Docomomo Journal <p>Docomomo Journal publishes original research on the documentation and conservation of Modern Movement buildings, sites and neighbourhoods.</p> en-US [email protected] (Docomomo International) [email protected] (SOAP | Stichting OpenAccess platforms) Fri, 01 Sep 2023 12:34:35 +0200 OJS 60 The Skopje City Wall Housing Complex <p>The 1963 earthquake in Skopje, North Macedonia, prompted an international response culminating in the Town Planning Project financed by the UN Special Fund, which resulted in a new master plan for the city. An international competition for the reconstruction of the Skopje city center was launched as part of the project. The Kenzo Tange entry, which won three-fifths of the first prize, became a representation of the new Skopje. It relied on an autofabulation approach, using elements like ‘city gate’ and ‘city wall’ as important parts of the concept. One of the major features was the City Wall housing development which encircled the central business district (CBD). This paper examines the initial proposal and the phases it passed through to become a new development plan for the center. In this process, Tange played a significant role, defining major planning aspects of the complex, which was later completed according to projects by local architects. The City Wall supported housing as permanent activity in the center and introduced a housing complex of towers and blocks, which became a prominent feature of the Skopje skyline. Although it had to be adapted to the existing conditions and some of the original ideas had to be abandoned, the City Wall complex stood the test of time. Unfortunately, especially since the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s, a number of interventions and alterations have compromised its appearance and some of the basic ideas. The paper argues that the City Wall complex should be proclaimed a cultural heritage, and immediate action should be taken to prevent irreparable damage and to preserve the City Wall as an important and recognizable image of Skopje’s townscape.</p> Vlatko P. Korobar, Jasmina Siljanoska Copyright (c) 2023 Vlatko P. Korobar, Jasmina Siljanoska Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Hidden Champions <p>Large-scale housing estates were the most significant and largest single investments implemented in many municipalities in the post-WWII period. They were emblematic of modern urban development until criticism of modern housing became widespread and reached Western Germany in the wake of the fundamental socio-critical movements shaking Europe around 1968. This criticism primarily reflected the voice of middle-class academics, who fed it into the media as well as into the architecture and planning discourse, which continues to dominate to these days. We will argue that this criticism stands in the way of recognizing large-scale housing estates as important testimonies of post-WWII history worthy of preservation. In times of tight housing markets, this criticism also enables significant alterations to the estates’ urban fabric as well as densification to generate additional homes without incurring land costs. As a result, we currently risk even the outstanding examples being altered beyond their ability to function as cultural monuments. This paper combines literature, archive material and extensive surveys of large-scale post-WWII housing estates in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region to trace the changing perception of this housing type over time and its implications for the formal listing process. Whilst the current German legislation allows for the best specimens of large-scale post-WWII housing estates to be listed but factors outside the professional field prevents the authorities in charge from doing so. At the same time the benefits of listing would extend beyond the realm of building preservation to include better acceptance within the general public and improved identification for the residents. Two examples from the Rhine-Main Region will exemplify the challenges related to the preservation of large-scale housing estates.</p> Maren Harnack, Natalie Heger Copyright (c) 2023 Maren Harnack, Natalie Heger Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Post-WWII Modernism with a glaze <p>Post World War II European modern housing often exhibited a Corbusian influence, but Le Corbusier was not embraced to the same extent everywhere, as noticed during exchanges between the University of Lisbon and the University of Antwerp in the ambit of the COST-Action 18137 on MCMH. While Belgium has several 1950s social housing projects, strongly indebted in its Unité d’habitation in Marseilles, Portugal does not. There, social housing architecture remained rather conservative, even though Corbusian features manifested themselves in some middle-class mass housing projects, such as the complex on Avenida Estados Unidos da América in Lisbon (1954-1966) designed by Lucínio Cruz, Alberto Ayres de Sousa and Mário Oliveira. While the housing blocks are on pilotis, they also have notable Art-Deco