic, or Byzantine and their subsets, often in the service of nationalist or imperialist aims. For example, buildings of post-crusade Jerusalem were declared by French architectural historians of the nineteenth century to be not only Gothic, but belonging – albeit clumsily – to regional French Gothic variant styles, showing the reach of francophone power in its outré-mer.
Some Greek architectural historians, writing as the country emerged from the German occupation in World War II, noted that Byzantine architectural traditions had remained uncorrupted in the post-crusade Peloponnese, despite the presence of Frankish settlers and their sculptors for the duration of their domination of the peninsula. But, how did the medieval populations of these places interpret the buildings around them, and how was architecture employed to create identity? How can we re-evaluate such nationally determined attributions and recover medieval architectural meaning?
I argue that extant monuments in such defined, heterogeneous contexts can reveal how medieval architecture, over time, both reflected and inflected the mixed socio-cultural character of their locales. I demonstrate that the transmission of architectural knowledge, memory practices, and social exchange created highly localized and “stylistically” fluid buildings that frequently fused initially disparate architectural practices into monuments of shared experience and identity.
The Fortification Face-Lift: Nationalism, Regionalism and the Nineteenth Century “Restoration” at Monflanquin and Rudelle, France
M. Jordan Love, University of Virginia
The southwest of France has frequently been defined by its austere and militarized church architectural aesthetic during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, in contrast to the proliferation elsewhere of bar tracery and large expanses of glass that came to characterize Gothic style. Certainly, this was rooted in very active Cistercian and mendicant church builders, battling the ever-present heretical movement of the Cathars.
What began as a solution to the physical and spiritual needs of local communities changed into a fusion of ecclesiastic and military architecture to convey a larger message of authority. However, the association of churches in the southwest of France with military architecture came to define the region in later centuries, occasionally resulting in a manufactured aesthetic created during nineteenth century restorations. Documents show that restoration authorities argued over what the “ideal” and “original” state of the churches must have been.
Although there is a definitive, formal connection between fortification and church architecture, some monuments were not eloquent enough in their medieval architectural heritage to satisfy late nineteenth and early twentieth century historians, who sought to transform them into an idealized state rooted in the spirit of Viollet-le-Duc. Complicating this picture is the fact that many of the thirteenth century communities in the southwest of France were a mix of English, French, Spanish, and Catalan origins: an Occitan identity that defied the very notion of a nation state or a national style.
Using the churches at Monflanquin and Rudelle as case studies, I will attempt to deconstruct the fortified architectural identity to reveal the variations of church architecture actually present, illustrate the debate among the restoration teams of the early twentieth century, and question whether the architecture of the southwest of France really has a homogenous regional style.
Style as Corporate Identity: Modes of Church Architecture in Free Imperial Cities of 15th Century South Germany, Alsace and Switzerland
Bernd Nicolai, University of Bern
In his book Germania – Germany – Enea Silvio Piccolomini (Pope Pius II) praised the well-built towns and impressive church buildings of German cities such as Strasbourg, Ulm or Frankfurt. Within the Holy Roman Empire he perceived a specific quality and status of the free imperial cities, which formed a chain from Alsace to Bohemia, and south to the Swiss Alps.
Although Piccolomini used the Tacitian national notion of Germanic/German he emphasized their federal character. Far beyond early 20th century nationalistic terms such as “Sondergotik” with its’ misleading definition of the “Hallenkirche” as principal structure and its antagonism to French architecture, 15th century late Gothic architecture was a transnational phenomenon from Bohemia arching to Cologne and Flanders, or to Strasbourg, and Savoy.
This paper will address the network structure of church building and commissioning in the free cities, exemplified with the Ensinger dynasty who were in charge of buildings in Ulm, Esslingen, Strasbourg, Milan, Bern, Ripaille, Konstanz, Basel and Landsberg. They transferred the Bohemian court style around 1400 and adopted new regulations for the transfer and the organization of the lodges (Regensburg Lodge declaration 1453). Together with other heads of lodges with families like Roritzer or Böblinger, they created an effective system of style transmission as corporate identity for the free cities. These buildings – beyond churches also town halls – were representative for an “International Style” of the emerging cities and their political power within the system of the Holy Roman Empire around 1500.
Drawings of the Mudéjar Architecture of Seville and the Historiography of Spanish Architecture in the Early 19th Century
Martin Paul Sorowka, University of Seville
The seismic social and political changes which Spain underwent during the early nineteenth century cannot be over-emphasised, and yet the country’s (then unknown) wealth of art, and architectural antiquities still made it an essential extension of the Grand Tour. At the same time, the endless political turmoil and Mendizábal’s confiscation of church property, unsurprisingly, brought about a crisis of national identity with particular architectural implications.
Witness to this crisis was the Royal Academy of San Fernando whose responsibility had been, since its founding in Madrid in 1752, to protect and promote Spain’s architectural monuments. Its initial publication solely presented the ‘Moorish’ architecture of Granada and Córdoba in Antigüedades Árabes de España, (1787- 1804). This narrow focus was to widen greatly in the nineteenth century in response to the academy’s increasing awareness of the wealth and complexity of Spain’s architectural heritage, culminating in the wondrous diversity of architectural taxonomies in the publication Monumentos Arquitectónicos de España, (1856-1881). The publication of this work coincided with the public reading of José Amador de los Rios’ El Estilo Mudéjar en Arquitectura (1859) in which the word ‘Mudéjar’ was used as an architectural term for the first time in an attempt to define the individual character of Spanish Gothic while encompassing its diversity, and was immediately contested by Pedro de Manzano.
The Mudéjar Alcázar and parish churches of Seville were central to Amador de los Rios’ thesis. This paper uses published and unpublished drawings of these buildings made by Spanish and foreign artists to elucidate its gestation and draw attention to the inherent problems in the use of this architectural term.
Introduction of the Gothic Elements into the Byzantine and Old Russian Architectural Systems in the 14th-15th Centuries: The Cases of Palaces in Mystras and Novgorod the Great
Alexandra V. Trushnikova, Saint Petersburg State University
Anna A. Freze, Saint Petersburg State University
Byzantium and Old Rus’ are always the least locations in the Gothic imaginary checklist. However, the preserved monuments present important cases to test the ability of Gothic to be implemented in local architectural styles.
The complex of the Palaces of Despots of Mystras, began as a residence of a Frankish castellan, was enlarged and rebuilt by local rulers during a century and a half. The western part with the Throne Hall is considered to be the latest addition to the residence, probably commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II, and dated to the beginning of the 15th century. Its decoration presents a variety of Gothic decorative details. The whole complex is characterized by pointed forms of arches, doors and windows.
The Faceted Palace in Novgorod the Great commissioned by the archbishop Evfimiy II in 1433 is the easternmost civil edifice in Brick Gothic style. The brickwork, construction techniques, the specific forms of the vaults are the cross-cultural product of the local commissioner and the “German master builders”, who, as the Chronicles tell, were invited to build the monument.
Both, the Despots of Mystras and Novgorod the Great were strongly interconnected with the countries of the Western Europe, but the ways Gothic was integrated into their own distinct thesaurus varied. In Mystras, the heart of Morea, where Byzantium was to take hold and be renewed, the despots built the palace with the pronounced Gothic decoration and the latter was also introduced to the church architecture. The archbishop, de facto the head of Novgorodian Republic, on the one hand, lived in a Gothic palace, and on the other, developed a special program of renovation for the local churches, which were to imitate the old local ecclesiastical architecture. This report will seek to explore the specifics and venture to explain the reasons of these two versions of Gothic inspiration in the Byzantine Oecumene.
Jorge Correia, University of Minho
When Friaries Change: Transformations of the Monastic Buildings of the Franciscans and Dominicans in 13th/14th Century Lübeck and their Meanings
Christian-Fredrik Felskau, Independent Scholar
The architectural history of the Friars Minor and the Friars Preachers in medieval Lübeck can be divided into three phases of crucial constructional activities: It commenced with the implementation (late 1220s to 1276) after which a fire destroyed major parts of the inner urban buildings including the friaries. This period is characterized by notable extensions of the monastic precincts and by mostly unpreserved building activities. The second phase might be labelled “phase of re-building” (from the late 1270s to the late 1310s). During this period, the building activities of the friars are much better traceable by archaeological and art historical investigations. The Dominicans erected during this phase their gothic church as a tri-naval basilica, but added at the same time further buildings and areas like a brewery and a flower garden. The Franciscans instead finished their works on the choir and the transept. The final phase for the time under investigation started with the Black Death, which hit the town in 1350, and ended around 1400, when the Dominicans erected a new choir and the Franciscans rebuilt the five-bay and two-naval refectory, a rather untypical choice. As an immediate reaction to the plague and due to pious donations of the citizens, the Franciscan managed to build their church Saint Catherine nearly ex nuovo while the Dominicans added a large, two-storied “house of confession” to their plant, a particular form of building for Dominican, if not to say Mendicant architecture.
The paper seeks to shed light on the motivations and consequences of these building activities during the three phases and, in addition, intends to decipher their functions and relevance for the social, religious and political integration of the friaries into the urban surrounding. The scope of the paper is dedicated to overcome the traditionally distinct paths of research, which separate archaeological, art historical, and historical insights from each other.
Ephemeral Sceneries in the Beginning of the Eighteenth-Century Rome: Nature and Culture
Alexia Vahlas, Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
In Rome, during the first decades of the Eighteenth century, ephemeral sceneries designed for ceremonies that took place about every month often included a sculptural group on background architecture, overhanging a natural element. It is worth noting that a significant representation of the nature was linked with a building illustration, and that finally the nature itself buried this representation. Indeed, just few hours after that those sceneries had been unveiled in a public place, in the middle of the night, there were spectacularly burned by pyrotechnical effects. The cooperation of so many trades such as architects, sculptors, pyrotechnists, or even masons to create an event with such a short life time amplifies the paradox.
Despite the engravings, it is difficult to apprehend those constructions which, often attached to a façade, were taller than the buildings in the cramped squares they occupied, and spanned almost the entire width of this space. Those ephemeral sceneries did modify temporarily the place. Moreover, some permanent architectures were modified to welcome those ephemerals like that of the Palazzo Colonna, support of Chinea’s sceneries. Those settings were finally potential models for permanent and emblematic projects, like that one of the Fontana di Trevi. Similarly to the ephemeral sceneries, this fountain is attached to a façade, in front of which there is a carved group overhanging a rocky mass, all immersing a place so narrow. The impact of those ephemeral buildings on the permanent architecture lead to the concept of a “monumentalisation” of the ephemeral.
Finally, the effects of the ephemeral sceneries on the sense, creating this je ne sais quoi that characterize the indefinable nature, is representative of practices of the age of reason. It is about to focus on the temporality of this event too, also characteristic of the Enlightenment experience. The study of these sceneries will allow approaching the notions of space and time through the relationship nature/culture at the dawn of the Enlightenment in the pontifical state.
Legitimation through the Ephemeral: The Neo-Medieval Monument for the Anniversary of the Restoration in Turin
Tommaso Zerbi, University of Edinburgh
In 1814, after sixteen years of French rule, Sabaudian sovereignty was restored in Piedmont, and Victor Emmanuel I of Savoy, King of Piedmont-Sardinia, returned to Turin. A fascinating drawing conserved in the Archivio Storico della Città di Torino, testifies that in 1834, in the urban fabric of the capital of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, was devised an ephemeral Neo-Medieval monument to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the so-called political Restoration. Through a reading of the forgotten and hermetic ephemeral construct, used as a pyrotechnic device during the festivities, this unpublished paper argues that temporary architecture played a pre-eminent function in staging majesty, evoking collective memory, and intertwining royalist and medievalist narratives in the capital of the Kingdom. On the background of a delicate political asset and in a time of construction of modern European states, it explores the under-noticed role that medievalist ephemera played in conveying a burgeoning national sentiment centred on the celebration of the ruling dynasty as the rightful head of the nation. In doing so, the pyrotechnic device will be discussed in relation to other Neo-Medieval projects relating to the crown of Savoy in the first half of the nineteenth century. In particular, by comparing ephemeral and permanent projects, it will be suggested that, whereas the latter tended to qualify as more ‘private’ projects, distant from the capital and, above all, its spectators, the former constituted key stage and ‘monuments’ for the mise en scène of royal power to a wider urban audience.
André Malraux’s World Art History Univers des formes and the Process of Decolonization in France
Kerstin Meincke, Universität Duisburg Essen
In the process of decolonization, the then French minister of cultural affairs André Malraux, together with Georges Salles, director of the Museums of France, initiated the global art history l’Univers des formes, published through 42 volumes between 1960 and 1994 by the French publishing house Gallimard. Through this project, Malraux expanded his ideas of a global cultural heritage’s transmission through photographic images that had famously culminated in his Musée imaginaire (1947) by shifting from individual sculpture to architectural ensembles on the basis
of cartographic models. My paper intends to examine the precursors and ideas that gave shape to this project, understanding it as a medium through which the transformative status of a global heritage produced under “the geopolitics of Empire” was negotiated. It seeks to analyze particularly the role of artists and artistic models of perception that formed an important part in the process
of the aesthetic definition of a global heritage canon assembled in the Univers des formes through a close reading of an (unpublished) contribution by modernist photographer Germaine Krull, who was commissioned for a planned volume on Southeast-Asia in the early 1960s.
Defining Brazilian Modernity through a Curated Past: The role of SPHAN in Creating Monuments during the Vargas Regime
June Komisar, Ryerson University
This paper seeks to explore the ways a government can define and project a particular, curated identity through the preservation of the past. Using Brazil as a case study reveals that the legacy of such deliberate efforts of defining monuments and heritage in the first half of the 20th century can persist into the present day.
The Getulio Vargas “Estado Novo” regime that began in 1937, sought to define modern Brazil through the study and preservation of colonial heritage through the creation of the Serviço do Patrimônio Histórico e Artístico Nacional (the National Historical and Artistic Heritage Service), known as SPHAN. While studying and promoting Brazil’s 18th Century colonial heritage, SPHAN officials glossed over other periods, peoples, regions and identities to define and promote a select set of buildings and sculpture as Brazil’s monuments to portray the past, define the present, and point to the future.
The creation of SPHAN continued an interest in Brazil’s heritage, from the founding of the Brazilian Institute of History and Geography in 1838 to articles in the Revista do Brasil about historical religious art and architecture in 1920, by the poet Mário de Andrade. Andrade was just one major figure in the controversial Semana de Arte Moderna (Week of Modern Art) in Sao Paulo in 1922, embracing modernity as he studied the past. Also in 1922, an exhibit within Brazil’s International Exhibition that celebrated Brazil’s centenary, linked modern architecture and the colonial together, and in this way forged a particular Brazilian identity. Both events suggest that the Brazilian modernism was nourished at least partly through a carefully curated focus on the past. Investigating what was left out of this curated past and what was privileged and monumentalized can help to understand the political and social climate in which Brazilian modernity was formed.
A Temple and Roses: The Garden of Joseon Hotel with Oriental and Occidental Tastes in a Colonial Capital of Seoul
Jung-Hwa Kim, University of Seoul
Kyung- Jin Zoh, Seoul National University
This paper aims to describe a hotel garden as a contact zone where Oriental and Western cultures and tastes encountered. The paper draws upon a garden in Joseon Hotel in Seoul, Korea, that was constructed during the Japanese colonial era, the early twentieth century. By analysing drawings, maps, photos and literary works about the hotel garden, this paper examines how the garden played a role in forming the images and introducing the concepts of Joseon to Westerns. Vice versa, the West was similarly introduced to Koreans.
When colonisation of Korea began in 1910, the Japanese Bureau of Railway established not only train stations but also hotels to promote tourism and railway networks. Joseon Hotel is one of the hotels built by the Japanese Railway; its planning was a national and colonial project to form a base for the Eurasia railway network and a location for the Joseon Industrial Exhibition of 1915, thereby promoting a meeting place for Korea and the world.
The hotel garden is arranged in two disparate areas: a part of a former Korean altar built in 1897 to serve as a site for the performance of the rites of heaven, and a rose garden newly designed in 1914. Structures remaining from the former altar such as a temple, gate and animal sculptures transformed historic icons into aesthetic objects without historicity and delivered an Oriental taste of Korea to Western travellers. The garden, meanwhile, introduced the Occident and exotic cultures through different roses from Belgium, a fountain, a tennis court and an orangery with palm trees, which were unfamiliar to Koreans.
Located at the forefront of a colonial capital where the movement of peoples and commodities occurred, the Joseon Hotel garden functioned as a place for transculturation, the introduction of plants and objects without ecological and social contexts.
Aldo Rossi’s World Theatre: A Reinterpretation of the Political Space in Early Postmodern Architecture
Sonia Melani Miller, Université libre de Bruxelles
The World’s Theatre (Teatro del Mondo) was a floating building designed by Italian architect Aldo Rossi for the opening of the Venice Architectural Biennial of 1980. It was an ephemeral structure at the borderline of art and architecture and one of Rossi’s most eloquent examples of architettura parlante exemplifying his use of archetypes and symbolic culture to evoke the genius loci through local mythology and elements of collective memory. Rossi’s World Theatre paved the way for a particular approach to postmodern architectural production that defined the cultural landscape of the 1980s, and its enigmatic display was almost a prediction of the onset of the post-Cold War era’s ‘new world order.’ The essay proposed herein centres on the investigation of the political meaning of the ‘World Theatre’ in reference to the 1980s’ Venetian Biennial of Architecture on Postmodernism and to texts by Rossi’s contemporaries, Manlio Brusatin, Francesco Dal Co, Daniel Libeskind, Paolo Portoghesi, Vittorio Savi, and Manfredo Tafuri. It also proposes to explain Rossi’s understanding of the notion of Genius Loci and his reinterpretation of the technique of Architecture Parlante, intended as the architectural tradition used by architects of the enlightenment to respond to emotional inner states through the application of conventional forms and images, and to research the sensation of body-movement, disembodied forms of abstraction, and mental states of Einstein’s geometry of space-time as a form of architectural experience. In this context, Rossi’s project presents itself as an expression of the late twentieth century architects’ return to the parlante tradition through a renewed interest in semiotics, ultimately reinterpreted in terms of the meaning of, in Jean La Marche’s words, ‘architectural object[s] […as] signs of life, of the collective, of the present, and of the timeless.’
Burcu Dogramaci, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Within urban societies, certain spaces facilitate the exchange of ideas, foster debate and the formation of discourse, and encourage the construction of personal and professional networks across many borders; their architectural forms and materialities often speak to their openness. This session will focus on a somewhat overlooked typology in this regard: the hotel—and, in particular, the hotel in the so-called Global South. While hotels have been studied in terms of soft power and Americanization (Wharton, 2001), and their political significance has recently begun to be assessed (Craggs, 2012, Elshahed 2016), analyses of their social and cultural functions as well as their often ambivalent status as urban and architectural icons seem to be contained in the realm of novels and travel writing.
This session proposes that hotels played a particularly important socio-spatial role in colonial/post-colonial societies of the South in the decades around independence (and beyond). They were meeting places, exhibition spaces, spaces for consumption and venues for music performances. Their terraces played host to diverse encounters between different and sometimes conflicting groups of people, who could talk over a beer or coffee in the shade of a tree or umbrella. Beyond providing bedrooms, hotels were key spaces of sociability for the local people and visitors alike. Recounting his experiences in newly independent Tanzania, Ryszard Kapuscinski described the New Africa Hotel, where beyond others “the fugitives, refugees, and emigrants from various parts of the continent” met (Kapuscinski, 2001: 97). In Bombay (now Mumbai), the Taj Mahal Hotel played a similar role. In contrast with the New Africa Hotel, it was not built by the colonial power, but by a local industrialist. Its lobbies and hallways provided exhibition space, while its elegant tea rooms and restaurants were popular with the local elites.
Building on this theme, this session explores hotels as places of interaction, forums of discussions and ex- or inclusive spaces: contact zones. It focusses on the ways the hotels’ architectures facilitate these entanglements. Moreover, the session addresses questions such as: In what ways did hotels contribute to the formation of urban societies? How did local populations use their spaces? How did shifts in architectural styles and building practices affect this? Was the location of the hotel within the city significant?
Between British-Mandate Palestine and Republican Turkey: The Jerusalem Palace Hotel, the Ankara Palas Hotel and the Formation of National Identities in the Post-World War I Period
Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
T. Elvan Altan, Middle East Technical University
This paper examines the Jerusalem Palace Hotel (1928-1929), designed by Turkish architect Mehmet Nihat Nigisberk, and the Ankara Palas Hotel (1927), designed by Vedat Tek and Kemalettin Bey, who was Nigisberk’s mentor. The hotels’ design and construction reflect dramatic regional social and political transformations, and the continuation of national, international as well as professional networks, demonstrating connections between the formation of post-World War I identities.
In Palestine, British mandatory rule (1918-48), with similarities to colonial rule, promoted large-scale modernization that included, alongside government buildings, typologies affecting social life, such as hotels. Being the most important new Muslim-Palestinian building in the city, the Jerusalem Palace Hotel fostered interaction between the British administration, foreign elites and local Muslim leadership. It also hosted international congresses and exhibitions, serving as a site of contact between the emissaries of new Muslim nations.
The Turkish Republic (founded 1923) implemented a similar process of modernization, especially rebuilding Ankara as its capital to house the administrative and social functions of a modern city. The Ankara Palas Hotel, as the first state-commissioned hotel and the largest of the period, not only accommodated tourists, but also provided space for political and recreational activities, such as diplomatic meetings and official celebrations, as well as gatherings of social organizations.
Both hotels boasted modern functions and technologies while also evidencing the negotiation of the Ottoman historicist style in their design approach. Elements from local Muslim monuments were added in the Jerusalem Palace Hotel to represent emerging Palestinian identity, and the Ankara Palas Hotel re-appropriated the late Ottoman ‘national’ style in order to represent Turkish identity. This paper aims to discuss the political and social roles of these lavish city hotels that thus inscribed new national identities on a modern typology, by sanctioning spaces for local as well as international interaction.
