Modern Housing Envisaged as a Patrimonio Vivo (Living Heritage)





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


To analyze the life and transformation of modern housing is a key subject for architectural knowledge. There are very positive cases of evolution, such as Casa Bloc in Barcelona, Spain, by GATCPAC architects, which still functions as living patrimony after two architectural rehabilitations; and disastrous, such as Robin Hood Gardens in London by Alison and Peter Smithson. The article explains why some cases are very alive while others have suffered progressive degradation and will be demolished. A key and decisive element is the design of the corridors, which due to their forms and sizes might be positive. And one of the reasons why these complexes have become obsolete has been the excessive architectural definition of both the exterior and the interior. Also the heritage of the Villes Nouvelles in France has been disastrous and, in response to the policy of demolition, architects such as Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, Roland Castro and Sophie Denissof, or Paul Chemetov, have defended the logic of redoing, remodeling and metamorphosing. The challenge is to project and to build collective housing capable of absorbing transformations.

How to Cite

Montaner, J. M. (2014). Modern Housing Envisaged as a Patrimonio Vivo (Living Heritage). Docomomo Journal, (51), 12–15.




Author Biography

Josep Maria Montaner, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

(b. Barcelona, Spain, 1954). Permanent professor of Theory of Architecture at the School of Architecture of Barcelona at the Polytechnic University of Catalunya, Spain. Lecturer in different universities in Europe, America and Asia. Author of more than 40 books on the theory of architecture. Writer in the newspapers El Pais and La Vanguardia.


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