elements. In Belgium, free-standing modernist housing on pilotis with Art-Deco features also appears, such as the housing project at the Jan De Voslei in Antwerp designed by Jos Smolderen (1952-1967). These Modernist/Art-Deco hybrids have never been explored in depth because they are considered not radical enough. However, these cases shed light on how (older) architects mediated between traditional architecture and Modernism, between their own preferences and those of the state or housing company. They illuminate the political, social, and urban context in which these buildings were created. This paper explains why the principles Belgian architects applied to social housing were closer to Lisbon’s middle-class housing than their similar buildings for low-income housing. Based on cross-referencing archival material, legislation, on-site observations, and a study of the political, urban and social context, this paper posits a re-reading of Le Corbusier’s legacy in middle-class housing in Lisbon versus Antwerp.</p> Els De Vos, Selin Geerinckx, Inês Lima Rodrigues, Ana Vaz Milheiro Copyright (c) 2023 Els De Vos, Selin Geerinckx, Inês Lima Rodrigues, Ana Vaz Milheiro Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Middle-Class by Design <p>Middle-class housing in the context of post-independence growth in Israel, where urban growth was guided by the massive construction of new neighborhoods and buildings, produced various types of shared dwellings which became the prevailing types of urban housing. While mass housing is discussed in the context of Israel as a key device of a modernization project on the national scale, with deep consequences for marginalized immigrants and the lower classes – it has rarely been studied as housing typology for the middle classes. Nonetheless, urban growth and national consolidation starting the 1960s led to an emerging urban middle class, whose housing was the product of diverse actors, including urban and national policy, private contractors, neighborhood associations, financial systems, architects, and planners. Yet, as the social category ‘middle class’ is muddled, how can we distinguish mass housing for the middle classes, or middle class housing?</p> <p>This paper examines the architectural features of three middle-class mass housing estates built in Israel in the 1960s. Asking what constitutes the middle class, we point to the capacity of an architectural analysis to identify the designed elements that construct a middle-class identity within the context of shared urban dwellings. The three cases briefly examined include the Be’eri estate in Tel Aviv, Kiron estate in Kiryat Ono, and Shchuna Bet in Beer Sheba. The three estates, developed in the 1960s by commercial and semi-commercial companies explicitly for the emerging urban middle class, employ New Brutalist architectural and urban design principles in mitigating community and individuals, public and private, identity and property.</p> Yael Allweil, Inabl Ben-Asher Gitler Copyright (c) 2023 Yael Allweil, Inabl Ben-Asher Gitler Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Middle-Class Housing Development in Thessaloniki, Greece <p>Middle-class housing in Greece developed rapidly after World War II (WWII). Across all Greek cities a multi-story building type, so-called “polykatoikia” emerged because before the war, in 1929, a social and legal contract was constituted, according to which each apartment could be owned by “micro-owners”. The applied General and Special Building Regulations envisioned a homogeneous city volume composed of these polykatoikias. On the other hand, the new ownership model invited a heterogeneous middle-class population to buy and reside in these apartments, in contrast to the previous homogenous one owner per building model. Thessaloniki developed differently than other cities, starting with homogeneous urban planning and city volume, but heterogeneous architectural styles that would evolve vice versa in the post-WWII era. The contemporary political–social–economic changes modified the city’s development vision and population’s needs related to the polykatoikia. Today, the matured state of the polykatoikias, the expected deterioration of the building stock and its environmental (in)efficiency troubles the micro-owners. The lack of common decision-making strategies to enforce building unity increases the entropy to a dysfunctional level. The paper’s main goal is to investigate whether the polykatoikia model is reaching a breaking point. Will the future of the polykatoikia return to homogeneity by relying on one investor per building and be leading a decrease of polykatoikia’s variety, or are there strategies that lead to the sustainability of the building type and its micro-owners? The research is based on the author’s Ph.D. thesis; recent literature on the topic and in-situ observations both support the objectives.