Cosmopolitan Sociability at Green’s and the Taj
Rachel Lee, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
Between 1900 and 1950, Green’s Hotel and the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel played significant roles in the social life of Bombay (Mumbai), the economic urban powerhouse of colonized India. Built on Apollo Bunder to accommodate large apartments by the restauranteur William Booth Green in 1890, Green’s was redeveloped into a hotel by the Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHC) in 1904. Operated by the influential Tata family, IHC had opened its first hotel, the opulent and much larger Taj Mahal Palace Hotel on an adjacent plot in 1903. Rather than integrate Green’s into the Taj, it remained a distinct entity, separated from the Taj by a road and referred to rather disparagingly by some as “the hotel across the garden.” Complementing each other through their differences, Green’s acted as a foil for the Taj: Where the Taj was the epitome of aspirational manners and sophisticated socialising, Green’s was impolite, loud and subversive. They followed different agendas with the entertainment they offered and the type of clientele they wished to attract. This paper will analyse the socio-spatial functions of the two hotels, investigating the platforms they provided for interaction between a diversity of people. As well as outlining the activities that took place in the hotels such as luncheons and dinners, political and club meetings, music and dance performances, lectures and art exhibitions, it will discuss the communities who participated in them. Arguing that they created spaces of both inclusion and exclusion, it will posit that a wide cross-section of Bombay’s famously cosmopolitan population was involved in the happenings. Local cultural elites mixed with exiled artists and intellectuals; seamen from around the world drank at their bars; tourists, businesspeople and politicians met in their lobbies. Through the mix of people and spaces, the hotels actively affected the development of the city.
The Politics of Hospitality and Representation: Hotel Furniture and (Interior) Design, Case Studies from Morocco and Nigeria
Kerstin Pinther, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
In the 1960s, the Egyptian architect M. Ramzy Omar designed the Hotel Amitié in Bamako/Mali as a built manifestation of the two countries’ friendship and common socialist agenda. Of equal techno-political importance was the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, where Nigeria’s independence declaration was signed. Similar to the then famous Bristol Hotel, built by the Architects Co-Partnership on Lagos Island, it soon became the meeting place of a cosmopolitan urban society. These are but a few examples from the Global South which allude to Fregonese’s and Ramadan’s (2015) proposition to research into the geopolitics of hotels. My presentation starts here and aims to look at hotels (and partly airports) as iconic buildings and agents of soft power that, especially in the era of independence, played a crucial role in mediating architecturally and visually the modernity and openness of the countries concerned. Modern interiors and furniture design, I argue, contributed in meaningful and sometimes conflicting ways to the promotion of tourism and togetherness, to shaping and projecting cultural identities and international relations. Lobbies and bars were the public face of the hotel, the arrival hall and the VIP lounge fulfilled similar functions at the airport. With the examples of the holiday complexes by Moroccan architects Abdeslem Faraoui and Patrice de Mazières and the hotel and airport furnishings by Demas Nwoko, Uche Okeke, Yusuf Grillo and designers represented by Knoll International, I am particularly interested in the role (local) artists and designers played in creating these spaces of interaction. How was interior design and furniture employed to convey a sense of local embeddedness and an engagement with the international design world at the same time? How did the artists of the progressive Casablanca Group, respond to the architects’ topic of ‘integration’ and what importance did the (updated) form of the caravanserai and the arts populaires gain in this context? In what ways did hotels fulfil an additional function as alternative exhibition spaces?
Glamour and Conflict: Two Moments in the History of the 71st Hilton
Panayiota Pyla, University of Cyprus
On February 2nd 1967, in Cyprus, at the opening of 71st Hilton, the ribbon was cut by the country’s president, and other guests included Ms. Hellas, the financial editor of the Times, the publisher of Holiday magazine, and famous actors and singers. The president’s speech had a tone of gratitude for his country’s becoming part of the “golden chain of Hilton Hotels” and Conrad Hilton Jr. reciprocated with flattery for the island’s “rich history and charm.” The hotel’s interior design reinforced these claims, with the “Copper Bar,” making excessive use of the valuable metal that had given Cyprus its name in ancient times; and the hotel’s coffee shop highlighted ancient myths regarding Aphrodite and this “island of love”. Meanwhile, the bi-communal co-operation in financing the building provided a much needed proof that the recent tensions between Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots would subside, and the Hilton would support the government’s efforts towards a new peaceful and prosperous state.
This paper juxtaposes the above glamorous ‘moment’ in the history of the Hilton, with the less hopeful form of ‘contact’ in 1974, when the island was violently divided, and the Hilton site experienced bombing and the killing of the US ambassador. At that point the Hilton, among other hotels in the capital Nicosia, became another type of ‘contact zone’: hotel rooms were used by reporters, medical personnel, or the United Nations; hotel lobbies held diplomatic meetings for peace negotiations; and hotel gardens became sites of locals’ demonstrations.
By juxtaposing these different types of “contact zones”, the paper underlines the peculiar role of hotels, not only instruments of tourism development or nation-building in the global South; but also spaces of contestation, were local politics became intricately entangled with geopolitical strategizing.
Agip M/Hotel Dar es Salaam
Giulia Scotto, University of Basel
The Agip Motel of Dar es Salaam was built in 1964, year of the birth of independent Tanzania, by the Italian national hydrocarbon agency ENI. This Italian version of a North American typology was a specimen of the ‘Motel 59’ prototype originally developed by ENI’s engineering department for the motorist of the Italian ‘autostrada’ and later repeatedly implemented in the African context.
Strategically located at the centre of Dar es Salaam, between the Asian commercial district and the former colonial administration area, and a few meters from the most renowned New Afrika and Kilimanjaro hotels, the Agip was conceived as a business motor hotel with single rooms and essential facilities and was managed by an influential family of Greek settlers.
The motel and its adjacent gas station were part of ENI’s “disegno Africano”; the expansion of its oil supply-chain into the African continent. ENI’s close partnership with the Tanzanian government made the Agip Motel, from its inauguration to its closure (in the late 1990s), a vantage point to observe the political, social, and cultural transition of colonial Tanganyika into what Achille Mbembe defined as the ‘postcolony’ (Mbembe).
Based on archival material, oral history accounts, and the close reading of the Motel’s design features, the paper will interrogate the history and the human entanglements of the Motel Agip in order to unveil its multiple performances.
Indeed, the building operated simultaneously as material advertising for Agip gasoline and Italian modernity, as a stage where Tanzanian motorized elites could perform their modern aspirations, and as an urban segregating machine where postcolonial white settlers could preserve their identity and privileges. At the same time, its prestigious restaurant and the cocktail bar on the roof terrace offered an exclusive contact zone where ENI’s neo-imperial ambition met the interest of the postcolonial ‘gatekeeper’ state (Cooper).
Elena Chestnova, Università della Svizzera Italiana
The theme of domesticity and displacement has become a central topic of architectural scholarship. This is manifest in EAHN’s 2019 themed conference on the subject as well as a growing number of publications that appear in academic and professional journals. Most of these studies address contemporary phenomena and events of recent history, with some scholars extending the discussion into the displacements of the twentieth century and the architectures that accompanied them. Earlier histories of domestic spaces in migration contexts are, however, still largely conspicuous by their absence.
The subject of home on the move, of home-making in the wake of displacement, of taking flight, coping and making do is without doubt sharply relevant in today’s world. Its actuality is precipitated partly by the discussions of the “refugee crisis” or “migration problem” – phenomena that, in the journalistic and political rhetoric, are often presented as novel challenges of the modern world. While this exposition is misleading (migration is as old as humankind), some aspects of population movement in its current form are clearly modern: the nation state with sharply imposed and policed boundaries, national belonging as a cornerstone of individual identity, and the idea of domesticity in the sense of inalienable rootedness. These notions, which now frame our understanding of “home” and “foreign,” were moulded to a great extent during the long nineteenth century.
We will be looking to examine the ways in which ideas of home and belonging were shaped in the context of the increasingly global world of the nineteenth century with a view to expose some of the assumptions that began to be made about the notion of home and the idea of migration during this period. With hope, historicising the origins of these assumptions might help us begin to investigate how the age-old phenomenon of migration became a problem in our times.
Cultivating Italianità in Eritrea: Commodities and Domesticity in the Construction of the Nation-State
Giulia Amoresano, University of California Los Angeles/California State Polytechnic University
In 1893, nine families from four different regions of Italy migrated to Eritrea as the first non-military settlers to occupy the newly-acquired territory. Provided land and financial support by the Italian government, the families established the first ‘esperimento di colonizzazione,’ the village of Godofelassi. Despite using an Eritrean house typology, the village’s layout was designed as a familiar type meant to reproduce homes for Italians while affirming Italianità in the colony. Yet, in the same way the design of the village was neither Italian nor Eritrean, the experimental cultivation aimed at producing ‘tropical’ commodities as coffee and tobacco was foreigner to the Italian families as to the Eritrean soil.
Aligned with experimentations in Italy to unite, employ and house its divided population, Godofelassi was to offer an alternative to the many families escaping Italy’s poor rural areas who would otherwise be migrants/labourers somewhere else. Eventually, the experiment failed to reproduce the imagined community desired: some of the families bonded with Eritreans, while the soil was domesticated to produce typically-Italian crops.
This paper complicates the figure of the migrant as a monolithic construct, presenting the ambivalence of the multi-regional families migrating to Eritrea as both agents of the state and experimental subjects for the reproduction of a uniform Italian identity. Godofelassi presents an alternative certainty distinguishing home and foreign, challenging consolidated notions of domesticity and the rapport between migration and colonialism, usually framed as a contested system of place appropriation between the customary binomial colonizer/colonized. The case of Godofelassi suggests that domesticity acts through production, and that the period of emergence of the domestic sphere is the very same as that of not only the nation but its specific capitalist economy of products. Finally, it challenges the totality of consolidated terms arguing for the potential of exploring the hard-to-classify episode.
Home “Improvement”: Paradoxical Notions of Domesticity in Bangalore, a Princely Capital (1881-1920)
Sonali Dhanpal, Newcastle University
The Anglo- European notion of the home and its power to reform, mould and reshape “native” habits and customs, in the constitution of colonial power, is well known. In Bangalore, the administrative capital of the Princely state of Mysore, the ordered home took the form of the bungalow as part of residential “improvement” schemes in the city between 1890 and 1920. During this critical period, the city became a labour market, attracting new migrants who housed themselves in designated ‘native pockets’ in the city’s civil and military station. Without interference from the princely state and a municipality run by a British Resident, the station allowed sociality beyond the limits of traditional caste and occupation hierarchies. Thereby attracting migrants of marginalised endogamous groups referred to variously in records as Pariahs, Tamils or ‘low caste menials’. Concomitantly, a need for sanitary housing arose with cholera and plague outbreaks, and providing it became part of a larger national project by the colonial government. But as this paper will reveal through one such plague-proof planning scheme, Frazer Town, planning “improvements” were often paradoxical. On the one hand, the bungalow within a compound, became leitmotif for twinned sanitary and moral reform in localities such as Frazer Town. On the other hand, capitalist imperatives and laissez-faire economics constrained improvement measures. Existing migrant communities were displaced to make available the bungalow and the bourgeois comfort of a planned locality, to limited populations. Owing to the paucity of self-representation of marginalised, non-local, migrant communities, this paper draws attention to such understudied social groups by examining spaces such as segregation camps and temporary plague settlements that they were rehoused to. Moving beyond social privilege and aesthetics of improvement projects such as Frazer Town, this paper shows how the notion of home that provided refuge for some, rendered others displaced and dispossessed.
“Everything in its place” Home Economics Manuals, Teachers and Migrant Ideas to Organize the Home, Santiago de Chile, 1900-1924
Paula Florez, Pontificia Universidad Católica of Chile
This paper presents three short stories about instructions for the spatial organization of the home and their connection with political processes around the consolidation of the Chilean republican state. Home Economics as a school subject was for the State a tool to disseminate ideas of modern urban life through the education of women since 1860. The contents of domestic science were formulated by women teachers employed by the Chilean government who based their perspectives on materials developed in European countries and North America. The interior space was at the centre of discussions about the organization of bodies, spaces, and objects, not only as a private topic but also as a public problem about the ways of living in a modern city. I want to highlight three women writers: First, a Swedish migrant, second, a translator from German, and, third, a school visitor who compiled information from the United States and Europe. They proposed in their manuals three methods for understanding and systematizing the domestic interior organization and its ideal effects on urban life. These cases not only show immigrant women who bring ideas about the organization of home space. They are also evidence of manuals from other parts of the world that reached the hands of Chilean teachers who translated and re-compiled them as new texts. These books provide evidence of domestic ideals that crossed borders through their readers in the configuration of an international network of women, manuals and knowledge. This is a process to formulate a Chilean domestic science from imported ideas which placed the ideals of Chilean domesticity in the global context. Home Economics was the science that allowed women to imagine the relationship between domestic interior space and the city at a time when women did not have access to training as architects.
“Who is My Neighbour?” New York Italians and Housing Design Reforms in the Late Nineteenth Century
Ignacio Gonzalez Galán, Barnard College, Columbia University
The question “who is my neighbour?” appeared in an 1899 article authored by Danish photographer and housing activist Jacob Riis, published in the American nationalist magazine The Century. Riis discussed the diverse religious performances gathering Italians in New York, first segregated in groups from different Italian regions and then together as a diasporic community with a shared national background. The formation of this community was particularly relevant at the time, for the Italian diaspora—the largest one in modern history to date—coincided with the unification of the country and the rise of Italian nationalism. The formation of the nation as an “imaginary community” took place simultaneously in Italy and in New York and was in direct friction with the rise of American nationalist ideas after the Civil War.
This paper studies the way in which housing design reforms in New York at the turn of the century participated in the consideration of Italian migrants as citizens, defining their inclusion and exclusion in America through processes of assimilation and discrimination. Jacob Riis was not only a chronicler of these processes, but also a protagonist within them. In fact, his evaluation of those individuals whose houses “had ceased to be sufficiently separate […] to afford the influences of home and family,” linked the general concern with ventilation and lack of space in the tenements with the celebration of the nuclear family as a privileged domestic arrangement for the different diasporic communities settling in America. Through a critical reading of fundamental texts of the period, the discussion of performances enabling diverse forms of belonging, and the analysis of transformations in housing, this paper considers how architecture linked the family to the nation and helped shape shifting identities providing access to citizenship for the Italian diasporic community in New York.
Settling the Murray
Laila Seewang, Portland State University
In 1893 when the availability of pastoral lands, and of British investments in them, dried up, Adelaide experienced a sharp recession. As a way of alleviating social hardships, city officials pinned their hopes on the dream of, and recent advances in, irrigation. They formed citizen collectives and sent them to tame the Murray River, the mythical inland watercourse in the desert. The dream was a rural hinterland of agriculture and self-sufficiency projected onto a seemingly empty land and born of imported European values: plans were drawn, land divided, machinery imported. Invisible was the fact that the Murray Basin had for centuries been a physical and spiritual centre to the indigenous population. The settlements failed, many within the first two years. But their short life reflected the wider problems associated with the attempt to domesticate the Australian environment. This domestication, often less successful in practice, helped to develop a rural culture based on imported environmental values that inserted itself between the binary of urban (colonial settlements) and wilderness (the Australian ‘outback’). Against a broader topic of irrigation as a common technology imposed by European colonization to tailor crop production to domestic markets, this paper tries to understand colonization, through irrigation, as a cultural effort by an urban community to domesticate its environment in order to produce specific values regarding home and inhabitation.
Lukasz Stanek, University of Manchester
Richard Anderson, University of Edinburgh
The Belt and Road Initiative, launched in 2013 by China, has been described as the biggest development plan in history. However, the Initiative is part of a longer history of state-led, multilateral project since World War II. This session will revisit them and question the ways in which the dynamics of multilateral cooperation resulted in architecture and urbanisation at multiple scales. The panel will address the management of multilateral cooperation and technical assistance by international organisations, such as UNESCO, and the European Development Fund (since 1957). It is particularly focused on collaboration within the Comecon, or the Council of Mutual Economic Assistance, and its multilateral coordination of architecture, planning, construction, and construction material industries in socialist countries. The latter straddled many scales and materialities, from large-scale projects such as the Druzhba pipeline, linking the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites, to attempts at the unification of architectural norms, building regulations, and industrial standards in Comecon countries.
While in the recent years scholars have given much attention to architectural cooperation during the Cold War, most of these studies have been focused on bilateral relations, including continuities in architectural mobilities since the colonial period (Western Europe) and the emergence of new actors (USA, Eastern Europe, Israel, China). The study on multilateral cooperation not only advances this scholarship but also allows to reconceptualise its terms. In particular, the focus on more than two actors facilitates a move beyond the dichotomies between dispatcher and receiver, centre and periphery, the foreign and the local. Instead, it foregrounds questions of collaboration, coordination, and the division of labour, including the changing power dynamics such questions entail. Because of the often prolonged character of these engagements, they pose questions about learning processes, feed-back loops, and the incorporation of gained experience into new projects. Because of their large scale, multilateral projects facilitate comparison between the specific ways in which strategic objectives were implemented and modified by various actors and the effects of these initiatives in diverse geographic locations.
Reconstruction of North Korea: International Assistance as a Basis for Juche Architecture
Jelena Prokopljević, International University of Catalonia
This paper examines the reconstruction of North Korean cities, specifically Pyongyang and Hamhung, after their almost complete destruction in the Korean War of 1950-53. As one of the first violent conflicts of the Cold-War Era, it entailed massive destruction and the loss of around two million lives on both sides, occasioning a wave of solidarity from many “fraternal” socialist states that got involved in the reconstruction of the North. Countries like Romania, Albania, and Hungary sent assistance in material; numerous Chinese soldiers joined the workforce; while the Soviet Union and the GDR provided economic, technological aid, training and expertise. Most of the country’s recovery relied on the international assistance, including COMECON aid, trade relations and loans.
The planning of North Korean cities was based on European models for overcoming traditional and colonial urban structures, while its architecture adopted a simplified “Koreanized” version of Socialist Realism. The plan of the new Pyongyang was developed by Kim Jong Hui, a Soviet trained architect, the central area of the city was reconstructed with help pf Chinese workers, material and machinery, while the city of Hamhung was planned and rebuilt by the Deutsche Arbeitsgruppe (DAG) between 1955 and 1962. Due to the diversity of the organizations involved and their relations with North Korean partners, the work efficiency and the final results had different results and considerations. The DAG was autonomous, as an heir of the pre-war workgroups for planning and construction that worked on rebuilding almost the entire city, including state institutions, housing and production plants, and therefore it was able to manage its budget and production schedule independently. On the other hand, Korean architects trained in USSR, GDR or China were integrated into the state planning institutes, and many Soviet and Chinese reconstruction projects were shared with local institutions so the real scope of assistance is difficult to trace except in specific references of symbolic importance.
In the times of destalinization and the Sino-Soviet split, international aid gradually became the object of criticism by the North Korean leadership, coinciding with the growing personality cult of Kim Il Sung, purges and repression. The architecture developed by the fraternal socialist countries was tagged as low quality and foreign, and it was used in the discourses that formed Juche ideology followed by neo-Korean architectural modernism.
Cementing the Ties: ZAB, CMEA and the Practice of Multilateralism in Syria and Ethiopia
Monika Motylinska, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space
With cement being the material condition for infrastructural development, cement plants are meta-infrastructure – infrastructure for infrastructure itself, the necessary prerequisite of every large-scale infrastructural project in the 20th century. Thus, they were also of particular importance for the development of multinational investments in CMEA countries and countries that cooperated with this economic organisation.
However, this paper views cement factories not primarily as economic investments but as architectural (and urban) joint projects, investigating how the concept of multilateralism was materialised––or failed to materialise. Therefore, in order to understand the dynamics behind such projects, I propose to turn the attention to the meta-level of a particular company, Zementanlagenbau (ZAB) Dessau, which acted globally and was a key actor in the planning, coordination and execution of CMEA joint investments with participation, among others, of Bulgarian, Cuban and East German companies and institutions. This perspective is especially helpful in gathering insights in the decision-making and logistics behind particular realisations––scrutinising the implementation of multilaterism, with all its challenges, beyond the proclaimed political agenda.
The choice of regions and projects in my paper is dictated by the core areas of the ZAB’s international activity within the framework of CMEA. In Syria, the joint projects of cement plants by CMEA members were realised in the whole country, starting already in the late 1950s and continuing until the 1980s, whereas in Ethiopia the construction of the largest cement plant, New Mugher I and II bundled the competences of diverse actors in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Invisible Cooperation? Inventing Socialist Internationalist Theatre Building Norms in the 1970s
Ksenia Litvinenko, University of Manchester
Most of the previous architectural scholarship tackling cross-border collaborations within the socialist bloc focused on the role of experts and political economy in fostering mobilities of architecture and technology. Sociotechnical devices that enable such travels remain marginalised within historical inquiry. Among them are norms — a peculiar type of standard ensuring the integration of planned economies both at the state and inter-state levels. Since the 1960s, the broad introduction of norms has allowed the translation of technologies of standardization across COMECON countries, the coordination of resource allocation, creation of multilateral institutional ties, including technological cooperation with capitalist countries. However, in the discussion of socialist architecture, norms still appear mainly as an importunate obstacle for one’s creative practice.
This paper proposes to look at the process of norm-making as one of the modes of multilateral cooperation among socialist design institutes. Using archival and oral history research, the paper addresses the process of negotiation of shared building norms for theatre architecture during the 1970s among three leading socialist organizations in the field: GIPROTEATR (Soviet Union), Scénografický ústav (Czechoslovakia), and Institut Für Kulturbauten (East Germany). The normalization of theatre building typology offers a lens onto negotiations of state-sponsored culture and urbanism that goes beyond discussions of standardization merely within industry and infrastructure. Looking at norm-making from the perspective of particular design projects, the meetings of architects, engineers, and foreign construction firms at international places of mediation, such as OISTAT and the Prague Quadrennial, might help not just to ‘place’ socialist architecture within the political-economic context, but to understand how this context is created through and within entangled architectural practices.
Foreign Technical Experts and the Production of Airport Infrastructure in China
Max Hirsh, University of Hong Kong
Recent scholarly work on China has devoted much attention to policy directives that aim to export a “China Model” of infrastructure-led urban and regional development to emerging economies in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Less attention has been paid to the origins of those infrastructure models, which form the centrepiece of the Chinese government’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This paper addresses that gap by studying the development of China’s airport infrastructure from the 1980s to the present. In so doing, it posits aviation as an insightful lens for framing the multidirectional processes by which infrastructural expertise was imported into China from Europe, Japan, and North America during the post-Mao period of Opening Up and Reform. In particular, it focuses on a series of cooperative research, training, and development programs—organized jointly by Chinese, French, and American transport agencies, airport operators, and tech firms—that have fuelled the co-production of airport architecture and aviation technology on a global scale. In so doing, the paper demonstrates how large-scale infrastructure projects operate not only as emblematic manifestations of multilateral cooperation, but also as economic vessels for channelling reciprocal cross-border investments between multiple state actors. Drawing on fieldwork conducted at airports in Atlanta, Beijing, and Paris—and on expert interviews with architects, planners, and engineers—the paper argues that an analysis of the transnational origins of China’s infrastructural expertise can help us to better conceptualize the processes by which the “China Model” of infrastructure is currently being exported—or rather re-exported—abroad.
Multilateral Supply Chain Architecture: Building Infrastructures of Global Commodity Production in Ethiopia
Elke Beyer, Technische Universität Berlin
This paper discusses current large-scale construction projects aiming to create infrastructures of global commodity chains in Ethiopia. It focuses on aspiring textile and garment manufacturing hubs made up of export processing zones, logistics facilities and transport networks. In their ambitious endeavour to turn the country into “a leading manufacturing hub in Africa” (Growth and Transformation Plan II, National Planning Commission 2016) Ethiopian national authorities have been cooperating with multiple international and national partners in order to plan and build these spaces of globalized production – including development agencies, globally active consultants, planning and construction firms. In recent years, under the umbrella of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese state and private companies as well as banks acquired a very prominent position among the actors involved in infrastructure provisioning. These physical interventions reconfigure global supply chains and transnational economic interdependencies as they reshape urban spaces and urbanization patterns. They are perceived by some as materializations of a new “scramble for Africa”, or alternatively framed as heralds of a new “age of choice”, echoing earlier periods of competitive infrastructural development interventions by colonial powers or Cold War antagonists.
The paper addresses the provisioning of architectures, infrastructures and urban spaces of global commodity production as current instances of multilateralism. Probing into the complex web of actors involved in their planning and on-going realization processes, it seeks to address modalities of cooperation and coordination, negotiations and conflicts across different scales and places, and thereby to contribute to a methodological discussion on how to study multilateral constellations and processes of producing urban space. My aim is to situate current infrastructure provisioning within different temporal and spatial layers of transnational infrastructure and industry development or debris – from Italian-built textile factories and roads to GDR manufacturing equipment export and technological aid, to World Bank logistics improvement projects, Turkish clothing producers going bankrupt, and railway construction sites about to be abandoned by Chinese contractors. I argue this offers an empirical entry point to study globalized production chains and multilateral infrastructure provision as a crucial nexus within the larger political economy of uneven spatial development.
Mohammad Gharipour, Morgan State University
Caitlin P. DeClercq, University of California, Berkeley
In 1979, medical sociologist Aaron Atonovsky coined the term “salutogenesis” to refer to factors that promote physical and mental health and, in so doing, offered a new lens to consider the study of health beyond the mere consideration of death and disease (pathogenesis). Though rarely remarked upon in such terms in architectural history, in fact the practices of architecture, city planning, and landscape design have been employed over time and across diverse geographies toward salutogenic, or health-enhancing, purposes. For example, essential resources like water have been manipulated and distributed through infrastructure across and beyond urban areas to sustain basic health, and gardens, hospitals, and other therapeutic spaces have arisen within cities to aid healing and health-promoting practices.
Following the 16th century, architecture and urbanism went through significant changes during what is known today as the Early Modern era. This era witnessed major reforms in political, economic, and cultural institutions across the world from Europe to East Asia. Contemporaneous with these shifts, city planning and design were leveraged to improve public health in cities through a host of new public resources and construction projects, including urban infrastructure (e.g., bathhouses, irrigation system, roads), medical facilities, therapeutic landscapes, and places for gathering and entertainment. These ideas illustrate Gesler’s (2003) four categories of healthy environments—built, symbolic, natural, and social—and convey how architectural history owes some debt to public health. Further, these urban interventions were justified by theories of health, healing, and benevolent medical practice. Thus, alongside novel built forms and ideas about the architectural qualities and resources essential to healing and health, a new constellation of legitimizing discourses emerged among those in power. Public health, then, offers a critical lens through which to view the function, use, and social significance of institutions and spatial practices within early modern cities—and of architecture itself.
This session seeks to situate the development of early modern cities within these broader trends by exploring the profound and complex ways that architecture and landscape design were conceived of and employed as instruments of health promotion in the development of urban infrastructure, institutions, and spaces in Western and Eastern societies in the 16th – 18th centuries.
City and Health: The All-Saints Royal Hospital of Lisbon (16th-18th Centuries) Edite Alberto, Universidade Nova de Lisboa
Joana de Pinho, Universidade de Lisboa
Founded in 1495 in Lisbon, the All Saints Royal Hospital was the first public hospital built in Portugal by royal initiative. Created in the context of the assistance reform carried out by King D. João II, it resulted from the merger of small, medieval hospitals, creating a more efficient institution in terms of hospital assistance and administrative functioning. The building, inspired by the Renaissance in terms of architecture, marked the city design, the public spaces and circulation, having become a symbol of royal power and urbanism until the beginning of its demolition in 1775. In terms of care, it was a meeting point for different forms of knowledge, from the European space and from the newly visited Asian, African and American continents. The understanding of the building, its characterization as a health space, including public health aspects, its social location and the appreciation of the role it played as a reference construction in the built heritage of the city of Lisbon and as an ordering element of the urban space, constitute the main objectives of the research projects “All-Saints Royal Hospital” (a partnership between the Lisbon City Council and the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of Universidade Nova de Lisboa) and “Hospitalis – Hospital Architecture in Portugal in the Beginning of Modernity: Identification, Characteristics and Context” (PTDC/ARTHIS/30808/2017 – European Institute of Cultural Sciences Padre Manuel Antunes and ARTIS, School of Arts and Humanities, Universidade de Lisboa). Parting from the on-going research in both projects, in this communication, we intend to highlight the importance of the All-Saints Royal Hospital, the most relevant health institution in Lisbon and an innovative institution testing a new architectural model, which will play a major role in the urban design of modern Lisbon from the 16th century renovation to the 18th century reconstruction. Having been referred by countless individuals who visited the capital, the hospital stood out for its grandiosity and visual impact, and at the same time for its functional architecture, with particular characteristics and needs, considered since the first moment of its planning and design, while serving the city and promoting health. Thus, our proposal propose an innovative approach by discuss the characteristics of health and public health in Lisbon of the Early Modern Age, from the analysis of this hospital, its architecture and the building as an element of urbanism in the city. We will also consider institutions such as Lazaretto and Health House, which cooperated with it.
Madness in the City: 'Mental Hospitals' and Public Health in Grand Ducal Tuscany, 1642-1788
Elizabeth Mellyn, University of New Hampshire
Contrary to scholarly views that once emphasized the squalor and disorder of pre-modern European towns and cities, historians have recently shown that, by as early as the fifteenth century, many cities boasted sanitation infrastructures and interconnected networks of institutions devoted to the management of health and hygiene. Absent from this new turn to the history of public health are histories of hospitals devoted solely to the care of the mentally ill that began to proliferate throughout Europe from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries. Histories of these institutions tend to remain tethered to teleological narratives that cast them as harbingers of greater humanity and progress or greater oppression and social control. They are neither. Using the rich records of Santa Dorotea, Florence’s first mental hospital, I argue that these hospitals should be analysed in the context of an early modern region’s constantly changing public health goals and challenges in concert with the institutional and architectural infrastructures created to meet them. Established in the wake of one of Grand Ducal Tuscany’s worst confrontations with bubonic plague (1630), Santa Dorotea’s founders were profoundly influenced by the new culture of public health that had emerged to create a healthy city resistant to disease. They explicitly aimed to create a medical and Christian therapeutic space that would help keep streets and households clean and orderly while offering a “salutogenic” space for the severely mentally ill. They were attentive to air quality, light, and climate control—environmental factors that figured large in contemporary medical theory—but also to the healing effects of proper diet and Christian devotion. Far from being stand-alone institutions, the founders of early modern mental hospitals like Santa Dorotea saw them as integral parts of a larger public health infrastructure that served to promote and maintain a city's health.
Salutogenetic Karlsruhe: Architectural and Infrastructural Traces of a Health-Enhancing City Plan since 1715
Joaquín Medina Warmburg, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Nina Rind, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Nikolaus Koch, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
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Searching in Germany for early case studies of a salutogenetic architecture, one finds striking examples in the 19th century, when hygienic and social reform approaches anticipated the achievements of modernism during the Weimar Republic. Thus, well-known cases such as the Karlsruhe Dammerstock-Siedlung (1929) by Walter Gropius with its sun-oriented row houses could be interpreted as an adaption of the "Sonnenbaulehre" (an early “Theory of Solar Architecture”) postulated around 1800 by the physician Bernhard Christoph Faust. Yet the example of Karlsruhe shows that already since the early 18th century the built environment -from the symbolic to the social level- had been shaped taking into consideration health and basic services. 1715 the decision was made to move in the symbolic centre of the court and its entire household from the historically grown, medieval Durlach to a barely six kilometres detached site determined by the environmental conditions of the forest and the floodplain. The plan of an ideal city based on the geometric scheme of circle and rays expressed the will to also improve fundamentally the living conditions of the citizens. Health-enhancing architectures and infrastructures played a central role and stood in a tension between centrality and decentralization, between control and self-determination. The focal point of the new urban complex was still the castle with its elaborate garden facing the city, including several water features. But in addition, the cityscape of Karlsruhe was shaped by model stone houses newly developed and arranged for citizens. They provided sufficient light and air for better home hygiene and enabled self-sufficiency through kitchen gardens and private groundwater wells. The first radial city plans show a clear arrangement of the parcels of land. With increasing population and expansion of buildings and infrastructure (housing, transport, market, wastewater, etc.), the building plots and gardens changed: they turned into polygonal, kinked and residual plots. Sophisticated designs were necessary to adhere to the sun symbolism of the original fan beam plan.
Architecture and Plague Prevention: Lazzaretti in the Eighteenth-Century Mediterranean
Marina Inì, University of Cambridge
This paper examines the role of architectural features of lazzaretti in promoting a salubrious quarantined environment and in preventing the spreading of the plague. From the sixteenth century onwards, lazzaretti were established as a long-lasting protection against plague at borders and important trading centres of the Italian peninsula and the Mediterranean region. Merchants, travellers, and goods coming from infected or suspected lands were quarantined and disinfected inside lazzaretti. Each lazzaretto and the corresponding Health Office constituted a fundamental nodal point of a system designed to preserve not only the health of the city, region or state but also of Europe as a whole. Indeed, quarantine and its procedures were based on shared information concerning the state of health in foreign lands. Letters, bans, protocols and procedures were shared between Health Offices of different states in order to have a consistent system in the Mediterranean area. Architectural models too were directly and indirectly shared. Even though the institution hosted mainly healthy subjects and typically operated in times beyond plague outbreaks, the architecture was designed to provide a healthy and clean space. The aim was to avoid any plague outbreak potentially brought by the continuous trade interaction with infected and suspected regions. From the choice of the location, the presence of winds and natural sources of water, to specific architectural features, lazzaretti and their procedures stressed the importance of the quality of the built environment. By analysing different lazzaretti in the Mediterranean region and their administrative documentation, this paper argues that their architecture reflects early modern notions of contagion and plague. These ideas paid great attention to the senses and to cleanliness which are then in turn echoed in the architecture and in protocols of lazzaretti.
Private Vices, Public Benefits: Health and Vanity in Early Modern York
Ann-Marie Akehurst, Independent Scholar
Dr Bernard Mandeville, provocative author of Fable of the Bees: or, Private Vices, Public Benefits (1714) argued vice was a necessary condition for economic prosperity, and philanthropy concealed self-interest. ‘Pride and Vanity have built more Hospitals than all the Virtues together’, he asserted. Yet, in 1844, Dr Thomas Laycock’s epidemiological report on the city’s health correlated low-lying areas, poverty and reduced lifespan, writing: ‘Wealth influences health, the two in inverse ratio to each other’. This was not news: in 1727, York resident and King’s physician Clifton Winteringham, documented recurrent disease across the city in Commentarius nosologicus, morbos epidemicos. Though Mead’s Discourse Concerning Pestilential Contagion (1720), was reinforced by Lind’s Essay on the Most Effectual Means of Preserving the Health of Seamen (1757) concerning disease transmission, the plight of poor people remained unaffected. Locating architectural projects in York’s epidemiological history, this paper confirms Mandeville’s assertion, arguing good health remained a luxury. Rather than products of disinterested civic virtue, some schemes masked political motives: the County Hospital’s subscription stitched benefactors into the patronage network; the Asylum leveraged philanthropic building for social capital. The riverside promenade, racecourse and bathhouses were for paying customers; that piped water was for the rich; in 1844 poor people still drank contaminated river water.
Horacio Torrent, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Ana Maria Rigotti, Universidad Nacional de Rosario
During the sixties and seventies, the expectations of imminent political and social turmoil stirred the architectural field. Exchanges between Europeans and Latin Americans promoted new concepts, theories and practices in the broad field of the built environment, fostering transnational and interdisciplinary approaches. We know a lot about the transatlantic interactions during the “first machine age”; however, only a few monographic approaches refer to the fertile field of these joint experiences after the crisis of traditional conceptions of architecture. Much remains to be revealed and problematize about how these interchanges proposed new ways of conceiving the profession and a theoretic debate that historiography can reveal in its actuality.
Key examples can be mentioned: the UIA congresses in Havana (1964), Buenos Aires (1969) and Madrid (1974); the VIEXPO in Santiago de Chile (1972); the Triennale di Milano on free time (1964); the stays of students and professors on both sides of the ocean (Yona Friedman, Moshe Safdie and Jap Bakema in Buenos Aires, Aldo van Eyck in Santiago, Enrique Ciriani in Paris, Mario Soto in A Coruña); the experiences opened by the new social agenda for young practitioners (Vittorio Garatti and Roberto Gottardi in Havana, John Turner in Peru).
In these receptive scenarios, ideas about the great number, the big dimension, the right to the city, the economic and social “development”, the swift of the attention from the building to the landscape and the territory, were proposed. They enabled experimental practices, a particular relationship with art and the reconsideration of the architect as an agent for social practice. They opened alternatives to a polar world, particularly between Latin America and Eastern Europe, as well as forms of political and economic solidarity around urban issues that put traditional forms of discipline and profession at stake.
Entente Cordiale: The Smithsons and Lucio Costa
Carlos Eduardo Comas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul
Ruth Verde Zein, Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie
Peter and Alison Smithson (1923-2003/ 1928-1993) met Lucio Costa (1902-1998) when they attended a conference organized by Architectural Design on Capital Cities (1958). The winners of the Berlin Hauptstadt competition (1954) were impressed enough with the planner of Brasilia (1957). They sent him an invitation to join the new CIAM (1959). Although this initiative did not prosper, when the couple won the commission for the British Embassy in Brasilia (1964), their agreement with the Ministry of Works designated Costa as consulting architect. Costa acted as mentor to the Smithsons; telling them what to see in their trips to Brazil provided unusual references for the Embassy design. The 'squashed crocodile" or "form riding the landscape" proposed by the Smithsons is explicitly related to their visit to the eighteenth-century Fazenda Babylonia. Ultimately, the project was cancelled (1968), but the North-South interpersonal relationship endured.
The analysis of archived and published material in England, the United States and Brazil suggests a lively conversation between the Smithsons and Costa on issues that did not cease to be topical and radical (i.e. fundamental) in the swinging sixties. One is the use of infrastructure and landscaping to generate significant urban form for a motorized mass society; indeed, the Smithsons and Costa collaborated again on planning ideas for flooded Florence (1967). Another is the use of vernacular, mechanical and natural sources to properly characterize modern celebratory buildings (i.e. monuments) at home and abroad, in both cases managing communication with different social groups. The Smithsons overdo Corbusian influence in Brazil and neglect that of the English picturesque, while now and then sounding like old imperialists. However, they honestly acknowledge the pioneering, exemplary nature for better or for worse of built Brazilian works vis-à-vis European efforts, belying later historiographical surveys.
Failed Industrialization: Housing Production Knowledge Export from the GDR to Chile 1971-73
Renato D'Alençon Castrillón, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Daniel Korwan, Technsiche Universität Berlin
Between 1971 and 1973, the trips of important East-German architects such as Gerhard Kosel and Roland Korn show the strong political will towards exporting GDR housing industrialization experiences to Chile. At the same time, the reception they had in CIMEC-CORFO and Universidad de Chile, as well as the invitation to take part in VIEXPO ’72 confirm this interest also had a stronghold in Chile. However, heavy industrialization strategies as the ones used in the GDR didn’t have much impact in the actual industrialization of housing construction in Chile, despite these attempts and the argumentation for it prevailing on both sides at the time.
The expertise brought to Chile by the GDR in the course of these events marks a critical station in a much larger and far more complex decentralized network of techno-political cooperation and exchange that was established between Chile and the GDR between 1971 and 1973. This network began to operate as part of a more general agreement regarding technological and scientific cooperation signed in 1971. It was eventually intensified and charged with content through ambitious individuals.
The political agenda regarding the right to housing was largely triggered by the fact that GDR had made this a constitutional requirement. Using the means of two public exhibitions in 1971 and 1972 the public was meant to be engaged in this topic.
At the same time, a bidirectional exchange of experts was established, trying to provide the Chilean side with the required expertise. This began with the idea of integrating actual technological artefacts that were no longer aiming at repeating the East-German approach to housing within the Chilean context but were rather aiming at an application of administrative knowledge to optimize planning and productivity.
Entusiasmos Compartidos: Transatlantic Architectural Exchanges in the Iberian and Latin American Architecture in the 1970s
Rute Figueiredo, Université Rennes 2
Ana Esteban-Maluenda, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Pablo Arza Garaloces, Universidad de Navarra
In the words of Álvaro Siza Vieira, written in a letter addressed to Oriol Bohigas in 1976, the empathy, exchange and comradeship between the Portuguese and Spanish architects were crucial “to keep conscious the enthusiasm while waiting for a more favourable environment.” Coming from a long period of authoritarian political regimes, in those years both countries were building a new environment towards democracy, at the same time that the crisis of traditional conceptions of architecture was consolidating in the world.
Within a professional sphere that was looking for new theoretical and practical paths, those architects expanded their communication networks. Thus, it was reinforced the dynamic of exchange and encounter with the Latin-American architects, fundamentally based on a shared set of historical perceptions, political views and collective memories. In truth, these were years of “entusiasmos compartidos” (shared enthusiasms), as expressed in the title of Oriol Bohigas’ book of memories — one of the main protagonists and key agent in the promotion of an Iberian-Latin-American network of relationships in the architectural field since the 1960s.
The purpose of this paper is precisely to present and map the global panorama of contacts and exchanges between Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American architects and critics, during the period of Iberian transition to democracy. By looking at the interchanges published in the architecture journals of the both sides of the Atlantic and by analysing the numerous international meetings promoted in the scope of organizations such as, among others, the UIA — with Havana (1964), Buenos Aires (1969) and Madrid (1974) —, this paper aims to point out the main nodes of a possible network that, in this period, was particularly focused on the social and economic problems of the city and on the role of the architect as an active agent in the society.
Intrusive Models in Architectural Teaching: Semiological Links between Paris and Buenos Aires
Isabella Moretti, Universidad Torcuato di Tella
It was 1965 when the architect and scholar César Jannello presented a paper—written jointly with the intellectual and semiologist Oscar Masotta—at the VIII Conference of the International Union of Architects (UIA) in Paris. According to its title, the paper’s ambition was to establish “a theory of architecture that could unify and centralise its teaching.” Thus, the general topic of the conference was the teaching of architecture, and the particular task of the Argentinean delegation was to focus on the issue of propaedeutics, as in the preliminary study of other disciplines to be applied in architecture school. Whilst Jannello became a prominent figure, who taught for more than thirty years in Argentinian universities, Masotta’s influence in architectural discourse during the sixties remains unexplored. His thoughts but mostly his methodology—shown most extravagantly in his book Consciousness and Structure published in 1968—relies on the overlapping of objects and discussions ranging from pop, structuralism, to psychoanalysis and linguistics, which enhanced the connections between fields of knowledge that until then seemed unrelated. In parallel, Diana Agrest and Mario Gandelsonas, two young promising architects, went to Paris in 1968 to study with Roland Barthes at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. As they came back, they founded with Jannello the course Architectonic Semiology at the University of Buenos Aires one year later. Preoccupied with the loss of architecture to functionalist ideology, they sought to demystify its object and expose the veiled ideological and sociocultural structure acting on design through semiology. The aim of this paper is to trace this network of crossed references and focus on the highly productive disciplinary promiscuity of Latin American intellectuals that allowed the reading and appropriation of seemingly divergent and independent theories in unison.
Redefining Collectivity: Latin America as the Cradle of 60s Revolution
Ana Tostões, IST-Tecnico-University of Lisbon
In the 1960’s counterculture emerges within the openness of architectural culture to the large scale of the territory, the complexity of the global city, the interdisciplinarity of the built environment, and, to that extent, the social responsibility of architects.
Arising out of the European welfare security realm, these actions, experiences or after-effects summoned an intense interdisciplinarity between the world of technology and humanities, bringing sociology or anthropology to the centre of the discussion. This explosion opened the architectural discipline to the real world far beyond what had hitherto been the western beaux arts tradition. An unprecedented realism is confronted throughout the 1960’s. From that moment on, Latin America definitely becomes the vanguard of this new era.
The beginning of a new historical path could be detected in Latin American architectural culture, as it has been pointed out on “Latin American Architecture as a Historiographic Category” (Torrent, 2015). Writings and practices conducted in Latin-America focused on the search for a new ethic in architecture, whose aim was to encompass an original link between tradition and innovation. This vision goes beyond the buildings’ science construction and envisions a wider cultural scope to the foundation of an ethical architectural approach to the real-world problems.