</p> Sotiria Alexiadou Copyright (c) 2023 Sotiria Alexiadou Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 The Ideal Model of Socialist Modernism <div><span lang="EN-US">The paper addresses the Gheorgheni housing estate in Cluj (1964-1969) as a remarkably well-preserved example, representative of a particular phase in the evolution of socialist housing in Romania. It argues, in the context of the present debates on the notion of postwar modernism, that Gheorgheni is a proper modernist example and that this specific period in the history of Romanian socialist housing can be defined as the modernist period. This was a time when the state set up a housing production system adapted to mass scale at the national level, and when the first large housing estates emerged. A young generation of architects working in the newly created regional design institutes eagerly embraced modern architecture, in both its aesthetic and social dimension. Through an analysis based on interviews with architects, photographic archival material, publications of the time, and references to contemporary debates on postwar modernism, the paper identifies the sources that informed the Gheorgheni project and shows how it embodied the model of modernist housing in its "ideal" form – i.e., close to the classical functionalist model of modern architecture and urbanism. It demonstrates the consistency of its modernist project and claims that the coherent urban and architectural design, together with the social mixing of its residents, account for its success over time. Unlike other estates from the same period, it has suffered only minimal later interventions and it is still a desirable residential area today. Eventually, the objective is to make the case for the listing of the estate as a modern architectural and urban heritage monument that deserves preservation, despite the negative undifferentiating perception of postwar housing that persists in Romania today.</span></div> Dana Vais Copyright (c) 2023 Dana Vais Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Utilitarian heritage <p class="Abstract">While modern heritage is often discussed as a critical resource for sustainable urban and social development, the future of such housing is often limited not by technical but rather by cultural, historical, or socio-economic constraints. In cities with a socialist past, mass housing provided individual apartments for a number of Soviet families and tended to create particular spatial qualities. However, with the collapse of the socialist system, attitudes towards such housing began to transform. This paper is a reflection on the range of perceptions of this heritage, attitudes towards it, and difficulties in shaping contextually informed renewal policy approaches. To what extent do traumatic experiences of the past and the rational use of resources in the present mutually influence each other? This article introduces the controversial debate based on the cases of three former socialist countries: Moldova, Armenia, and Uzbekistan. On the one hand, the ubiquity of mass housing in post-socialist countries fostered tolerance for such a typology. On the other hand, large housing estates are a constant reminder of the traumatic experience of the socialist experiment. This essay discusses the present and the future of large residential estates based on reports, policies, media, and collected expert interviews on approaches to working with mass housing areas. Together, the three contributions and joint reflections attempt to add to the debate about the past, present, and future of middle-class mass housing in various social, cultural, and political conditions.</p> Marina Sapunova, Sofia Borushkina Copyright (c) 2023 Marina Sapunova, Sofia Borushkina Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 The In-between Space <p>The territorial systematization in Romania in the second half of the twentieth century has profoundly influenced the morphology of the current urban fabric, due to the pace of construction imposed by the socialist regime and related to politically forced industrialization and urbanization, thus contributing to an urban society sensitive to the subject. This paper addresses the ways in which the public space, resulting from the construction of socialist mass housing, was used, questioning how public space can be (re)gained for today’s communities by understanding the disparity between the original, ordered socialist vision of housing and more informal appropriation patterns. The governmental approach to the urban development of socialist mass housing resulted in the occurrence of interstitial spaces which, having been of low development priority, were reclaimed by the nearby inhabitants, becoming free places for everyone and no one, territories that generated infinite possibilities for appropriation. Even though socialist mass housing developments were (and still are) associated with a sense of constraint, this situation generated the spontaneity with which inhabitants used the public space. In Romania, in the collective memory of generations, the iconic image of the space between the blocks is that of children playing and people socializing between grey buildings. With the fall of the communist regime, the responsibility of maintaining the buildings and the public space in-between was transferred to the new owners by selling the previously state-owned apartments to the population; in Romania, about 96% of homes are now privately owned. At a time when Romanian cities are facing a lack of quality public spaces, the in-between space in the mass housing neighborhoods has become a large parking area. Addressing how the public space can be (re)used must involve a clear understanding of past practices to generate context-sensitive reactions.