By relating the spatial and social nature of the Peruvian Previ process (Turner coord.), this paper tries to identify the overlaps between Social Housing response and the thoughts on urban design considering the Metabolist Fumihiko Maki’s “theory on collective form” (1964) and his contribution on the outcomes of Previ – the only Metabolist idea actually built. It argues that Latin American revolution and Japanese Metabolist ideology during the 60’s embodies a developing radical modernity, as well as a process of social restructure to fundamental human rights redefining collectivity. Finally it considers the impact on the Portuguese SAAL (1974-1976) experience questioning Siza’s Bouça neighbourhood in Oporto.
Silvia Beltramo, Politecnico di Torino
Catarina Madureira Villamariz, Universidade NOVA de Lisboa
Gianmario Guidarelli, Università degli Studi di Padova
The convents of the mendicant friars played a central role in the construction of the cities of Late Middle age and Early Modern Europe (1200-1500). The international character of the orders and mobility of the friars meant that new trends, styles and social practices spread rapidly throughout Europe: friars were as much “missionaries” of social practices as they were of architectural or decorative ones. This panel poses the question of how to situate Mendicant architecture as a result of the product of spiritual, social and economic policies negotiated between convents and citizenship, between laity and religious.
This session (born from the international project “The medieval city, the city of the friars”, 2018 AISU Networking Call for Proposal and Medieval Heritage Platform, Politecnico di Torino DIST) focuses on the mendicant construction strategies. Architecture extends into the city and permeates the urban constructions. This strongly determines the conception of the construction of convents as result of the interaction of several factors related to the will to self-representation, the progressive affirmation of order and the utopian ideal of poverty, always conditioned by the search for economic support and by the local conjunctures.
Conventual buildings as a result of a long process of becoming, as part of an organic and additive approach to architecture. The architecture of the new orders was by definition work in progress moulded to their changing institutional character and the conventualization of their settlements. “Friars used a combination of all these possibilities: their architecture had an amoeba-like mobility that responded to requests by donors for altars and chapels as well as to broader changes in social, economic and spiritual circumstances” (C. Bruzelius, Preaching, Building, 2014).
The Formation Process of the Conventual Built Organism: locus fratrum predicatorum, Ravenna (1269)
Alessandro Camiz, Özyeğin University
On March 2nd 1269 Philip from Pistoia, archbishop of Ravenna, in presence of a large group of people, ordered the commune of Ravenna to assign a substantial urban area for the construction of the church, the convent and the cemetery of S. Domenico. The document describes the properties to be expropriated, in particular the church of S. Maria in Gallope, a turreted palatial complex whose construction dated back to the Byzantine times (VI century), and a number of houses. The centrality of the place, previously linked to the exarchal residence, thus assumed a new character oriented towards the settlement of the Dominicans in Ravenna.
Subsequently, on October 19th of the same year, the municipal council ordered the extimatio of the area, and in a meeting discussed the construction modalities, including the property’s boundaries detailed description, the construction of a new road and the project’s financial details.
The interest for this case study relies on the double instrumentum, archiepiscopal and municipal, testifying a concordia inter clericos and laycos that, yet written in the communal statute for over 50 years, assumed here a specific programmatic character. The reconstruction of the pre-existing and subsequent topography of the site, based on the emphyteutic lease documents (V-XIII cent.), superimposed on the rectified redesign of the Gregorian cadastre, allowed an in-depth study of the design models of the locus fratrum predicatorum in Ravenna, and through the comparison with other coeval examples, the individuation of the typical formation process of the western conventual building.
Continuity and Change and the Nature of Late Gothic in Ireland as Manifest in Certain Architectural Processes in Franciscan Friaries in Connacht, West of Ireland 1400-1600
Lynda Mulvin, University College Dublin
Late Gothic Friary architecture represents a flourishing in Ireland and a certain group of more remote monasteries beyond the River Shannon in Connacht of Franciscan and Dominican Orders demonstrate the coming of age of Gothic design. The ‘pre-Reformation’ period 1400- 1600, was one of change which characterises shifts in architectural process and monasteries of Connacht are viewed here as a set, demonstrating the nature of cultural change. This paper examines certain premises in the architecture of the Friary regarding the nature of Gothic as an international style, as it is manifest in Ireland. It is proposed here that the spatial arrangement and change in function in the mendicant monastery required alterations in the form of the building type, to adapt to site restrictions of city living. Two distinctive aspects of the Orders of Friars were the commitment to a mendicant life, and the mission to reach salvation to the poor. The friars were members of the international community in which mobility of individuals was common. General characteristics shared by friaries: the church building developed from a two-cell structure to a broad nave, to accommodate large numbers of people attracted by the friars’ reputation as preachers. The chancel containing the choir and high altar remained relatively small. Friaries at Galway-city, Kilconnell, Claregalway, Moyne, Rosserk and Roserrilly are examined with a focus on Quin Abbey. Quin is a valuable control, situated on fortifications walls of an earlier castle, which provided limits for the new building. Rebuilt in 1433, it was necessary to prioritise each element within a confined space according to location and function. The cloister is the central feature to the north of the church, itself a narrow, nave-chancel type with a projecting transept. This gives us a 15th century view of architectural monastic blue-print as applied to the Orders in Ireland.
Architectural Strategies to Enlarge Conventual Buildings: The Construction of Porches in Portuguese Mendicant Churches (13th-15th Centuries)
Catarina Almeida Marado, University of Coimbra
Mendicant convents changed substantially throughout time. In Portugal, like in other European countries, the friars first establish themselves in small existing churches, but a few years later they started to build their own churches and conventual spaces, which they successively enlarge and reformulate over the centuries. The continuous enlargement of the conventual buildings was motivated by the growth of both the friars’ communities and their followers and it was made possible by the support of different donors. This process of continuous expanding affected not only the buildings (church and conventual spaces) but also their precincts and had an important impact on the urban space. Within the process of enlargement of the churches, the friars also build porches in the main and/or in the lateral facades to create space for the increasing number of people that attended their religious services. But besides this, the mendicant porches also served to carry out several political and social activities, thus becoming spaces of great importance in the cities. In the following centuries, these medieval porches were destroyed, not only by the architectonic and artistic transformations that the mendicant buildings suffered between the sixteenth and the eighteenth centuries but also by the restoration interventions that took place in the early twentieth century. Therefore, today there is no material evidence of the friars’ porches, but the several references to these spaces founded in the documentary and cartography sources allow us to virtual reconstitute some of them, offering a renewed perspective on the architecture of the mendicant orders and their relationship with the city.
A Fortress Fuori le Mura and a City Church: Architectonic Forms and Functioning of Two Dominican Convents in Medieval Sandomierz
Justyna Kamińska, Jagiellonian University
In 1226, in Sandomierz, which was then the second (after Cracow) most important town in Lesser Poland, a Dominican convent was founded. Soon, the friars erected a church of St James – absolutely innovative at the time (made of bricks, with rich ceramic decorations and an elongated choir). The Tartar invasion of 1259 put an end to the functioning of the settlement surrounding the church and in 1286 the city was moved to a new place. Prince Leszek II the Black gave the Dominicans safe grounds within the city walls for a new cloister but the friars, instead of moving there, added a defensive tower to their church of St James. A new complex was built only in the second half of the 14th century and its church (of St Mary Magdalene) obtained rather conservative, non-mendicant forms, referring to the local collegiate church. For the following decades, an unusual situation of two Dominican convents functioning in parallel in a relatively small city could be observed. The goal of the paper is to analyse how the changing spiritual and social rules and economic conditions influenced the functioning of both convents within urban structures between 1200 and 1500. In the first years of their presence in Sandomierz, the friars had support from princes and bishops, and the church of St James was a place of two significant cults – of St Hiacynth and of 49 martyrs. That probably influenced their decision to remain in the location outside the city walls, threatened by further attacks. At St Mary Magdalene, on the other hand, the Dominicans had to face the initial distrust of the citizens, who feared losing valuable grounds (already in the 15th century though, they became the main benefactors of the convent). Moreover, it seems that the differences between the old monastery favoured by the elites and its “bourgeois” competitor were reflected in the architecture of both convents.
From the Periphery to the Centre: The Architectural Presence of the Observant Franciscans in the Province of Brescia, Italy
Marianne P. Ritsema van Eck, Leiden University
This paper explores significant transformations in the architectural presence of Observant mendicants from the late medieval to the early modern period, taking as its case study the Observant Franciscan province Brescia. The earliest (Conventual) Franciscan foundation in Brescia was by St Francis in 1220. In 1422, St Bernardine of Siena initiated the first Observant Franciscan establishment, Sant’Apollonio, which grew to include several Observant houses outside the city’s walls during the late medieval period. These were all damaged during the sack of Brescia in 1512 and later demolished in the 1516 Spianata, when all structures outside the gates were razed (improving military defensibility). A new Observant foundation, San Giuseppe, was then built right at the heart of Brescia from 1519–80. Already before the Spianata was announced in 1515, however, the Observants were preparing this move. Therefore, I first analyse the possible ideological (apart from practical) motivations for this move to the centre, considering for example pastoral incentives and rivalry with the centrally located Franciscan Conventuals. I then consider how these motivations for centrality are expressed by the features of the convent and church of San Giuseppe itself. Highly relevant in this respect is a cycle of mural paintings in the second cloister which offers views on all the Observant convents in the province of Brescia. As I argue, these architectural vistas constitute the culmination of a decade’s long process that promotes the Observant Franciscan architectural presence of this province, at the Brescian Observant headquarters and in the city centre. These frescoes can be interpreted in the light of the conflictual separation from the Milan Observance in 1472 and Venetian geopolitical policies. Moreover, they also communicate a fascinating dialogue between peripheral and centralized architectural presence that can contribute new insights to more generalized tendencies in Observant housing at the time.
Aleksandar Ignjatovic, University of Belgrade
The “Ottoman house” refers to a vernacular building type and urban housing layout that became ubiquitous across a large swathe of regions, from Anatolia to the Adriatic in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Equally shared by different ethnic groups and religious denominations, it represented a common, pre-national cultural model and pre-modern architectural type distinguished by a number of elements that featured numerous local variants. However, despite being the “syncretic product of a multi-ethnic society”, it has been symptomatically identified as “Turkish” and “Oriental”. In the era of nationalism, which reached its peak after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the Ottoman house and its associated meanings went on an unexpectedly complex and controversial semiotic journey.
Practically all post Ottoman successor states, including the republican Turkey, endeavoured to appropriate and “nationalize” the once common architectural heritage, both by scholarly interpretation and a “modern vernacular” building production. This included the unequivocal rebuttal of its Oriental identity through the question of its origins that became both complex and contradictory. Was the Ottoman house autochthonous or derivative? Was its ancestry Byzantine, Ancient Greek, Slavic, or genuinely Turkish; or even Thracian and Illyrian? Or was its cultural backbone pan-Balkan or Mediterranean? While architectural historians tried to trace back the Ottoman house’s roots, the cities in which it flourished had already been de-Ottomanized and “Europeanized” — from the Black Sea to the Adriatic coast, from the Dodecanese to the Danube — causing the precarious vernacular heritage to be paradoxically seen as an obstacle to the national culture and a source of its identity. At the same time, its architectural features were appreciated through the modernist lenses of rationality, functionalism, simplicity and honesty. Propelled by Le Corbusier’s enduring interest in what he called the “architectural masterpieces” of the Ottoman vernacular, various interpretations by historians, anthropologists and architects included the Ottoman house in the modernist discourse about universal responses to natural conditions and a cultural ethos that transcended history.
A key rationale for this session is a paradox that lies at the heart of this identitydynamics in which the once common heritage, which was initially despised and then so utterly transformed to become the epitome of national parochialism, was also seen as a protomodernist expression of universal and supra-ethnic principles. The proposed session would invite the participants to investigate this remarkable afterlife—both written and constructed—of Ottoman vernacular architecture, torn between cultural exceptionalism and cultural universalism.
Extracting Morphology: The Macedonian house in the Ottoman Quarter of Thessaloniki
Dimitra Figa, Maltepe University
The paper refers to the contemporary built environment and the remarkable afterlife of the Ottoman house in the old city (Ano Poli), the former ottoman quarter of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. Ano Poli constitutes a unique case in which the protection of a listed, traditional neighbourhood was not attempted through preservation or reconstructions of the historic buildings and their surroundings, but rather through a rigid design statute, a kind of morphological program, which aims to predict the morphological spectrum of new construction within the traditional fabric. This design statute, determinant for the nomination of Ano Poli as a zone under protection, has been defined in the 70s by Prof. Moutsopoulos, a specialist in traditional north Greek architecture; it delineates the morphological elements of a so-called Macedonian style, shaping the image of a “traditional Macedonian” house, stated as characteristic, typical, worth to retain, and prior to the Ottoman house.
The presentation has three aims. Firstly, we would like to present this interesting -and determinant - statute/program, attempting to focus on its essence, analysing and interpreting the “image” that evokes. Secondly, to compare this “Macedonian style”, according to Moutsopoulos, with the “prototype” of the Ottoman house. Finally, Thirdly, we will intend to trace the underlying understanding of tradition in general and of the specific house type in particular, which oscillates between reduction/abstraction and reproduction of a fixed and static model- resulting thus in some interesting architectural morphemes of strange balance between traditional morphology and contemporary codes, prototype and transformations. Our purpose is to investigate the potentialities — and the prerequisites — of producing new architecture, based on the interpretation of the ottoman house not as a fixed image but as a shifting, elastic form that has the ability to adapt and to metamorphose within different environments.
Urban Rooms in Transition: Revisiting the Immediacy of Sofa/Hayat Space in Vernacular Ottoman House and Re-Historicizing its Presence from Antiquity to Post-Industrial Europe
Emine Görgül, Istanbul Technical University
Following the aftermath of the Cold War and the fall of communism in East Europe, as well as the recuperation of the post-Yugoslav states, yet re-drawing the lines of geographical and cultural multitude, it is observed that the remains of the Ottoman Era are being re-appreciated as the vernacular of the nations from Adriatic to Thracian milieu.
Apart from technology, programme, identity and semiotics of the Ottoman house as the vernacular and common denominator of the post-Cold War Balkan societies, this paper aims to reflect the stripped image of Ottoman identity off from the phenomenon, on behalf of providing a mental image of the house acting as a cross-cultural mediator that operates in the level of semantics of basic spatiality. Thus, neither focusing on a physical embodiment of the Ottoman house, nor group of dwellings, this paper is based on the conviction that not the corporal embodiment of the house, but the incorporeal and omnipresence of inside-ness and the uninterrupted feeling of being in represents the essence of the so-called vernacular.
In order to address what the Ottoman house refers to and which are its essential roots — by asking questions whether it is a stereotype or a spatial scheme, hierarchical planning of private and public space, or the use of significant interior and exterior elements; or the taxonomy of the building mass, or the separation of gender ¬— this paper will comprehend the cross-cultural continuity of the phenomenon. It will address questions related to sofa/hayat (the specific spatial entity acting as a transition space connecting individual rooms to the rest of the house, or the interiority of the house to the exteriority of the street), as a molecular space but not a molar house, acting both unitary and collectively. By utilizing a multi-fold reading methodology and focusing on the examples from Mostar (Herzegovina), Prizren (Kosovo) and Thessaloniki (Greece), the existing literature on the subject (Eldem, Kuban, Ögel, Akın etc.), as well as the concept of interiority and urban rooms (Pimlot etc.) in relation to the general history and theory of space (Lefebvre, Sennet, etc.) this paper would permit to discern the locality of the phenomenon together with its transversality in space and time.
Modern-Traditional Architecture in late-Ottoman-Era Haifa
Keren Ben Hilel, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
Yael Allweil, Technion Israel Institute of Technology
The Arab house, just as the Ottoman house, has material and formative characteristics that are common in a wide geographic area. Its main structural component is stone — as opposed to wooden beams in the Ottoman house. Under the Ottoman rule, the new city of Haifa, located in the southern periphery of the Empire, was established as a port city and controlled the Levant area. During the second half of the nineteenth century, Haifa became a cosmopolitan city and a transportation hub that linked Europe to the Empire and the East. This study explores how Ottoman traditions affected the construction of the Haifa Arabic house. Which were the components both types of homes shared? What elements are vernacular and which “universal” in both buildings types? Significant technological and administrative changes led to several immigration waves of individuals as well as nuclear families to Haifa. Construction of the port and the Hijaz railway, as well as other Tanzimat reforms (1839-1876) triggered the need for living quarters. New entrepreneurs set up homes for rent. Growing demand for housing changed the structure of family dwellings and residential building characteristics. The residential model shifted from the “Liwan house” — widely spread throughout the Levant as a central component in the extended family home — to the “Central hall house”, or units for the nuclear family.
Examining long-term influences of local buildings and innovations imported from Europe or the heart of the Ottoman Empire, this paper traces how this syncretic model was designed: a combination of traditional autochthonous masonry with new building materials and new imported building elements. Joining the vernacular with the international, the Central hall house ushered in the new traditional-modern house model, ultimately changing the city’s landscape.
Use and Abuse of “Ottoman Vernacular” as a Conduct of the State: Turkey, 1930s and Onwards
Luca Orlandi, Özyeğin University
Pınar Sezginalp, Özyeğin University
Early Republican period, which marks the years after 1923 until the 1950s, was the most active period of the architectural and urban development of major cities in Turkey. The main target of architectural production was the “Westernization” itself, with the actors who were mostly Western educated architects and city planners. Derivation of the need for the Westernization was only because there was a need to shift from the old pattern, which was perceived as the very trace of the Ottoman dynasty. Architecture of revolution was highly promoted under the “modernization program”, using the most appropriate architectural language to promote the new state. A dilemma rose for the actors of the production of architecture where the futuristic vision, coming from abroad and the local vernacular, had to be melded in the new nationalistic envision for the new-born state. In the 1930s there appeared an obvious struggle between the past and the present, the religiosity and the secularism, in order to define a new Turkish identity. The traces of the Ottoman vernacular could be tracked both in the residential architecture and the state-sponsored institutional buildings.
This research aims to convey an architectural historiography based on the Ottoman vernacular and its “necessary” transformation in Turkey after the Kemalist revolution. The appropriation which ranged from the interior spatial organization of residential housing to the formalistic approaches of civic architecture, using new materials and techniques will be discussed. Sedad Hakkı Eldem, Emin Onat, Leyla Baydar, Zeki Sayaras, the local architects pioneering the use of vernacular in modern Turkey, will be the main focus. In addition, to present the showcase of this architectural transformation, European actors who were invited to Turkey by the government to set an example for the modernization program and the Western architecture will be discussed under the “interpretations” of the Ottoman vernacular in the country as well.
The Local Roots of the Vernacular: Nationalization of the Ottoman House in Early Republican Istanbul
Ümit Fırat Açıkgöz, American University of Beirut
“How are we going to respond,” the painter Melek Celal remarked in 1941, “when future generations ask us whether our ancestors who built these magnificent mosques would live in tents?” Her newspaper article urging for the preservation of the rapidly disappearing vernacular architecture in Istanbul was not exceptional during the early republican period (1923-1949). Several intellectuals (artists, journalists, architects, etc.) published hundreds of similar pieces in local newspapers and periodicals. They endeavoured to elevate vernacular architecture to the level of “national heritage,” on par with religious and palatial architecture, in order to ensure its preservation. By editing out the supra-ethnic and supra-religious character of the Ottoman vernacular architecture, which was widely spread from Central Anatolia to the Balkans over the centuries with remarkable formal and spatial consistency, these intellectuals re-conceptualized it as a “Turkish house.” In the nascent nation-state seeking tangible evidences of archaic roots, the discursive nationalization of the “house” was an effective instrument to promote vernacular architecture as a national heritage.
The scholarly literature on the “Turkish house” has so far largely focused on the role of the leading architect Sedad Hakkı Eldem in documenting vernacular architecture and reinterpreting it in contemporary design practices. Little is known, however, about how “Turkish house” became popularized beyond the professional circle of architects. This paper shows that the notion of the “Turkish house” was born in local newspapers and periodicals of Istanbul before Eldem turned his attention to vernacular architecture. It argues that the local intellectuals played a major role in raising the awareness of the “Turkish house, by triggering the first concrete attempts at the preservation of vernacular architecture in Istanbul through private initiative. In addition to newspaper articles, this paper also examines ways in which the local vernacular architecture was represented in satirical cartoons, hence bringing together the image and the text.
Ayala Levin, Northwestern University
Rachel Lee, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
The planning of Abuja, the new capital of Nigeria, in the late 1970s, saw the collaboration of architects and planners of multiple nationalities, traversing east-west and north-south divides. Alongside the US and East German project leaders, the international committee included M. N. Sharma, Chief Architect of Chandigarh, India, and Clement G. Kahama, who served a similar role in the planning of Dodoma, the new capital of Tanzania. Coming out of the “interstices of [colonial] power structures” (Stoler and Cooper 1997), Sharma and Kahama, both architects from the so-called “Global South,” were engaged as advisors of international standing. They represent a historical and conceptual shift in the figuring of the “global expert,” and the knowledge that s/he holds in an uneven and racialized globality. From passive “native informants,” southern architects and planners became active agents of knowledge production with global applicability.
This panel seeks to position the production of architectural and urban planning knowledge as part of south-south exchanges throughout the twentieth century. It will highlight the role of southern actors in forming colonial and postcolonial architectural networks of expertise, and conversely, the role of northern development and educational institutions in facilitating southern architects’ mobility and exchange. The panel will contribute to historicizing and problematizing the South as a geographical, political, economic and epistemological category, while addressing questions such as: How did the North partake in south-south knowledge exchange? And how did southern knowledge feed-back to hegemonic centers, or contribute to the formation of new centers that challenge northern hegemony? The role of northern “experts” who identified themselves as having “southern” or “othered” experience may also be explored. By underscoring southern formations of disciplinary knowledge, we hope to shed some new light on key concepts associated with architecture of the South such as the vernacular, climate, the informal, and the urban-countryside binary.