</p> Romeo Emanuel Cuc Copyright (c) 2023 Romeo Emanuel Cuc Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Improving the Quality of Life and Sustainability for Middle-Class Mass Housing <p style="font-weight: 400;">This article presents and discusses the results of the Stakeholder Workshop (Co) Designing for Quality of Life: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities, which was held at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in October 2022 in the framework of the COST Action CA18137 European Middle Class Mass Housing (MCMH-EU). The workshop aimed to discover the possibilities of participatory design as a tool to address the necessary updating of the housing complexes of the Modern Movement (MoMo). The workshop, which was conducted on a cooperative housing estate, namely Ümitköy Sitesi, Ankara, Türkiye (1970), was carried out in five groups with members of different nationalities, ages, and experiences. This article argues that the public and private strategies which were followed to rehabilitate these complexes by focusing on the technical problems (construction pathologies, energy inefficiency, accessibility, parking, among others) tend to neglect, even ignore, the diverse social aspects involved. As a group of participants of this workshop, the authors of this article consider the involvement of all parties (experts, residents, housing management cooperative, and municipality) in the improvement processes of such middle-class mass housing sites as the key instrument to make these neighborhoods more inclusive and sustainable. This article evaluates the Stakeholder Workshop’s co-design performance as an instrument to improve the Quality of life (QoL) and sustainability of the neighborhood. The critical analysis of the workshop results leads to several significant conclusions: Social aspirations do not always coincide with political and technical ones; technical rehabilitations are not sufficient for the total improvement of QoL and sustainability of communities; (Co-)Design may have to be approached from different perspectives and, consequently, have different results; citizens have a great potential to participate and contribute to the improvement of QoL with innovative ideas and actions of different scales. However, the socioeconomic diversity of the inhabitants and restrictive legislation are the difficulties to be considered.</p> MUGE AKKAR ERCAN, CLAUS BECH-DANIELSEN, HASSAN ESTAJI, ROBERTO GOYCOOLEA-PRADO, BERNARD HAUMONT, BYRON IOANNOU, LORA NICOLAOU, PAZ NUÑEZ-MARTÍ, SANJIN SUBIC Copyright (c) 2023 MUGE AKKAR ERCAN, CLAUS BECH-DANIELSEN, HASSAN ESTAJI, ROBERTO GOYCOOLEA-PRADO, BERNARD HAUMONT, BYRON IOANNOU, LORA NICOLAOU, PAZ NUÑEZ-MARTÍ, SANJIN SUBIC Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Evaluation & Criticism <p>The COST-Action (CA 18137) on Middle Class Mass Housing in Europe (MCMH-EU) has established a transnational scientific network to document the productions of middle-class mass housing built in Europe since the 1950s in order to investigate this specific topic and share knowledge. Considering that middle-class mass housing dominates most of our cities, the research translates into the study of the extensive development of cities in Europe after World War II. The breadth of the theme and the differences between the countries make it difficult to construct a systematic and unified criticism of middle-class mass housing, albeit concentrating on the post-war period. The COST-Action has the goal to build a network to gather research representing the pooled knowledge and experiences from the network of multidisciplinary researchers. So, transversally throughout the Working Groups, an inventory of case studies, a collection of articles, and studies on the policies were produced. This paper elaborates on the collected and produced material and data in order to trigger comparisons and reflections on the approaches and methodologies to face the complexity of middle-class mass housing topic. The comparison was built by using different methods intersecting multiple points of view and following specific thematic tracks that seek to deconstruct the complexity of the middle-class mass housing topic into singular aspects. This paper presents the results of data analyses, visualisation techniques and comparative studies to identify massification processes, morphological structures, demographic and policy developments. It shows a combination of several methods to build a cross-sectional and systematic approach to the diverse knowledge envisioned to develop a methodology for future research. This can be especially useful for future developments and insights towards joint or individual European guidelines, laws and policies to improve the dilapidated housing stock, current housing situation and to compete the housing crisis in general.