While we will focus primarily on the established (and problematic) category of the “Global South”, we welcome presentations that explore knowledge production in other “souths” (such as the American south), or problematize hierarchical differentiations of actors from various “souths” in architectural discourse (e.g. between Latin America, Africa, Central, South and Southeast Asia) or non-western locales, such as the Middle East, China, and Japan, that do not easily fit these binary categories.
‘One World’ Anxieties and Third World Development in Delos Symposia
Petros Phokaides, National Technical University of Athens
Delos Symposia, the decade-long series of international meetings initiated by Constantinos Doxiadis in 1963, has been presented in the scholarship as an extension of the legacies of CIAM and west-east relations of European and Japanese architectural cultures (Wigley 2000); and as part of the 1960s emerging discourses on planetary development and environmentalism (Pyla 2009). Departing from these narratives, the paper, aims to investigate Delos Symposia as a platform of exchanges between the so-called global ‘North and ‘South’ by exploring the ways they facilitated intense interactions among ‘cosmopolitan’ scientists, transnational experts, and governmental officials that reflected and questioned the North-South divide.
The paper focuses in particular moments where the shifting epistemological/geographical configurations of ‘North’ and ‘South’ rose more prominently, by adopting two interrelated perspectives: Firstly, it highlights the interactions between interdisciplinary debates of Delos Symposia, the research projects of the Athens Centre of Ekistics and the professional activities of Doxiadis Associates in Africa, and beyond. In doing so, the paper examines the shaping of global architectural expertise at the intersection of ‘northern’ agendas for technological advancement, global urbanization patterns, and scientific networks, with ‘southern’ practices of low-cost and local-based solutions developed in the field. Secondly, the paper, examines more explicitly the role of actors from the ‘South’ in these meetings, alongside or in the shadow of actors from the ‘North’. By exploring the frictions between ‘North’ and ‘South’ perspectives on topics such as urbanization patterns, management of resources, and human-environment relations, the paper highlights attempts to reconcile ‘One World’ anxieties with ‘Third World’ development aspirations. Considering the epistemic plurality of these debates, where architects conversed with economists, biologists, mathematicians, and anthropologists, the paper, further explores how Delos Symposia invited both anthropocentric and post-human perspectives aiming, ultimately, to interrogate both ‘northern and ‘southern’ actors’ decolonizing agendas.
Core and Earth: Material Slippage between South America and Africa (1956-1980)
Hannah le Roux, University of the Witwatersrand
The archive of the trans-continental career of the Argentinian architect Jorge Arrigone (1930-) holds traces of south-south transfers and experiments in housing. Trained as a self-help housing expert in Colombia in the mid-1950s at El Centro Interamericano de Vivienda y Planeamiento (CINVA), the Inter-American Housing and Planning Centre, from 1962 Arrigone was contracted as a housing advisor for United Nations missions including Ujamaa village housing in Tanzania (1963-64) and PREVI III in Peru (1970-72). Between missions, Arrigone was a housing advisor in Argentina. In 1974, after a mission in Swaziland he settled with his family in neighbouring South Africa to work for the state funded National Building Research Institute (NBRI) in the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research as an expert in building technology. From there he designed Siyabuswa, a pilot core housing scheme for black South Africans who were forced to resettle under apartheid legislation to the rural “homeland” of KwaNdebele (1976-79).
Within a project funded by the apartheid state, Arrigone rematerialized South American technologies - specifically adobe, roofing and sanitation - as well as the forms of surveys that were utilised in his CINVA training. Their acceptance into the repertoire of South African low-cost housing suggest that, at least for a short period, “appropriate” materiality and projections of “development” were slipped across borders below the screening of political intentionality. At the time of the construction of Siyabuswa, South Africa was facing international sanctions, but Arrigone managed to draw on his personal networks to localise the global typology of the core house and to represent it as primarily an economical and material solution to the state’s costly housing policy.
The paper is specifically interested in the core house typology mobilised at Siyabuswa in its relational formations: both those created in situ, through the linking of South American ayuda mutua to South African conditions, as well as within the NBRI which was arguably empowered by Arrigone’s success in disguising his more progressive housing agendas. Following this project, other researchers revived the agency’s work in incremental self-build from the early 1950’s, so catalysing new genres of housing citizenship within dislocated and impoverished black communities. This segue from mutual aid projects to civic associations and finally political resistance is a critical and largely overlooked narrative in the last period of apartheid from 1976 to the late 1990’s. How the return to housing as a site of rights formation dovetails with Arrigone’s earlier transnational material research as well as to the earlier popular struggles in Latin America is the core of this paper.
Felicity D Scott, Columbia University
In 1975, a group of filmmakers assembled in New York City around a large table bearing a map of the world and, as the “Liaison Producer” recalled, “carved it up.” The group, designated “regional animators,” had been hired as experts for the vast audio-visual program being prepared for Habitat: The United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, which took place in Vancouver in 1976. Their task was to provide technical assistance to over 100 countries from the developing world, thereby assuring, or so they claimed, that nations without filmmaking expertise would be able to “speak for themselves” through the medium of film to the vast audience gathered for the conference. In addition to filmmakers from the Canadian National Film Board and New York, the group included filmmakers from Chile, Mexico, Kenya, Zambia, Iraq, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, and more. Each was allocated a vast area of the globe; after assisting in regional training sessions detailing the documentary mode sought by the UN, they were dispatched to work with local planning or other government agencies, along with architects, aid agencies, and local filmmakers to shoot contemporary development projects, often also working on post-production. The Zambian filmmaker was assigned to southern African states, the Iraqi filmmaker to Arab-speaking countries, francophone Canadians to countries that had once been French and Belgian colonies, etc., each developing techniques to document and disseminate knowledge being produced about architectural, infrastructural, and agricultural projects throughout the so-called Global South. This paper aims to follow some of these “roving experts” as they moved from one troubled context to the next throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, tracing the complex topology of their collaborations and how they were positioned by the UN—as at once harbouring the capacity to transfer a universalized technical knowledge and as somehow having regional expertise that ranged across national contexts with distinct legacies of European colonial rule.
Uplifting Liberia: Indigenous Buildings and Forced Labour at the Booker T. Washington Institute
Maura Lucking, University of California, Los Angeles
In 1929, the African-American architect Robert Taylor realized his late employer Booker T. Washington’s vision: opening an industrial school in Kakata, Liberia. They called it “the Tuskegee of Africa” after their original effort, the Alabama school founded to uplift the black population– culturally and economically–in the years after emancipation through a combination of classroom and workshop training. Taylor played an important role as founder of the architectural program. He worked with students to design and construct campus buildings in a hybrid between Beaux-Arts eclecticism and proto-functionalism, navigating the racial politics of architecture as a representation of the Tuskegee project. In Liberia, the centre of the Back-to-Africa movement, Taylor advised on campus planning. He advocated building temporary rammed earth huts using native expertise while developing an industrial curriculum that would eventually teach students to produce a modern campus of concrete and steel, impervious to the tropical elements. While impressed by the resourcefulness of indigenous knowledge, Taylor offered designs to work towards as a visible index of student development. Yet Taylor’s positionality had radically changed; rather than a southern-bred carpenter’s son making good, the MIT-trained designer acted on behalf of American philanthropists and the Firestone Company. The school was to train the local population to support the rubber industry, a neo-colonial arrangement brokered by the African-American leadership of the Liberian government. By the end of that year, the League of Nations would find many of those officeholders guilty of modern slavery, forcing tribal boys to build infrastructure for American industry. That “native labour” would be necessary to achieve Taylor’s own campus plans went unquestioned in the architect’s official report. This transnational effort underscores a common reality of south-south exchanges: decolonization is not evenly distributed. It reveals how in Liberia, architecture, education and race identity worked together to naturalize a particular model of labour exploitation, while in Alabama, the Tuskegee narrative of uplift dissociated building labour from the economies of slavery that had made industrialization possible. Furthermore, it allows us to consider the specific ways that architectural pedagogy supported this colonial agenda, beginning with the Beaux-Arts and ending with a drafting room in Kakata.
Housing, Data Assemblages, and Fourth World (De)colonization: The Mission Indian Agency vs. the Mission Indian Federation
Manuel Shvartzberg Carrió, Cornell University
In 1934, Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, launched the first comprehensive “Social and Economic Survey” of Native American Tribes in the United States. This effort sought to respond to two overlapping crises: one concerned the dire housing and living conditions of most Native Americans; the other was the upheaval of the Great Depression and the government’s ensuing New Deal initiatives. Collier sought to connect these crises for the implementation of specific infrastructure and housing projects for Native Tribes, managed through New Deal agencies such as the Civilian Conservation Corps as well as through other agencies exclusive to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Structured in standardized, schematic forms—in contrast to the narrative reporting previously used by the BIA—the Survey was conceived as a particularized census for a huge variety of Tribes, thus homogenizing a great number of possible answers, as well as the questions themselves. The Survey was implemented by the Bureau’s superintending jurisdictions: regional offices tasked with handling the U.S.’s intrinsically fragmented “Indian problem” yet directed from a central office in Washington DC. In Southern California, the Survey was carried out by the Mission Indian Agency, dispatching officers to each Native American Reservation to collect data. This paper will explore this data assemblage effort on Native American housing in relation to the modes of accounting developed by the Mission Indian Federation (established 1919)—one of the most influential pan-Indigenous organizations in the twentieth century—crystallizing a network of different Tribes through a shared anticolonial discourse and specific institutions for “home rule and human rights.” While the BIA’s Mission Indian Agency operated a vertically-nested system of bureaucracies which, through instruments like the survey, individualized Tribes and subjects as colonial “wards” in an imagined pastoral society—with housing projects based on the colonial ranch type—the Mission Indian Federation attempted a horizontal mapping of housing needs and desires across a variety of Tribal authorities and their distinct cultures. The Federation’s data-gathering practices contrasted with the Agency’s not just in terms of the presumed architectural “solutions,” but also as a practice of diplomacy rather than control. In other words, the Mission Indian Federation offers an example of how an early Fourth World decolonial network institutionalized the sharing of data on spatial conditions across different epistemologies and regimes of sovereignty.
Brigitte Sölch, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste Stuttgart
Carsten Ruhl, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main
It is obvious that research in architectural history and theory is currently split into different academic cultures, namely art history and architectural theory. Of course, this was not always the case. Up to the second half of the 20th century art historians had a great impact on contemporary architectural debates and substantially contributed to theoretical issues. Simultaneously, authors trained both as architects and art historians guaranteed a constant flow between historical narratives and design practice, or even advocated the autonomy of architecture. In late 20th century these productive intersections between art history, architectural history and architectural theory came to an end. Art history widely withdrew from contemporary debates on architecture and theoretical production, whereas architectural theory claimed the status of an autonomous non-historic discipline. We argue that this led to a paradox situation.
In the 60s, in a time of political turmoil, theory substantially contributed to a critical discussion on widely accepted historical narratives hereby uncovering their political ideologies. Historical consciousness was fundamental to institutional critique and to debates on architecture as art, politics and theory. Since the 90s this totally changed. Philosophy remained part of both disciplines. But whereas the iconic turn came to play a vital role in art history, which began to understand itself also as ‘Bildwissenschaften’, architectural theory became part of post-critical debates and was defined as projective thinking. Furthermore, great parts of theoretical thinking turned into a legitimation strategy for architectural positions, aesthetic preferences and architectural design practice. On the other hand architectural history no longer played an important role within art history. While theory was increasingly regarded as mere speculation, not seeing that some of art history’s most important contributions were exactly this, speculation. By consequence, the many attempts that had been made to differentiate between history and theory caused a great number of contradictions and misunderstandings rather than clarifying disciplinary boundaries.
Departing from this situation our round table is conceived as a twofold dialogue: it will reflect on the historical, institutional and political reasons of the above-mentioned split and open a new dialogue between architectural history, theory and practice. It will address questions such as: What role do institutions and different genres of ‘writing’ play for the intensity and diversity but also the reinforced interruption of the dialogue? To what extend is critique already part of the ‘economy of attention’ and what does it mean to be critical? How far can history be understood (again) as critical practice?
Theory in Disguise: A Trans-Tasman Perspective on Critical versus Documentary History
Macarena De La Vega De Leon, University of Melbourne
Productive intersections between art history and architectural history and theory may have come to an end in the late twentieth century in Europe and the United States, but not in the Antipodes. Almost since its inception in 1984, the Society of Architectural Historians, Australia and New Zealand (SAHANZ) experienced tensions between empiricist historians and those with a commitment to theory, as Julia Gatley pointed out in her historical account of its first twenty years. The name of the Society’s journal, Fabrications, reflected the theoretical interests of its first editors, Desley Luscombe and Stanislaus Fung, who were also responsible for the original editorial policy. Their first editorial caused controversy among members who defended the need of history to be understood, not obfuscated by theory. The Society, through its journal and annual conferences, encouraged exchange and debate between empirical historians and theorists, as evidenced by the 1997 SAHANZ conference’s “theoretical turn.” This attitude was mirrored by the inclusion of a greater emphasis on critical and cultural theory in the teaching of history and theory at Australian and New Zealand architecture schools. In addition, the proliferation of journals published by architectural schools in Australia and New Zealand, for example Interstices: A Journal of Architecture and Related Arts and Architectural Theory Review, also maintained the tension between history and theory.
Through interviews with preeminent architectural historians in Australia and New Zealand, first-hand witnesses of these tensions between theory and history, between a critical or a documentary approach to history, this paper aims to bring forth the richness of the lesser-known scholarly Trans-Tasman context of the late twentieth century. SAHANZ, as an institution, helped to bridge the alleged split between architectural history and theory, if there was ever one, fostering the dialogue and encouraging different approaches that informed both research and education –still does today.
The Rise and Fall of the Architectural Theoretician?—1968 and the Aftermath
Ole W. Fischer, University of Utah
The growing criticism against post-war modernism during the 1960s, of its edifices, its protagonists as much of its reasoning, did not only result in the phenomenon of postmodernism in the decades to follow, but also caused a crisis of architectural education based primarily on modern doctrines. One answer to this crisis – and that is a working hypothesis – was the internalization of critique into institutions of higher education. It is more than a coincidence that the founding of the gta (Institut Geschichte und Theorie der Architektur) at the ETH Zurich by Adolf Max Vogt and Paul Hofer in 1967 runs parallel to the efforts of Jürgen Joedicke and the IGMA (Institut für Grundlagen Moderner Architektur) at the Technische Hochschule Stuttgart (today University of Stuttgart) and echoes the HTC program (History Theory Criticism of Art and Architecture) at MIT by Stanford Anderson and “Hank” Millon between 1964–74, while O.M. Ungers failed with a similar attempt at the TU Berlin in 1968. In all these incidents, there is more at stake than just a rapprochement to the history of architecture after the modernist ban against eclectic historicism from architectural design; they speak rather of a fundamental revision of the modern project within architectural education. Indicators are the institutional changes of PhD programs, which were traditionally offered by art history departments, and were now integrated into schools of architecture, paralleled by the change of debate in architectural education and new formats for research and teaching.
The (re)birth of architectural theory as curricular subject introduced at MIT, Stuttgart and ETH stands out amongst these new formats. This is not to say that “theory” has been absent from architectural education, but its institutionalization allowed for steady (often mandatory) classes in the curriculum, for a clarification of the methods and goals, and for a scientific ennoblement of the subject by its own faculty, journals, conferences, publications, exhibitions and the aforementioned doctoral programs. Significantly, ETH and MIT chose to separate theory from design, that is, they produced a new type of academic: the architectural theoretician. Previously, “theory” often meant the poetics of a master architect, or a speculative mode of writing, while the new format operated with various “critical” theories form heterogeneous sources, and aimed for teaching teachers (rather than architects) – an assumption that might be up for critical interrogation today? This position paper argues that the “split” between history and theory of architecture is not only a product of “theory’s success” in the 1980s, and its rapid fall following 2001, but has already been latently present in their institutionalization in the late 1960s. And that the perceived “split” between theory and history today is not the only ‘schiz’, but that their separation from studio (design pedagogy) and from technology (both digital representation as well as environmental performance) runs even deeper. The position paper itself practices an alternative by looking into the sources of these multiple “splits” (historically) and by speculating about a different form of research, teaching, and practice (theoretically).
Putting Architecture in the Museum: Discussing the Effects of Architecture Museums on the Split between Art History and Architectural Theory
Christina Pech, Swedish Centre for Architecture and Design
This roundtable contribution proposes the advent of the architectural museum as a productive interface to approach the split between art history and architectural theory identified in the call. As a latecomer to the institutions of collection and display - most architecture museum were not founded until the late 1970s and 1980s - the architecture museum was established in a period when the traditional museum as a place of collection and display was under negotiation. The institutional critique of the 1960s that aimed to liberate art from the confinement of the museum and open up institutional boundaries finds its counterpart in the emerging interest in placing architecture within the walls of the museum.
This somewhat contradictory situation was met in the young institutions by a combination of the traditional methods of art history and the institutional critique of contemporary theory. The architecture museums started collections that contributed to the historicizing of architecture while at the same time engaging critically with the contemporary built environment, often employing counter-cultural or activist methods. However, the architecture museum also indicates a preoccupation with the representations of architecture as an end in itself. The turn away from architecture as built form firmly associated with the event of architectural postmodernism is inextricably interwoven with the architectural institutions. Evidently, the museums have their share in making architectural theory and criticism harmless to the politics of architecture as it retreated from wider socio-political concerns to an increased degree of discursive autonomy.
A captivating circumstance is that the late blooming of the architectural museum in the 1980s was soon followed by the first signs of decay that threw a considerable number of the young institutions into predominantly disciplinary crises already a few years into the 2000s.
This contribution would bring this ‘rise and fall’ of the museum institutions of architecture to the roundtable. It discusses the agency of the institution and how the putting of architecture in the museum and the resulting expansion of the discourse contributed to the split between art history and architectural theory.
Women Pioneers in Architecture: Feminist Research in Portugal
Patrícia Santos Pedrosa, University of Lisbon
Lia Antunes, University of Lisbon
The contributions of women architects to the development of architectural practices, research and teaching in Portugal, demands a careful identification. The absence of women in reference books on architecture and official historiography builds a misconceived image of the discipline, perpetuates inequalities, and precludes them from enjoying due recognition. The project 'W@ARCH.PT Female Architects in Portugal: Building Visibility, 1942-1986' aims to consolidate the theme in Portugal, as an urgent effort of visibility, dissemination of diverse female references, expansion of Portuguese architectural history and the advance of feminist studies as other strategy to approach the discipline. Main research questions are: who, when and how did those women architects contribute to Portuguese architectural history, until now marginalized within a male-dominated profession? The title of "Architect" in Portugal, in the Italian Quattrocento’s framework, had representation in official positions in 1631 (Abreu 2018, 331). Since then, writings of the official history of architecture have named only male architects, but women were not absent from the discipline. Although their presence was more expressive in painting, women pre-pioneers have had some relationship with architecture since the seventeenth century (Perym 1736). The W@ARCH.PT project’s timeframe starts in 1942, when Maria José Estanco (1905-1999) graduates in Lisbon. Altogether with Maria José Marques da Silva (1914-1996), who graduated in Oporto the following year, they become the first women recognized as architects in Portugal (Pedrosa 2015). The writing of this other history uses alternative strategies supported in feminist epistemologies and methodologies. To uncover “subjugated” knowledge and formulate particular questions beyond concepts of neutrality, universalism and objectivity of science, other narratives and non-practices, as part of History, are supported by fundamental concepts like intersectionality (Crenshaw 1989), situated knowledges (Haraway 1988) and invisibility as oppression (hook 1984). The archival work and individual narratives will unveil their roles and build a collective memory.
Impurities and Collisions: Pushing Architecture Thinking Forward
Lara Schrijver, University of Antwerp
This paper departs from the idea that the gaps that have become established between historical and theoretical research are themselves a way out of the increasingly rigid categorization between the two domains.
While the sharply delineated boundaries of the late 20th century between ‘theory’ and ‘history’ helped establish clear research approaches, they also excluded the implicit insights embedded within design practice, favouring explicit and analytical arguments. The current cultures of research funding and publications solidify these boundary conditions, asking researchers to identify quite specifically their methods, their peers and their research domains.
In The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015), Anna Tsing demonstrates how science itself develops more erratically than commonly presented in scientific discourse; that it is determined not only by objective methods and logical argumentation, but equally by coincidence, context and unforeseen connections. “Cosmopolitan science is made in emerging patches of research, which grow into or reject each other in varied encounters.” (Tsing, 223)
These ‘varied encounters’ are both necessary to the vitality of the disciplines, and prevented by the fine-grained delineation of disciplinary boundaries and methodologies. Together, the variety of methodologies within the history, theory and practice of architecture may foster a more explorative mode of thought, including unexpected detours or seeing miscommunications as fruitful insights into other perspectives.
This paper explores these ‘emerging patches’ of research that sit within the gap between history and theory. It seeks to aid in ‘unsplitting’ the two approaches through a verbal, visual and material presentation, demonstrating how the analytic and historical capacities of historians and theorists alike are potentially enriched by the drawing and design skills of practitioners. In so doing, this paper proposes that the field of architecture sits at the heart of what Tsing identifies as ‘cosmopolitan science’: its varied skill set of observation and analysis, drawing and building, projecting and historicizing has the potential to develop a synthesis of visual and material epistemologies that can develop a more diverse ecology of scientific exploration.
Architectural Theory around 1970: Opening and Closing the Field
Christa Kamleithner, Bauhaus University Weimar
In December of the eventful year 1967, O. M. Ungers hosted an international congress for architectural theory at the Technical University of Berlin. The issue at stake was the usefulness of architectural theory at all. After the societal turbulences and rapid changes in the urban environment at the end of the 1960s, what architectural theory was – and what it should refer to – had become quite unclear. Ungers therefore offered social phenomena, technical conditions, historical experience, and immanent laws of form as its possible subjects. Only three years before, the AIA-ACSA Teachers’ Seminar in 1964, which is known as the starting point for Ph.D. programs in History, Theory, and Criticism at American architecture schools, had discussed quite the same issues. At the centre of these debates was the question whether architectural theory should refer to its own history or embrace the emerging social sciences, which tried to explain and manage the present. One outcome was the construction of an architectural theory that understood architecture – and itself – as an autonomous force. However, as John Harwood has shown, at the same time a multifaceted research agenda emerged at American architecture schools, including an architectural history open to all kind of social and human sciences. Following these hints, the paper wants to point out that the same was true in German-speaking countries: The papers of Ungers’ congress as well as, for example, the Bauwelt Fundamente series, reveal a broad spectrum of approaches. The field was open around 1970, and that included a very open conception of architecture. In fact, it was not so much “architecture” which architectural history and theory were interested in, but the perception and use of the “built environment” in general. And it was this openness which made it relevant for the politicized education in architectural design at that time.