</p> Ahmed Benbernou, Alessandra Como, Olga Harea , Uta Pottgiesser, Kritika Singhal, Luisa Smeragliuolo Perrotta Copyright (c) 2023 Ahmed Benbernou, Alessandra Como, Olga Harea , Uta Pottgiesser, Kritika Singhal, Luisa Smeragliuolo Perrotta Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Towards a Housing Preservation Culture <p>After the two 2022-issues of the Docomomo Journal, number 66 on ‘Modern Plastic Heritage’ and number 67 on ‘Multiple Modernisms in Ukraine,’ this issue reveals another chapter of an often and diversely described theme of Modern Movement and a pressing subject worldwide: Housing.</p> Uta Pottgiesser, Wido Quist Copyright (c) 2023 Uta Pottgiesser, Wido Quist Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Middle-class Housing as a Cross-cultural and Multi-disciplinary Project <p>The history of the modernization processes of post-WWII European cities could be observed through the lens of the emerging middle classes between the 1950s and the 1970s when housing significantly contributed to establishing and defining new social identities. Middle classes were the main protagonists of the rapid urban development and massive expansion that profoundly influenced the production of new estates, neighborhoods, and urban sectors, leaving relevant traces on the contemporary built environment of the European cities. In a sense, Europe, in its various civic configurations and cultural representations, became the symbol of progress and prosperity for the middle classes, an international formation restored and restructured by the middle classes which was meant to serve and protect according to a new post-war social contract.</p> Gaia Caramellino, Kostas Tsiambaos, Ana Vaz Milheiro Copyright (c) 2023 Gaia Caramellino, Kostas Tsiambaos, Ana Vaz Milheiro Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Housing for the Elderly <p>The banking family Emma and Henry Budge established their foundation in Frankfurt, Germany, as a civic initiative, aiming to build a contemporary, modern residential home for the elderly. Under the direction of Ernst May, appointed as city architect in 1925, the City of Frankfurt announced a unique competition in 1928 as part of its program Das neue Frankfurt: A retirement home for Jewish and Christian residents, primarily for people of the “educated middle class”. Architects Mart Stam, Werner Moser, and Ferdinand Kramer, members of the planning team Das neue Franfurt, won this competition with their innovative contribution. From 1928 to 1930, they realized a type of housing for the elderly that was exemplary for its time and for later retirement homes.<br />Via Mart Stam, this project flowed into the teaching of the Bauhaus construction department in 1928-1929. On behalf of Mart Stam, Ella Bergmann-Michel produced the famous documentary film about the home Where do Old People Live? in 1930-1931.<br />Special quality features of the two-story housing complex with 100 apartments were the interesting typology, the very consistent architectural language, colorfully designed, light-flooded rooms aligned along large common garden courtyards, and common areas as a social and architectural center. Equally remarkable were the iron skeleton construction in the central wing, the bulkhead construction method using prefabricated elements as partition walls between the rooms, and the cost and construction time savings due to the rational construction technology.<br />Under the growing influence of the National Socialists and after the expulsion of Ernst May and his Frankfurt team, the denunciation of the social commitment and a propagandistic denigration of NEUES BAUEN, designing Modern Movement architecture, took place in an infamous way. At the same time, the National Socialists showed the buildings to foreign visitors as their achievement.After the destruction during the war, the building was used as a hospital for the U.S. Army.<br />A very exemplary renovation of the ensemble was carried out in 2001-2002, planned by Dirk Hoppe Architects from Darmstadt, Germany, with the participation of the State Office for the Preservation of Historical Monuments, Dr. Christoph Mohr, the expertise and advice in preserving historical monuments of Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Ruggero Tropeano, Zurich. With minor changes in detail, for example, in the building services and the accessible design of the rooms, the continuity of use as a high-quality retirement home was restored, and this valuable example of modernist architecture was secured. An example of BEST PRACTICE.</p> Alex Dill Copyright (c) 2023 Alex Dill Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200 Books and Reviews Uta Pottgiesser; Wido Quist Copyright (c) 2023 Uta Pottgiesser; Wido Quist Fri, 01 Sep 2023 00:00:00 +0200