The Death and Life of ‘Operative’ History: Dialogues between the Historiography and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism in Contemporary Italy
Pedro Paulo Palazzo, Università degli Studi di Roma/ University of Brasilia
Manfredo Tafuri’s call for ‘operative criticism’ as a progressive solution to the lack of political efficacy and of scholarly rigour in the militant architectural history of the mid-twentieth century had, in his time, little following. Architectural historians sought greater professional specialisation not ‘operativeness,’ whereas architectural theorists, by the late 1970s, were beginning to embrace the ‘linguistic turn’ and its nihilistic view of historical knowledge.
In spite of this and of the ever-widening split that has characterised the global scholarship of architecture ever since, Italy gave rise to several methods of typo-morphological studies founded upon both rigorous historiography and a coherent theory underpinning the operative use of this historical knowledge in architectural design. This paper argues that the Italian ‘school’—for want of a better word—is perhaps unique insofar as it defines a clear scope of objects and methods pertaining to the disciplinary field of architecture as a whole, thus providing a unified framework for both historiography and design.
Yet, this Italian ‘school’ of typo-morphological history and theory is diverse, exposing rifts between traditionalists and modernists. The former are tributary of Aldo Rossi’s postmodernist formal relationships derived from a concept of ‘collective memory,’ whereas the latter adopt Saverio Muratori’s ‘procedural typology’ as a tool for generating abstract spatial relationships. This paper will focus on recent historical studies in nineteenth century architecture as well as new projects in the cities of the river Po plains—Alessandria, Parma, Bologna—that clarify these theoretical conflicts, yet show the way forward for an ‘operative’ dialogue between historiography and typological design theory. These recent contributions have displaced, ever so slightly but significantly, the long-standing Italian emphasis on Medieval and Renaissance historiography and on the iconic post-war building campaigns in Rome, Milan, and Venice.
André Tavares, Universidade do Minho
Despite featuring in the reading list of almost every first-year architecture student, Vitruvius is barely readable for a twenty-first-century architect. His message remains bound up with the principles of order, proportion and composition, the qualities of sites and the broad superhuman knowledge an architect must possess, all of which topics are enunciated on the first pages of the first book. Nonetheless, Vitruvius is still the author most quoted in architectural lectures, from Álvaro Siza to Rem Koolhaas, from first-year students to structural engineers. The triad of Vitruvian architectural qualities—firmitas, utilitas, venustas—has conquered the heart and the reason of every architectural discourse. Ironically, the formulation owes much to Alberti, who, in his own treatise, wrestling with Vitruvius’ cumbersome syntax, updated a marginal remark to establish one of architectural history’s most powerful aphorisms. This encapsulation of the unreadable treatise in a few words turned out to be a highly effective ingredient in maintaining Vitruvius’ authoritative status. The treatise’s circulation as a book allowed its owners the illusion of possessing an idea along with the physical object.
By surveying the forms of its various editions from the late 15th century until today, instead of becoming trapped in the subtleties of the text, one can access a complex network of usages, traffics and fluctuations. To analyse multiple print editions of Vitruvius is to unfold a historical panorama of architectural theory that fuses the immaterial realm of ideas with the material forms of books and buildings. The intricate nature of the Latin text inculcated Vitruvian authority with an aura capable of serving every purpose, with each new edition representing an occasion to establish an architectural discourse that did not necessarily follow its source. This contribution seeks to reflect on the condition of architectural theory when confronted with the printed book. Vitruvius seems the most appropriate patron to ignite a discussion on the light-hearted relationship between architectural theory, history and practice.
Sabrina Puddu, Royal College of Arts
Francesco Zuddas, Anglia Ruskin University
It can be argued that the modern prison is the locus where architecture tested its own entry into modernity. Through two fundamental archetypal diagrams – Carlo Fontana’s House of Correction in Rome (1704) and the Bentham brothers’ Penitentiary Panopticon (circa 1790) – the prison emerged as the paradigm of architecture’s ambition at shaping and directing human behaviour and relationships, which ultimately found synthesis in the
modern model prison of Pentonville (London, 1840).
Scholarship on the architecture of incarceration has mostly focused its attention on urban compact prisons, of which Pentonville stands as the prototype. Robin Evans’s seminal study of modern reformism in British prisons (The Fabrication of Virtue, 1982) provided a detailed enquiry into the empowerment that architecture received by addressing the project of detention. Evans’ work sits alongside its contemporary and more celebrated companion, namely Michel Foucault’s Surveiller et punir (1975). Interestingly, the key to understand the argument of the two books seems to lay not as much in the analysis of detention inside urban compact prisons, but in what the two authors took as the ending point of their historical narratives: the opening of the Colonie Agricole at Mettray in France, which happened almost concomitantly to that of Pentonville, showing how the architectural codification of the carceral happened as much in the urban walled-prison as in a less restrictive parallel institution where the rational precision proper of the design of a prison was loosened (hence Foucault’s definition of ‘prisons boiteuse’ – limping prisons). The colony of Mettray served as the archetype for this new para-carceral type (the penal colony) that balanced its apparent uncertainty and benevolence by extending its scope of action towards vast territories and acting as an agent of rural colonisation that participated in the geopolitical project of the modern national states.
This session aims to collect insights into the architectural history of the modern penal colony intended as a specific declination of carceral institution that, besides the immediate role of confining, reforming, and punishing criminals, also took on an objective as an agent of territorial transformation and domestication of vast rural domains. Particular attention will be given to the European territory and the role played by penal colonies in the processes of internal colonisation, as opposed to more usual explorations of imperial forms of colonisation. Shifting from the architectural to the territorial scale and covering a time-span from the mid-19th c. up to the WW2, the session will explore cases in which the project of penal colonies intersected with and facilitated the birth and acceptance of a new modern rural order across the European continent.
Internal Colonisation, Land Reclamation and Young Offender Re-Education in Late Nineteenth-Century Portugal: The Vila Fernando Experiment
Ricardo Costa Agarez, University of Évora
Before intense wheat-growing campaigns, in the 1930s, transformed the landscape of Alentejo, in south Portugal, the region was largely seen as inhospitable, underpopulated and unproductive, unable to contribute to the country’s much-needed agrarian development. Concurrently, the State struggled to adequately institutionalise the underage delinquents, vagrants, criminals and outlawed youths that roamed the streets in Lisbon and Porto. Establishing an agricultural reform school in Vila Fernando, Portalegre, in 1881, was presented as a modern response to both questions: a purpose-built structure that enabled the government to regenerate, re-socialise and moralise young offenders in a setting clearly removed from nefarious urban influences; and a concrete attempt at reclaiming large expanses of economically irrelevant land. Once re-educated, the former pupils of Vila Fernando and their families were to become leaseholders in the area and, thereby, agents in the dissemination of up-to-date techniques that would finally ‘civilise’ farming in the region – front-line troops in the battle to settle Alentejo, against its perennial desertification.
In a country where notably few new structures were built to answer ‘modern’, 19th-century needs, with judicial and penal systems woefully underserved, Vila Fernando was an exception. Explicitly combining European models (particularly, Mettray in France and Ruiselede in Belgium, in the re-education concept, and Italian experiences in land reclamation and colonisation), its ambitious proposition – architecturally and socially – was polemical, denigrated, underfunded and finally never completed.
Framing Vila Fernando within domestic and international developments in penal policy, social rehabilitation and internal colonisation, my paper examines the territorial, para-urban and architectural project conceived for this ultra-peripheral outpost of modern European statecraft. The colony-school, outdated (and unfinished) when it opened in 1895, epitomised Portugal’s struggle to deploy the institutions characteristic of a developed nation, when its imperial ambitions were curtailed, industrialisation lagged and conservatism stifled culture and society. I will discuss the specificities of Vila Fernando’s remit and how institutionalising children and youth – not adults – in colonisation settlements potentiated the rhetorical capacity of these territories of incarceration to transform at once land, lives and societies.
“Sites of Salvation”: Internal Colonial Enclosures and the Alchemy of Reform in Nineteenth-Century Germany
Hollyamber Kennedy, Harvard University
This paper will trace a network of modern carceral enclosures that developed in mid to late nineteenth century Germany, a period in which the architectural and spatial logics of the penal colony, the rural labour colony, and the resettlement program of internal colonization were brought into dialogue. Thinking through the question of scale, contrasting the territorial program of the village and colony to the house and barrack, it will ask how reform-based concepts and practices of settlement were worked out at both the cartographic and the typological level of plan and detail. This paper will consider the founding of the Wilhelmsdorf worker’s colony, established in 1882 by the Evangelical pastor Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, the construction of the sewage farms of Berlin, which doubled as “modernized” prison labour camps—described at the time as “sites of salvation”—and the Prussian Settlement Commission’s program of internal colonization, established by the German Ministry of Agriculture in 1886. Over a thirty-year span, the commission constructed over 600 of what its executive board of Ministers described as “model villages” along the contested eastern borderlands of the Prussian-Polish Provinces, introducing new economic and segregationist land-policy weapons into this long-established zone of conflict. The Commission was assembled in the wake of several mass expulsions in the early 1880s of non-citizen agricultural workers who hailed mainly from the Slavic East; its objective was to enforce the decrees of the Settlement Law, an anti-migrant land-use policy of incentivized settlement and forced displacement. Together, these institutions of enclosure and reform, which transformed Germany’s rural landscape, provide a view onto the origins of eugenic thought in Europe and its alchemical roots, and mark out a set of German imperial and modern planning practices that mobilized space, territory, and environment as agents of “progressive” reform. Perhaps more importantly still, these enclosures spatialized a rule of difference that resided ontologically at their centres and whose forms broadly speak to the partitioning powers of architectural modernism.
“Perimeter” Prisoners of Secret Cities: Case Study of the ZATO (Closed Territorial Formation) Krasnoyarsk N26, Russia
Katya Larina, Architectural Association School of Architecture
Since the beginning of the 1930s, GULAGs were a mainstay of the economy and a driving force behind the main geopolitical projects of the Soviet Union. They played a critical role in mega-infrastructure projects to colonise hitherto unexploited territories, such as the Belomor Canal, main hydroelectric power stations, railway lines, large industrial plants and cities, whilst prison labourers from GULAG campuses contributed to the building of the network of Secret Cities called ZATOs (an abbreviation for Closed Territorial Formations). Settled and inhabited by the Soviet Union’s elite scientists, these secret cities could be located neither in maps nor in official records for over 5 decades, yet they lay at the heart of mega-infrastructure projects such as the Soviet Atomic, space travel, nuclear energy and weaponry research projects.
The Zato’s perimeter wall, consisting of concrete walls and barbed wire, resembled the prison-like environment of the Gulag itself. Its “voluntary prisoners” had been invited to live in total dedication to national infrastructure projects, and to live an entirely isolated, idealised Soviet city life, made possible by rich supplies from those “beyond”. For its inhabitants, the perimeter symbolised their connection to a higher purpose and would later evoke feelings of nostalgia and a sense of being protected.
This paper links the story of the city’s excluded builders (exclusion) to that of its residents who sacrificed their freedom for a higher purpose (retreat), revealing a tight correlation between the prison infrastructure of Soviet GULAGs to the network of secret scientific research centres. By reviewing the ZATOs’ perimeter wall and its relevance in history, this paper will then address the contemporary condition of the ZATOs (which number over 40, and a population of 1 million), questioning whether they would be able to exist without their wall.
Engineering the Colony: Cultivation, Territorial Ambitions and New Order in the Nineteenth-Century Kingdom of the Netherlands
Freek Schmidt, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
In the years 1819-1827 seven agricultural colonies were created in the young new kingdom of the united Netherlands (today the Netherlands and Belgium), by a Society of Benevolence founded in 1818. Tens of thousands of ‘colonists’ from the larger cities were involved in the transformation of the barren lands in the north-west of the Netherlands, into agricultural landscapes with a variety of farming structures, where they were provided with modern agricultural training and moral education, to make them self-sufficient. The colonies predate other agricultural colonies, such as Mettray (1838), but also differ in their basic aim, especially before being transformed substantially in 1859. Originally, these were not penal colonies, but designed to survey, teach and improve, or ‘normalize’ people, turning them into valued members of an economically successful nation that could further cultivate the territory. Cultivation and colonisation were crucial elements in the shaping of the young kingdom, and connects to ideas about reform and the creation of a new order with all their spatial, political and ideological implications.
In my paper I would like to concentrate on the system, the ‘engineering’ of these agricultural colonies and relate these to other European rural domestic colonies and related settlements (‘new towns’) in the time-span covered by this session, up to WW II. This type of colony should solve large socio-economic problems of contemporary society with the aid of architecture, in a mixture of reform spirit and ideology, traditional building and architectural design on the one hand, and on the other, a systematic, rational and quantitative approach, which includes social, civil and military engineering that appears highly experimental, detached and modern. Seen as instruments of state politics, these institutions challenge our understanding of the long and intimate relationship between engineering and colonization.
Rural Colonization through Barrack Construction: The “Horse Stall Type” (1940) as Case Study
Nader Vossoughian, New York Institute of Technology
Prefabricated timber dwellings have been used as instruments of rural control and colonization for decades. In the nineteenth century, balloon frame construction facilitated the colonization and domestication of the American “wild west,” and the Manning Portable Cottage laid the groundwork for the territorial annexation of Australia by the British. In the twentieth century, the “System Döcker” helped enable Germany’s imperial conquest of east Africa. What has not received sufficient attention is the fact that prefabricated timber structures have sometimes been weaponized in colonized regions. That is to say, they have been used to subjugate and harm indigenous populations. The modern history of the prisoner barrack bears out this fact; in this presentation, I highlight the history of one barrack in particular, namely the “Typ Pferdestall” or “Horse stall Type,” which was employed by the Nazis rather extensively within the concentration camp system between the years 1941 and 1944.
The Horse stall barrack type, technically known as Type OKH 260/9, was an animal stall which, by many accounts, was retrofitted by the Nazis for human use. It found its way to Auschwitz and Buchenwald, among other camp locations, and was industrially mass produced using pre-cut timber. In practice, it was primarily used to house forced labourers, especially Soviet and Jewish labourers. It must also be seen as an extension of the Nazi’s racial policies, functioning as an instrument of mass suffering, illness, and humiliation. My analysis assesses the design of OKH 260/9 in the context of the history of intensive farming in the German countryside. I also situate it in relation to settler colonialism, Social Darwinism, and imperial Germany’s quest of Lebensraum in Eastern Europe.
I draw on a combination of archival materials and primary sources in making my case. I also offer forensic observations using extant remnants of OKH 260/9 itself, which I had opportunity to study in 2015 and 2016.
Shelley Roff, University of Texas at San Antonio
Until recently, historians of the built environment have assumed that, before the modern era, women had little or no involvement in the making of architecture and development of cities, other than a role as patron. Women did not participate in municipal government, nor were they traditionally allowed membership in guilds related to the building crafts. Yet, women played an important role in other aspects of the commercial activity and prosperity of the city. Was the business of building always an exception? Only in the last decades have glimpses of the true nature of women’s contribution come to the fore. Cases have been published of medieval and early modern women working in a range of occupations: poor women hired for manual labour on the construction site, women working with their husbands and fathers in the building crafts, widows continuing the workshops of their deceased husbands, and women supplying and transporting building materials. Their numbers have been reportedly few at any given site; yet they were there.
This will complicate the accepted interpretations of women’s agency in the city and those that look for new ways to analyse the limited archival evidence. There is abundant literature today on aristocratic women as patrons of secular and monastic works; but, were there cases of non-elite women acting as patrons of civic projects through donation, testament, or the purchase of municipal public debt? Aristocratic women had opportunities to influence and guide the design of the projects they patronized; did bourgeois women design or manage architectural projects privately on their own property? What was the nature of middle class womens’ unpaid “support” in their family’s craft or trade? And in studying this, are we highlighting women’s agency or oppression? Looking closer at the evidence itself, in what ways does archival material occlude or omit the presence of women; and what can that tell us? Did documented daily activities of urban women affect the spatial structure and character of an urban centre? If we cast a broader, collaborative net across a region, this may provide enough evidence to propose a rationale for women’s labour on, and related to, the construction site. If a wide spatial and temporal understanding presents itself, is it time to re-write the history of (pre-modern) architecture from an alternative, feminist point of view?
The Lady Vanishes? Women and the Construction Industry in Eighteenth-Century Ireland
Conor Lucey, University College Dublin
In recent years, interest in the role of women as designers or patrons of architecture in eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland has continued to gather momentum, building on the pioneering research of Dana Arnold, Richard Hewlings and Lucy Worsley, among others. But a work of architecture is a corporate creation, dependent on a variety of intellectual and manual skills constituted within the distinct, albeit related, realms of design and construction. To date, the role of women in the making of architecture remains somewhat contested: while Elizabeth McKellar described the early modern building site in London as ‘overwhelmingly male’, Linda Clarke and Chris Wall later presented substantial evidence of women as operatives in many building crafts prior to the introduction of capitalist wage relations at the beginning of the nineteenth century.
In an attempt to clarify the role(s) of women on the building site, this paper will first consider the historical evidence: how do we reconcile the binding of girls to trades like bricklaying, carpentry and plastering, duly recorded in guild minutes and registers, with the limited evidence of any corresponding graduation to the roles of ‘mistresses’ of those trades? And to which aspects of building construction did women make a meaningful contribution, if any? Having interrogated the documentary sources, this paper will then focus on the careers of property developer Sarah Archdall and lime-burner Margaret Todderick: from different ends of the building (and social) spectrum in Georgian Dublin, their voices and concerns are uniquely recorded in the form of petitions made to the House of Commons of the Kingdom of Ireland. Taken together, these stories, from the margins of construction history, reveal a more complex picture of female creative and economic agency in the long eighteenth century.
Women at Westminster: Shaping the Houses of Parliament to 1834
Elizabeth Biggs, University of York
Kirsty Wright, University of York
Before 1834, the Palace of Westminster was a small urban enclave within the larger urban worlds of London and Westminster. In addition to its role as the home of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, it provided lodgings for many families who worked in and around Parliament. The buildings of that urban enclave varied in date from the thirteenth century to the eighteenth century, and were constantly under repair or adaptation. Women were involved in creating the pre-1834 palace of Westminster, whether as suppliers of materials or in the adaptation of older buildings to meet new needs over the centuries. This paper examines the role of women in creating the appearance of Parliament’s buildings on the eve of a catastrophic fire in 1834, and considers the range and scope of women’s influence on a distinctive landmark complex over the centuries.
The collection of buildings that collectively made up the Palace of Westminster by 1834 allow a particularly wide view of women’s involvement in pre-modern building practices because of the regularity of alterations. While the medieval buildings were largely designed and built by men, women took part in the supply of materials to various construction projects within the palace. They had often worked alongside male family members and then replaced them on their deaths. This custom gives us a glimpse of the role women could play in pre-modern trade and building practices outside the formal trade guilds. Later, more detailed records kept by the Office of Works allow us to examine how women were able to influence particular projects within lodgings assigned to their families within the palace complex. Thus a range of women from a variety of social backgrounds, from the Speakers’ wives through to women from much more modest backgrounds, shaped Westminster.
Women as Patrons of Architecture in Pre-Reformation Edinburgh
Rachel Delman, University of York
In January 2016, The Scotsman published article titled, ‘Where are all the statues of Scots women?’ The article highlighted the underrepresentation of women in statues across the whole of Scotland, but particularly focused on Edinburgh, where there are more statues dedicated to animals than to named women. The underrepresentation of women in Edinburgh’s civic landscape today is not for a lack of academic research — the work of Elizabeth Ewan, Cathryn Spence and Aaron Allen among others has done much to highlight the contributions made by women to Edinburgh’s rich and vibrant civic culture during the later middle ages and the Renaissance. Yet the work of scholars to date has looked primarily at women’s work and their economic contributions to urban life, thus overlooking women’s roles as architectural patrons. In my paper, I will respond to this gap in current scholarship by focusing on two extant buildings that were commissioned by women in pre-Reformation Edinburgh. The first is the Magdalen Chapel on Cowgate, which was built between 1541 and 1544 by Janet Rynd, who was the widow of an Edinburgh merchant, Michael MacQueen. The second is Trinity Apse on Chalmers Close, which once formed part of a larger chapel and hospital which originally stood on the current site of Waverley Train Station. This was built by the Mary of Guelders (c.14341463) during her time as queen regent of Scotland. Through a comparative approach to these two chantry chapels — one built by a member of the civic elite and another by a royal elite — I will use the placement, architectural design and purpose of these buildings to consider the women’s motivations for building, and to analyse the ways in which these women expressed their power and status through Edinburgh’s ostensibly male-dominated civic landscape.
Nuns and the Architecture of Enclosure: The Role of Female Monastics in the Shaping of Convent Space in Southern Germany
Sarah Zeitler, FU Berlin
As structures enforcing the boundaries of separation and inclusion, the convent architecture of female monastic communities living in enclosure played a significant role in how the women experienced and sensed their social environments both inside and outside the cloister walls. The architectural requirements of strict enclosure that were regulated by monastic rules not only shaped and supported the contemplative lifestyle within convent space, but also defined the way the urban laity perceived the monastic communities situated in the cities during the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. Sources like construction plans and invoices, building permits and convent chronicles outline the change of convent buildings over time and reveal the part the nuns themselves played in this process. The so-called Baubüchlein, a detailed record of the construction measures taken in the former convent of the Poor Clares in Nuremberg from 1408 to 1566, shows that the women kept track of the structural changes of their nunnery, commissioned and supervised the construction works and even realized smaller operations on their own. Sometimes the nuns implemented their building projects against specific instructions given by the male authorities of their Order and modified the convent area due to practical needs and personal preferences. Especially in the context of reforms convent architecture became a crucial measure of the success or failure of reformist interventions attempting to challenge the convents’ enclosure laws. By either rejecting or actively carrying out constructional changes on their cloister buildings, female monastics were able to influence the physical transformation of convent space. Given the fact that the condition of the convent buildings was regarded as a reflection of the state of the communities living inside, nuns therefore materially contributed to their social position within urban societies.
Irina Davidovici, ETH Zurich
Tom Avermaete, ETH Zurich
Already in Governing the Commons (1990), Elinor Ostrom identified specific urban spaces and infrastructures as ‘common resources’, fostered by groups of citizens as a way of resisting top-down governance and commodification. Today, the notion of the ‘urban commons’ appears as an index for historians to examine a number of collective actors and operations that have gone beyond the dominant agencies of the state and the market to develop new urban spaces, no longer graspable through the dichotomy of public versus private territories. By side-stepping the intrinsic constraints of largescale state and commercial parties, these initiatives genuinely innovated the design of ‘common goods’ as exemplified in architectural projects for co-housing, co-working spaces and communal urban gardens.
And yet, the closer examination of such collective interventions reveals a number of inner contradictions. Many have been carried out by a progressive bourgeoisie, for whom the exploration of social and political alternatives was ultimately elective. Their entanglement with existing social and cultural capital often propagated social inequality and reinforced hegemonic structures, rather than substantially challenging them. Another critique, of particular relevance to architects, highlights the insubstantial, improvised and transitory nature of many collective operations (squats, common gardens, political protests etc.). For those concerned with the city as a physical, lasting artefact, the urban commons only seldomly acquired a requisite materiality.
This session explores case studies of collective operations (neighbourhood associations, co-housing initiatives, Baugruppen, etc.) that had a palpable impact on the material fabric of the city. These may operate outside the duality of state and market or, more realistically, as hybrids that make use of conventional mechanisms as levers to empower their own agency. What innovative urban figures have emerged as a result? How do they differ from equivalent configurations determined by centralised or speculative development? How is collective ownership encoded into the spatial and morphological structures? Additionally, we are interested in the role of architects and other enablers in mediating between the socio-political agendas of collective actors and existing codes, regulations and power structures.
Construction Groups and Urban Resources in Early-Twenty-First-Century Berlin
Florian Urban, Glasgow School of Art
This presentation will discuss the question how the activities of Berlin’s construction groups contributed to the urban commons—that is, to which extent they contributed to the creation of urban resources beyond the state and the market. These construction groups—small associations of middle-class investors who built flatted multi-storey buildings for owner occupation—exemplify the contradictions of non-commercial goals in a capitalist housing economy. On the one hand, construction group members resisted top-down governance and the commodification of collective life. On the other hand they were comparatively privileged individuals with a high level of education and ample financial resources. I argue that Berlin’s construction groups contributed to the “urban commons” by promoting an idea of the city as a place of heterogeneous culture, intellectual inspiration and personal freedom. They also created architectural spaces for neighbourly encounters and non-traditional work-life arrangements. Their ideas reflected an early-twentieth-century concept of the metropolis as a productive clash of differences and creative innovation. I also argue that these contributions were limited. Construction groups only made up a tiny fraction of Berlin’s population of the time, and their activities were largely confined to the window of opportunities during the first decade of the twenty-first century, when the local real estate market was comparatively relaxed. Most importantly, construction groups neither challenged hegemonic structures nor the system of capitalist housing provision.
Reinventing Hospitality as Urban Value: The Example of PEROU
Carmen Popescu, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Bretagne
This proposal takes the bet to consider an immaterial value – that is, hospitality – as a concrete catalyser of change in the urban agency. A much-debated concept in the past few years, hospitality shifted from a philosophical understanding to an activist use. Rekindled in the context of the migrants’ crisis, however it embraces a larger scope, aspiring to recreate common bonding. Recently, the French association PEROU (Pôle d’exploration des ressources urbaines) approached UNESCO for listing hospitality as an Intangible Cultural Heritage. This paper will examine how PEROU, a hyper-collective dealing with a series of collectives – architectural collectives, neighbourhood collectives, militant associations, etc. –, turned hospitality into a tool of urban change. Created in 2012 and directed by a landscape designer (who calls himself a “gardener”) and a political scientist, the association played an important role in spreading the use of spatial common resources, aiming to host precarious populations and/ or ameliorate their habitat and societal connections. While taking in account all the architectural interventions coordinated by PEROU, I will focus on the projects which consider the idea of hospitality at the core of their approach. On the one hand, I will examine the agenda and strategies at stake in those projects, and, on the other hand, I will reflect on how PEROU shaped their understanding of hospitality all along their actions. Hence, I will analyse the scale of their interventions, from the urban dimension (the Calais Jungle, Paris d’Hospitalité, etc.) to micro actions (such as the “Embassy” in Ris-Orangis, near Paris). But I will also question how PEROU’s ephemeral actions – particularly declaring Jardins d’Eole in Paris as a place of hospitality – might operate as urban changers. In my attempt to differently situate the on-going urban mutations, I am eventually interested to grasp the larger picture of a paradigm at work, that is, transgression as a manner of breaking the existing norms and reimagining the world.
Documenta Urbana: On the Rediscovery of the Commons in 1980s West Germany
Johannes Müntinga, RWTH Aachen University
At the time of its completion in 1982, the model settlement Documenta Urbana in Kassel was widely dismissed as a failure in addressing the then pressing challenges of urban renewal. Today, almost forty years later, it is slowly being re-evaluated and seen differently: as a pioneering project of small-scale collective housing and a critical reaction to mass housing complexes of the immediate post-war era. Built in connection with the seventh edition of Kassel’s art festival Documenta, the settlement can be seen as a prominent example for the rediscovery of the commons in 1980s West Germany. It was designed by a diverse group of architects known for their community-minded approach, among them Herman Hertzberger, Otto Steidle, Roland Rainer, Hinrich and Inken Baller, Johannes Olivegren and the landscape architect Raimund Herms. As a group they rejected the idea of holding a competition and decided to work collectively instead, aiming to let collective action inform their architecture. Through its developer, the social housing cooperative Neue Heimat, Documenta Urbana stands – albeit somewhat awkwardly – within a tradition of satellite towns built in many West German cities since the end of World War II. When the demand for housing changed markedly in the late 1970s, Neue Heimat struggled to adapt to the saturated market. Documenta Urbana made use of this unique moment by challenging Neue Heimat’s top-down way of working. This paper investigates how in turning away from the idea of mass housing, Documenta Urbana presented a twofold critique: firstly, by aiming to re-introduce the idea of the commons into the architectural discourse; secondly by enacting an architectural statement, exploring new typological ideas of small-scale collective housing and new collaborative design processes. In approaching these topics, the paper looks closely at the built settlement itself and at how it broadens the idea of what an architectural project can be, from an individual invention to a collective enterprise that accommodates and gives impulses for the inhabitants’ future actions.
Encountering a Proto-Anarchist Settlement in Baghdad: The Case of ʿĀṣima
Huma Gupta, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
In 1955, the Greek architect Constantinos A. Doxiadis described what lay beyond the eastern flood dyke of Baghdad in anarchistic terms, “This reminds [me] of an army without leaders, of a society without classes, without order, without pattern.” This neighbourhood—ʿĀṣima—was the largest migrant settlement in Baghdad at the time and functioned as an “urban commons” that would be celebrated by Colin Ward, but was targeted for erasure by the Iraqi state who had hired Doxiadis to design a national housing program. This paper examines this process through the architectural and urban professions that encountered rural cultivators who had been forced into debt bondage and eventually dispossessed from their lands leading them to migrate to Baghdad between 1920 and 1965. This mass migration resulted in uprooted peasants importing customary architectural forms, like the ṣarīfa, from the Shatt al-Arab marshes into the material conditions of the capital. The ṣarīfa denoted an antediluvian domicile of prefabricated reed mats laid over a barrel-vault shaped roof supported by a ridge pole and a wooden frame—a “primitive hut”—which was both transient and intransigent in the face of material progress. The resulting neighbourhoods arose on state and private lands, culminating in an architecture of dispossession. This paper demonstrates how ʿĀṣima functioned as a “space of exception” where the simulated architectures of state-building, macroeconomic theory, and architectural design were allowed to disintegrate. Specifically, it was produced by “regimes of dispossession” that coercively redistributed resources like land, water, housing, and debt financing from dispossessed groups to other classes (Levien 2018). And, yet, these very migrants would participate in overthrowing the Hashemite regime that sought to remake their life-worlds during the 1958 anti-monarchic revolution, only to be dispossessed once more by the new regime they brought into power.
Concrete Frame, Collective Domain: Factory Campuses in Detroit
Claire Zimmerman, University of Michigan
Timothy Do, University of Michigan
Concrete frame manufacturing campuses of early twentieth-century Detroit were adjacent to the public domain, like the fields of single-family dwellings that surrounded them. The tartan pattern of Detroit’s neighbourhoods—20-foot fronts and 34-foot lots—echoed in the concrete factory (20-32-foot bays), a correlation that gave the city mat-like regularity. For the first half of the twentieth century, factory campuses were integrated into, and formed a crucial part of Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park. Pedestrian access was essential; the “Motor City” was a worker’s city. Architecturally, a ubiquitous structural system simultaneously held up the building and subdivided it into equal increments; large windows let in natural light, supplemented by top lights and clerestories. These expandable buildings were designed to maximize worker productivity through spatial design, the architectural version of welfare capitalism. They also provided sites where labour unions finally conquered the US auto industry. Protests surrounded them, invaded them, and occupied them. The walk-outs of 1933 were followed by a crucial sit-down strike in 1936 in Flint. The concrete factories saw the emergence of collective action in the auto industry after years of simmering labour unrest and suppression. Still-intact daylight factories—like the Murray Body Corporation—have become informal dwellings and urban collectives. They stand in sharp contrast to the windowless industrial plants that replaced them after WWII, conglomerates surrounded by massive earthen berms and security fencing, private enclaves in the city. This paper seeks to theorize a history of collective action and collective architecture in the workplaces of industry. Part of a multi-year project dedicated to “mapping the concrete frame” and “prototyping obsolescence” in the daylight factory, its outputs include a dynamic “Nolli map” of Detroit’s industrial campuses, tracking change over time to show its impact on city dwellers.
Jasna Mariotti, Queen’s University Belfast
Kadri Leetmaa, University of Tartu
During the period of state socialism, two elements were essential to the state organisation: the abolition of the private property and the establishment of the central planning of the state, contributing greatly to the urban planning processes in socialist countries. The ambitions to create a new form and pattern of the city, with clearly designated boundaries, were embodied in the ideal socialist planning goals and helped in the formation of new cities or the substantial redevelopment patterns of existing cities and urban patterns.
Urban planning during state socialism gave a rise to a different kind of a city, a centralised, structurally uniform and highly standardised spatial form in which housing distribution, public services and recreational amenities are equally distributed and accessible to all. The quantity of service utilities was normatively projected upon the number of inhabitants in each neighbourhood contributing to the formation of socialist communities within the city boundaries. The city centre was the most vital part of the socialist city, providing a setting for its political, cultural and administrative functions.
This session focuses on the planning practices and the transformations of the built environment of cities during the period of state socialism, aiming to generate a comparative discussion on the theme on the basis of case-studies from around the world.
The Role of Expert Culture and the Architect in the Changing Late Soviet Large Housing Estates
Marija Dremaite, Vilnius University
This paper will explore the role of the architect as an expert in the individualised design approach to the field of mass housing, where construction has been largely regulated by standardisation and the economy. David Crowley saw the division between standard and original as one of the most fundamental features shaping the nature of ‘Socmodernism’ (a term proposed by Crowley) and distinguishing it from Western Modernism. He proposed dividing post-war socialist architecture into ‘Socmodernism 1’ and ‘Socmodernism 2’ based on this distinction. In his conception, ‘Socmodernism 1’ met the demands issued by Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, as early as 1954 to supply inexpensive, unembellished industrialised buildings, largely but not only for the sphere of housing. In this sphere architects were expected to behave as technocrats; they were required not to produce buildings but types, with the result that housing design was removed from the sphere of art to engineering. My observations suggest that regional differences in the standardised architecture of large housing estates could be increasingly introduced by local experts proposing unique architectural solutions. It is therefore important to establish how certain professional (criticism of mass-constructed residential districts in favour of individualised design, theories of ‘humanisation’, application of urban sociology, post-modern ideas) or national and regional (e.g. Baltic architects) aspirations were cloaked in a ‘correct’ Soviet rhetoric and whether there existed alternative ways of securing official acknowledgement of a project.
New Ecological Planning and Spatial Assessment of Production Sites in Socialist Industrial Yekaterinburg (Sverdlovsk) in the 1960s–80s
Nadezda Gobova, University College London
The planning of the cities of the socialist period was often associated with the planning, construction and operation of industrial infrastructure. The early socialist city planning discourse of the 1920s was centred on the predictable problems of spatial and functional relationships between production and residential zones and their interconnected development. In the following period of actual realisation of the cities’ masterplans such approach could not be practically implemented as the city planners and architects had been restricted in their opportunity to project and control the positioning and spatial development of industrial sites and did not normally produce and own planning documentation related to industrial development. All initiatives in planning, construction and operation of industries were concentrated in the hands of the state industrial agencies, which were administrated centrally by the Ministry of Industrial Development. Such strict division in the sphere of public and industrial planning resulted in the haphazard development of production zones and the emergence of problematic spatial and ecological situations in many socialist industrial cities.
It is less known that the later period of the 1960s–80s was characteristic by the increased concern with the environmental performance of industrial cities and by an attempt of the local planning authorities to consolidate the power over the development and operation of production zones. This paper discusses the example of Yekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk) demonstrating the specifics of the local urban industrial planning strategies embraced during that period, which aimed to systematise and include the previously unrestricted and largely independent development of industries under the general control of the city planning process. The architects and planners were able to survey the enclosed industrial areas within the city and for the first time produce their development plans. The main purpose of such movement was to ensure a more sustainable development of industrial zones and their less negative environmental impact on the city.
The Plan for Tselinograd and the Khrushchyovka: The Programmatic Intentions and Legacy of the Virgin Lands Urbanization by Means of a New Typology
Gianni Talamini, City University of Hong Kong
Tselinograd was established as the capital of the USSR Tselinniy Krai (Virgin Land Territory) in 1961. The planned city became a showcase of a new conception of town planning and the standardization of buildings under the leadership of Nikita Khrushchev. The new residential typology, which was proposed in conjunction with the Virgin Land Campaign and which is commonly known as the Khrushchyovka, was widely used across the whole of the USSR, as well as being exported to other socialist countries, such as China. Beginning in the 1950s, this new typology was used to supply dwellings to about 60 million people across the USSR for two decades. Despite these buildings being designed to last for a limited period, a large portion of the current population of the former USSR still reside in units constructed during this era. The Khrushchyovka contributed to the shape of socialist society and formed an important part of USSR history and popular culture, as well as collective memory. This contribution aims to analyse the innovative approach that was tested in Tselinograd by documentary analysis of the original planning documents for Tselinograd and by content analysis of the programmatic speech of Nikita Khrushchev at the National Conference of Builders, Architects, Workers in Construction Materials and Manufacture of Construction and Roads Machinery Industries, and Employees of Design and Research and Development Organizations on 7 December, 1954. Furthermore, it seeks to discuss and interpret the legacy of the original plan for Tselinograd in the current capital city of Kazakhstan, which recently has been renamed Nur-Sultan. The study is based on primary data collected in four periods of field investigation between 2009 and 2011.
The Birth of the Superblock in Soviet Baku: From Stepan Razin to Armenikend to the Mikroraion
Christina E. Crawford, Emory University
Proposal: Baku, the oil-rich capital of the Azerbaijani SSR, was the site of both the Soviets’ first comprehensive city plan (completed in 1927), and home to two experimental socialist residential neighbourhoods, Stepan Razin and Armenikend, that tested the affordances of the new socialist land regime. Stepan Razin, a worker settlement close to the oil fields, was a modified English Garden City with standardized houses that offered capacious units and public green spaces. When this low-density experiment proved too expensive to repeat, the planners—designing with little oversight from large state structures in this early period—developed large block-based urban schemes to increase the number of units and “economize on the length of piping, paving, interior sidewalks, street lighting, etc.” required for Baku’s Soviet leaders to fund and maintain. The distinctly Constructivist Armenikend block 171, built to test this new paradigm, sat on an enlarged block that allowed for more housing units, integrated social services, shared green space, and reduced vehicular traffic. Armenikend, this paper argues, thus marks the birth of the socialist residential superblock. The superblock proved a persistent planning model throughout the Soviet era because it took full advantage of socialist land ownership structure and was agnostic about architectural language. In the 1935 General Plan for Moscow, a shift to architectural neo-classicism notwithstanding, large residential blocks mimicked Armenikend’s model integrated housing, landscape, schools, and cultural and commercial facilities on large consolidated blocks. In the Khrushchev era (1953-1964), the Soviet housing crisis was again addressed with superblock microregions (mikroraiony) of prefabricated housing and services, though then on urban outskirts. Although Armenikend block 171 was small compared to later examples, it nonetheless showed the way to exploit land nationalization and architectural standardization for the benefit of the socialist domestic sphere.
Producing the Communist Reality: Enver Hoxha’s ‘Blloku’ and Politics of Urban Isolation
Maja Babić, University of Michigan
The scholars of urban planning and architecture of the world behind the Iron Curtain have increasingly studied the architectural production of the socialist realm, never as ardently as in the last decade. Amongst the Eastern Bloc countries, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia, stands an anomaly, Albania. Understudied, isolated, and arguably suffering the harshest interpretation of communist doctrines, Albanian cities are omitted from the narratives of the socialist urban production of the past century. This paper aims to fill this gap and inquire into the relationship of ideology and urban planning in Albania. Tirana, the capital of Albania, is a city of problematic urban politics and of foreign emperors’ urban plans. Following the Italian and German imprints on the city, the fifty years of the Communist Party’s rule forged the Tirana of confinements and limitations, its built environment serving as a tool of imprisonment and surveillance. In my paper, I study the creation of Tirana’s Blloku neighbourhood; housing Hoxha’s residence and apartment buildings constructed for Party leaders, Blloku stood out of reach of a regular Albanian, looming large in the capital’s built environment. To examine the creation of Blloku and its juxtaposition with the existing city, to assess and analyse its political and social bearings, I examine the daily newspapers from the period, city plans, and oral history interviews collected in the recent period. I argue that Blloku served as a facilitator of communist rule, its seclusion furthering the division between the ruling party and its subjects, perpetuating the narrative of fear. The particularities of the Albanian political system heavily impacted the urban planning and architecture of its cities; they served as yet another tool of Party rhetoric. In the study of Tirana and Blloku, I inquire into another layer of the communist urban production in the post-war Europe.
Citizen Participation and Socialism: An Inquiry into International Influences on Urban Planning in Socialist Belgrade
Mina Blagojević, University of Belgrade
Ana Perić, ETH Zurich, University of Belgrade
The notion of citizen participation in urban planning has rarely been associated with state socialism as a system favouring the centralized, top-down planning approach. However, post-WWII Yugoslavia makes an interesting case, as citizen participation, together with state decentralisation and self-management or ‘industrial democracy’, formed three main pillars of Yugoslav socialism. External factors such as Yugoslav non-aligned position and its openness to Western cultural influences strengthened the Yugoslav society that was considered a relaxed version of socialism as compared to other countries behind the Iron Curtain. However, the social reality of citizen participation in a single-party political system was not flawless. Hence, considering the concept of planning diffusion, we intend to trace the evolution of the participatory planning model in socialist Belgrade. To what extent was it a spontaneous occurrence in the atmosphere of self-management and condition of cultural autonomy? Which features were borrowed, and where did the role models come from? What were the key channels and nodes of international collaboration that enabled such an exchange? Which aspects of the participatory model were customized, re-invented to adjust to the socio-economic and cultural specificities? To address these questions, we use the case study of Belgrade, as an embodiment of the cosmopolitan urbanity, between 1965 and 1980. This period is considered the peak of participatory urban planning, also characterized by intensive professional networking. In doing so, we will elucidate the richness of urban planning culture in socialist Belgrade and its dynamic evolution, further contesting stereotypes regarding ’typical’ socialist planning practice.
From Socialist Planning to Investor Urbanism Lessons from the Corvin-Quarter Redevelopment in Budapest
Daniel Kiss, ETH Zurich
Based on the case study of a deteriorated neighbourhood’s protracted redevelopment in Budapest, this paper claims that besides the analysis of socialist model cities, the investigation of total planning and prefabricated housing as means for inner city renewal is vital for the thorough understanding of socialist urbanization’s impacts. The starting point is a controversial 1965 scheme by a state-held planning bureau that would have replaced the decaying 19th century urban blocks with prefabricated mass housing slabs, to be ousted by a careful, gradualist approach in the 1980s, authored by the district-level authorities. This followed the international paradigm shift towards soft rehabilitation and aimed at preserving the urban tissue and sustaining most of the former residents. The first attempt suffered from tensions between an ideological blueprint and local demands, while the second from over-complexity. Ultimately, both failed as no sufficient financial resources were allocated to them by the central government – an outcome caused by discrepancies between spatial and fiscal planning in the party-state system. Following the regime change of 1989 and the subsequent decentralization of governance, planning, and ownership, as well as after repeated unsuccessful attempts of the local municipality in the 1990s to attract small-scale private investors for its gradual redevelopment scheme, a total plan under market conditions managed its way to actual construction in 2009. Thereby, the underfinanced local government, unable to generate and keep structural changes under its control, engaged in the integration of a tabula rasa private developer-project into their renewal program. While neglecting areas between the historical centres and new satellites, resulting in their deterioration, socialist planning also provided a model for their blank slate renewal, which ironically made its revival under market conditions in the form of discontextual investor urbanism. The paper discusses this nexus and introduces the contemporary developments as belated consequences of planning practices under state socialism. The methodology draws on content analysis of policy documents and secondary sources of analytical information, supplemented by personal interviews with stakeholders and experts. Keywords: urban renewal, total planning, prefabricated housing, investor urbanism
Post-War Aggregates for the Communist Future: Political Economy of Rubble Reuse in Warsaw during the Three-Year Plan (1947-1949)
Adam Przywara, University of Manchester
This paper presents selected outcomes of my PhD research which introduces a matter of rubble into architectural history through an account of the immediate post-war period and early reconstruction era in Warsaw (1945–1949). My historical inquiry traces transformations of rubble into materialities of architecture (waste, salvage, aggregate) in order to uncover historical entanglements between wartime destruction and post-war reconstruction in the context of Warsaw, Poland and Europe. In January 1945 Warsaw was as a forest of ruins growing out of 25 million cubic meters of rubble. Today mass of rubble embedded in the city's landscape still remains a material manifestation of wartime atrocity. However, in the late 1940s rubble was also a potent ground (and a crucial obstacle) for the political and architectural visions of the future. This paper focuses on rubble as an aggregate for concrete — the most complex iteration of rubble reuse fostered by Communist development of (architectural) production and global circulation of engineering knowledge in the post-war era. History of rubble prefabrication situates my paper in the context of scarcely studied Polish Three-Year Plan of Reconstructing the Economy (1947-1949). Analysing labour-intensive and technologically advanced rubble transformations I will uncover variety of social tensions and political struggles underpinning negotiations of the new political economy within the reconstruction effort. Moreover, looking at the administration, engineers and architects involved in the process I will offer an original insight into early industrialization and standardization of architectural production. Finally, history of rubble prefabrication used in construction of the Warsaw’s first Communist housing projects and monumental buildings will allow me to grasp a multi-layered historical origins of post-war networks of planning and expertise. It will show a crucial role of the early post-war circulation of knowledge in the global geographies of architectural production in the later decades.
Odd Objects in Rigid Surroundings: Socialist Garages Emerge from Soviet Urbanisation
Nicole Lilly Nikonenko, University of Innsbruck
A Socialist city can be identified by its unique structure and form. Typically, this recognition is characterised by the rigid built order, the microdistricts and the Soviet mass housing block. As this phenomenon can be found in multiple cities all over the former USSR, it is evident, that the political ideology has manifested itself not only in constrained collectivism, the standardisation of life but also in its built environment. The ‘living machine has influenced millions of people’s lives and is one of the most significant built urban design plans. Even though the political ideologies during the Soviet era varied, one mutual aim was to raise the collective by abolishing private ownership of property and land. Yet by investigating the Soviet Socialist city (Sotsgorod) another very specific form can be detected. It sits in the city as a foreign matter, an object alien to its rigid surroundings. It was neither designed, nor explicitly planned by the Socialist state, yet it can be found in 48 of the 50 largest cities within the former Soviet Union. These multiple findings are large scale areas of garages. The Socialist garage has a generic micro-city quality and within that, it consists of three main properties. It embodies an architectural element on a plot; it is initially constructed for an object of consumption ‘the car’ and it assembles into odd micro-city formations adducing a 'Siedlung' character resulting in a diverse form of dwellings within the Sotsgorod. Hence this typology is not only interesting concerning its distinct formal properties, but also its functional role goes way beyond the original purpose. Next to a wide range of economical use from small shops to public saunas, they also developed into small communities and even housing solutions. The Soviet garage allowed people to modify space and individualise in an exceptional manner.
Alternative Urban Scales: From Prefabricated Panels towards Human Modulors of Public Space
Masha Panteleyeva, Cornell University
The Soviet Academy of Construction and Architecture, restructured by Khrushchev in 1955, reported directly to the Communist Party and was responsible for development of new building standards to replace the outdated Stalinist regulations. It produced “The Norms and Regulations of Planning and Construction” establishing new methods of standardized construction both as a universally accepted architectural technique based on the unit of concrete panel and as a totalising political strategy. The Academy was a complex hierarchical system supplemented with extensive nomenclature and suggesting a highly efﬁcient system, in reality, however, it was disorganized and tainted by the system of top-down control. The totalising project of redesigning the entire Soviet society with the help of a concrete panel caused a collision of various standards—units, techniques, form, materiality, value, and even aesthetics—while failing to acknowledge conceptual shifts of scale between an architectural object and urban space.
This ideological confusion sparked the formation of experimental collectives under the cover of the Academy’s research institutes. This paper focuses on the activity of the group of soviet urban designers and architects, The NER Group (1960-1970), who developed the “New Unit of Settlement" model for future cities based on sociological organization of the city. The main ideology of their alternative urban model was based on creative communication in a classless society, where the city was no longer dependent on its industrial centre, but formed around the centre of communication instead. Their futurist proposals of decentralized urban environments reimagined architectural practice based on a “human” unit of settlement—a new module of urban space. This unit of measurement differed from the Corbusian mathematical Modulor: it foregrounded a human being with one’s unique emotions and creative needs as the centre of urban space. This paper focuses on the shift from the politicized symbolism of Soviet concrete panel unit towards the introduction of a “humanistic” Modulor in Soviet urban planning in the late 1960s, which relocated the site of Soviet subjectivity away from the numerical systems of control towards humanism as a new form of governance. I argue that this change of scale paradigms helped conceptually resolve the illusive split between theory and form in Soviet architecture, and, on an ideological level, between the Soviet State and the rest of the world.
Richard Williams, University of Edinburgh
Burle Marx and a Critical Narrative from the European Exhibitions
Ana Paula Polizzo, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro
Since the 1930s the history of architecture and landscape architecture in Brazil is indisputably linked to the work of Roberto Burle Marx (1909-1994). The landscape architect had his career recognized by the international regard and critics, which always sought to relate his garden’s exuberance to the specificity of the genuinely Brazilian flora and landscape that are extremely original in the foreign vision.
The exhibits had great influence on the creation of this image of Brazil to the world and Burle Marx was always present: from “Brazil Builds” in 1943 (organized by architects Phillip Goodwin and G. E. Kidder Smith), to “Latin American Architecture Since 1945” in 1955 (with curatorship by Henry-Russell Hitchcock), and finally “Burle Marx: the Unnatural Art of the Garden” in 1991 (organized by Willian Howard Adams). All these exhibitions were held at MoMA in New York, with the latter being the first to be dedicated by the museum to a landscape architect. The North American connections have been broadly explored by the historiography of architecture.
However, when studying Burle Marx’s relationship with the European territory, historiography seems to choose a less problematized narrative: due to his German ascendance, Burle Marx had a European education that made him acquainted with music and gardening. But it was only during a visit to Germany in 1928 that Burle Marx had contact with the Brazilian flora in a botanic garden and this arose his “creative impetus”.
This article aims to analyze Burle Marx’s relationship with the European territory drawing on another approach: the external regard on his work, particularly as from the mid-1950s, with individual shows (in London, Amsterdam, Lisbon, Paris, Berlin, Mallorca, Stuttgart, Frankfurt) and collective exhibitions comprising work (in Vienna, Zurich, Leverkusen, Lugano, Berlin). These exhibitions in Europe have been considerably less explored by historiography than the North American exhibits but they certainly built a network of equally interesting relationships, which are fundamental to critically replace the landscape architect’s work in the face of modern and contemporary worldwide architecture.
Be Marginal, Be Hero: Sergio Bernardes and the New Vanguards in the 1960s
Maria Cristina Cabral, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro
Until 1965, a year after the military coup in Brazil, the regime still seemed accidental and mild, in the face of what it would become from 1968 on. The bankruptcy of modern social utopia was announced in the artistic series Be marginal, be hero (1968) of Helio Oiticica, giving rise to the marginal culture, as a form of expression that incorporated the critique of violence and the social daily life of cities.
In Brazil, despite a great gap of publications and the silence of the architectural debate between 1965 and 1975, the buildings multiplied in number and scale, still within the scope of economic developmentism that had had elected the international style, driven by the force of national engineering. However, the experimental aspect that had characterized much of modern architecture and the vanguards of the Western world in the 1960s was lost in the country, except in the work of a few architects, among them Sergio Bernardes (1919‐2002), later condemned to ostracism through historiography, for his collaboration with the military regime. Bernardes belatedly embodies the modern hero, with his utopian and humanistic vision and his blind faith in technological potential, anchored in Buckminster Fuller's studies. He also embodies the character that gradually becomes marginal, as a form of resistance to the latency of the consumer society. This work investigates the Bernardes' poetics in the 60's and 70's vanguards, focusing on the idea of flexible systems to social processes and the possibilities of new technologies in despite of the political authoritarianism.
The Kuwait Urbanisation: Saba George Shiber’s Guidebook for the New Arab City
Aminah Alkanderi, University of Pennsylvania
In terms of the practice of urban design, Saba George Shiber is an influential Arab planner-architect in the post war period. However, little is known about his contribution to the contemporary practice of architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning in the global south during the second half of the twentieth century and the development of the field of urban design. Shiber was greatly influenced by the American practice of urbanism (three-dimensional city planning) and guided initial American building practices in the Arabian Desert. His twelve years of experience designing, building, and reviewing the urban scene in the Arab world led to the gradual translation of the universal model of modern architecture into new architectural vocabularies—mega structures suitable for the desert climate, reflective of Arab culture, and compatible with urban aesthetics.
When prominent American design and construction firms, such as The Architecture Collaborative and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, had the opportunity to build in the Arabian Peninsula from the 1960s through the 1990s, they used his studies as a reference. These firms’ prior knowledge, design, and construction technologies were not compatible with the new region and climate. Newfound on-site expertise initiated significant design and construction innovations applicable to large-scale buildings and urban planning. The expansion of building practices resulted from their collaboration with local Arab practitioners, such as Shiber, whose ideas involved integrating and adapting technical, geographic, and climatic concepts from the old cities and ways of construction to contemporary Western/industrial methods. In this paper, I will, therefore, trace the foundation of Shiber’s practice of urban design order to shed light on a figure who has been neglected in prior research but who had a profound influence on the urban landscape in this region.
Building the East Mediterranean Port City of Izmir After the Fall of Cosmopolitanism: Dutch Architect Dudok’s Contribution to the Turkish Architecture Culture
Fatma Tanis, TU Delft
Interactions between European experts and Turkish dignitaries largely influenced modern Turkish architecture, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. In recent decades, scholars have widely acknowledged the exchanges between the German-speaking world and Turkey. Building on the existing research, this study highlights the contribution of Dutch architect Dudok to Turkish architecture. The focus of the paper is contrary to the conventional modernist view, and instead shifts the emphasis on the perspective of a port city. Dudok's unrealized project for Konak Square is not only insightful for modern architecture but also provides an invaluable take on designing port cities.
The shift in the perception of space and definition of place in port cities is a direct consequence of global history. After the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, the waterfronts of Izmir became primary sites for the application of the modern planning ideas. However, the question of how to build in port cities after the fall of cosmopolitanism remained overlooked during the 20th century. Instead, how to build a modern country was the main focus of the government. The top-down modernization failed to understand Izmir and its changing dynamics. This process resulted in the rapid transformation of Izmir’s waterfronts as a site for housing development. This experience stands as a testimony for the importance of reading port cities from a holistic perspective.
In response to the complex dynamics of Izmir, Dudok's project for Konak square is used to understand the design process of a port city. In conclusion, this paper points out that Dudok's attempt is a crucial reminder that the waterfront is a Janus-faced area. Understanding the post-cosmopolitan era highlights the characteristics of Izmir’s waterfront. It suggests that decision-makers and designers must equally consider the perception of port cities both from the land and sea. Dudok’s solution for Izmir in the mid 20th century also shines a light on how to design in port cities today.
The National Water Carrier as a Cypher for Competing Agendas of Development and Settlement in Israel
Ziv Leibu, Technion IIT
Alona Nitzan-Shiftan, Technion IIT
By 1951 Israeli modernizers had at their disposal 93 percent of the nation-state territory, and about 700,000 Jewish migrants they had to settle after deporting a similar number of Palestinians during the 1948 civil war. The ensuing population dispersal task was assigned to the nascent state Planning Division that has drawn significant scholarly attention. But apparently, studies of its seminal Israeli masterplan render a partial perception of the Zionist settlement project. These studies fail to address the competing agendas of various agencies that controlled major infrastructures above and below ground.
This paper questions the role of the National Water Carrier (NWC, est. 1952-1964) and its largely invisible infrastructure in the mechanism of Zionist settlement. New archival materials and STS (Science, Technology, Society) methodologies assist in revealing the formative tension between an urban and a rural coalition, and between two methods of settlement—one dispersing population in a hierarchical order, the other occupying the land by means of a comprehensive agricultural spread. The first successful yet tense convergence of these agencies was in the flagship settlement of the Lachish region (est. 1954- 1955). This was also a prime destination for the NWC that carried water from the green north to the southern desert in the order ‘to make the desert bloom.’
In the mid-1950s these coalitions implemented two spatial networks in Lachish. The centralized network of the Planning Division devised a hierarchical settlement scheme around urban centres that were placed on the main traffic arteries. The economic logic of this scheme ensured efficient circulation of agricultural products in the area. By contrast, the hydraulic network of the agriculture division followed the needs of mass irrigation. This network, which was promoted by Zionist agencies that predated the state, linked scattered agricultural units into semi-autonomous spatial and statutory entities. This system prioritized a total-area development that undermined the hierarchical regional layout of state planners.
Common accents: Professional practices, indigenous voices and vernacular urbanity in Kutch, India
Ambrose Gillick, University of Kent
This paper describes the practice of a non-profit development collective based in Kutch, India and their work with indigenous communities in the wake of the 2001 Gujarat Earthquake. Examining the emergence of three settlements – Hodka, the home of a semi-nomadic indigenous community of craftspeople, Junawada, a longstanding settlement of pastoralists and Sadar Nagar, a relocation settlement of peoples from central Bhuj, Kutch – as they developed in the aftermath of the earthquake and over the following decade, this paper maps the relationship between indigenous building practices, the professional knowledge of third sector development agencies and the broader socio-political context. This paper describes how architectural languages and spatial forms common to the communities were articulated by a synthesis of informal and formal architectural and building practices in the context of emergency redevelopment strategies, and how these practices were moulded over time towards normative indigenous ways of being urban. It argues that in so doing, design practitioners invited the development of spaces of resistance, in which communities could begin to re-articulate situated and individual visions of communal life which resisted hegemonic expressions of modernity in favour of existing hybrid modernities common to the communities. Likewise, it argues that by making an opening for professional knowledge in indigenous life, communities gained for themselves access to institutional power, professional systems and resources otherwise denied them through normative development models. This reciprocity is legible in the urban and architectural fabric. As such, this paper suggests, what is visible in the redevelopment of the three Kutchi settlements are common spaces that serve competing visions of urbanity and citizenship. These new spaces derived from synergies that emerged through the active co-production of architectural, urban and spatial form by lay and professional people concerned with the formation of a viable indigenous urbanism for the twenty-first century.
Giovanna Guidicini, Glasgow School of Art
Anne-Françoise Morel, KU Leuven
User comfort, functionality and sustainability are predominant concerns of contemporary architecture, related to the complex physical and sensory interaction between the user and the building. They include aspects of thermal and acoustic comfort, a healthy indoor environment, accessibility, and siting. They also depend on the choice of construction techniques and materials as well as the availability of consumable resources. Whilst these issues are studied by historians in the fields of economy, philosophy, environmental studies, and cultural studies, they remain rather unexplored in the study of early modern architecture (16th-18th C.). They even seem to exist in opposition to the cultural concepts of representation prevalent in the study of architecture before Enlightenment (DeJean, 2010).
These concepts were not yet standards, let alone clearly defined, in early modern architectural design and theory, in which domestic amenity gave priority to social status over personal comfort. Yet, they played an increasingly relevant role in a period climatologically described as the Little Ice Age (1550-1720), during which technical innovations, practical experimentation, Newtonian physics and a developing culture of sensibility shaped attitudes to material culture (Mukherjee, 2014).
The aim of the session is to investigate how concerns regarding the built and natural environment operated as catalysts for innovative technological and architectural responses, and to demonstrate the connection between the well-known notions of status and representation and the new concepts of personal comfort and convenience.
Discussing the role of these topics in the early modern architectural discourse and design can bridge the perceived gap between what is often superficially considered a practically-driven, socially conscious modern period, and its architecturally unrestrained, environmentally carefree and user-unfriendly predecessor. On the contrary, this panel will show remarkable similarities in identifying and investigating architectural solutions aimed at user convenience. Furthermore we seek to cross the disciplinary poles of the technological and scientific versus the historical and humanistic, bringing to the fore how the complex relationship between people and the environment informs the construction of equally complex architectural responses.
A Country Full of Palaces? Functionality of Space and Comfort in Dutch 17th and 18th Century Residential Architecture
Wouter van Elburg, University of Amsterdam
Whilst discussing the residential culture of the 17th century Helen Searing (1997) remarked that: ‘arguably, the very concept of ‘home’ as we know it was invented by the Dutch’. The meaning of home is still widely up for debate, but a pivotal role for the Dutch in its creation has a long history. Already in the 17th century, foreign visitors to the Netherlands were highly observant of the differences between Dutch residential culture and that of their homeland. Four characteristics of Dutch architecture seem of key importance to them: highly developed interiors, relatively high standards of comfort, cleanliness and innovative urban planning. One visitor branded the Netherlands as ‘a country full of palaces’, an opinion that at the time does not seem to have been rare.
These characteristics will have mainly been brought forth by the layout of Dutch houses. They not only point to outward notions of status and representation, but also refer to private life within the home. This paper will demonstrate how through typological analysis of floor plans these characteristics can be illustrated. By analysing floor plans of Dutch premodern residential architecture, it can be argued that Dutch homes were standardized relatively early on and designed with user comfort in mind. Current scholarly discourse on Dutch premodern residential architecture has mainly focussed on the development of the floor plan in relation to the construction (Meischke 1969; Prak 1991). How social characteristics like residential culture, high standards of comfort and cleanliness may have interacted with the development of floor plans is hardly discussed. With a new typological analysis, the layout of the Dutch home may be further explained in the context of the city and society.
The Progress of Coal-Fired Comfort
Aleksandr Bierig, Harvard University
The connection between coal and comfort was commonplace in British culture by the late eighteenth century. In his 1789 treatise on coal mining, The Natural History of the Mineral Kingdom, John Williams wrote that ‘No country in the world depends so much upon the productions of the mineral kingdom, for the means of comfortable accommodation, wealth, and power, as the island of Britain.’ Similarly, large-scale historical studies—beginning with the foundational account of E.A. Wrigley—have emphasized connections between demographic growth, urbanization, industrialization, and coal.
How did these immense changes play out inside? This paper looks at schemes by architects, natural philosophers, and other interested actors aimed at ‘improving’ the household hearth in eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Britain. For instance, in 1714, when Newtonian experimentalist J.T. Desaguliers translated a French treatise on the fireplace into English, he added a series of descriptions recounting his trials with coal-fired hearths. Later in the century, Count Rumford and Scottish polymath James Anderson proposed ways to improve the circulation of heat, while they simultaneously explored the management of citizens and resources in parallel tracts on political economy. By 1845, the two-volume On the history and art of warming and ventilating rooms and buildings compiled the above schemes alongside many others, now recast a history of interior comfort as the course of civilization, itself (culminating, naturally, in the coal-fired homes of the British Isles).
These texts and others show how the problem of the fireplace attracted thinking across multiple scales, drawing the individual interior and its ideally comfortable inhabitants into a web of connections between fuel, comfort, national identity, and historical change.
The eighteenth-century has long been associated with a ‘culture of consumption’ through which a growing swath of the British population had access to new goods and services. Did the consumption of domestic fuel resonate or diverge from more visible modes of consumption? Who, in the end, was allowed to be comfortable as coal became Britain’s fuel?
Early Modern Living Comfort. Charles of Croÿ (1560-1612) and the Description of his Residence in Heverlee
Sanne Maekelberg, KU Leuven
Situated south of Leuven, within a one-day travel distance from Brussels, the castle of Heverlee was one of the main residences of the Croÿ dynasty. It was Anton of Croÿ who purchased the seignory with accompanying hereditary title of sénéchal of Brabant in 1446. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, William of Croÿ and his wife Mary of Hamal built a new residence on the site, supplementing the existing uncomfortable living tower with a fully-fledged L-shaped residence. Three generations later it became one of the favourite residences of Charles III of Croÿ (1560-1612), duke of Aarschot and Croÿ, count of Beaumont and prince of the Holy Roman Empire. As one of the highest noblemen in the Low Countries Charles was considered a patron of the arts and architecture, as well as a military commander. During his lifetime he developed an obsession with the recording of his heritage for his posterity, even though he died without children. Part of this obsession were the so-called besoignés and specifications, describing the domain of Heverlee to an amazing level of detail. This extraordinary source covers everything in the castle – even the collection of linen at the disposal of the duke – as well as the entire surrounding domain with gardens, orchards and a private hunting forest. The content of this description hints at an amazing level of technology, with – for example – fountains spraying water to seven or eight feet high. In this paper, we will explore how these descriptions, in combination with iconographic sources of the castle and its surroundings, give insight into the level of comfort concerning food, personal hygiene and technological advances.
Waste, Water and Warmth: Regulation and Comfort in Early Modern Edinburgh
John Lowrey, University of Edinburgh
This paper focuses on Edinburgh in the seventeenth century and considers the efforts made by the civic authorities to improve the safety and amenity of the domestic architecture of the city by attempting to improve, in particular, water supply and waste disposal (infamously, a problem in Edinburgh right up until the nineteenth century).
Using the existing legal structure of the Dean of Guild Court to oversee and enforce, the city gradually developed a regulatory framework, partly in response the threats of fire and disease, which gradually shaped the appearance of the city and the structure of the new buildings within it. By the end of the century, the High Street as the main thoroughfare had taken on a more unified, lithic appearance and the wealthier burghers were living in housing that was more spacious and better serviced. Those changes, however, whilst the civic input was important, were at least as much due to the private enterprise of the members of the various trades organisations, who developed the modern flat and tenement block, partly in defiance of the city’s regulation.