Between Conventional and Experimental

Mass Housing and Prefabrication in Modernist Architecture

Edited by Regine Hess, Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler, Tzafrir Fainholtz, and Yael Allweil

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How conventional and experimental prototypes and series created an architecture for all.

Mass housing and prefabrication shaped global modernist architecture like no other aspect of industrialised construction. This book offers a comprehensive exploration of how both conventional and experimental prototypes and series gave rise to an architecture for all, often responding to crises, the imperatives of nation-building, and housing shortages by rapidly developing, distributing, and assembling structures.

The book’s contributions, with a geographical emphasis on Europe and Israel, offer innovative approaches to the history of prefabrication. Some explore partially unearthed empirical ground, such as cases from Finland and Sweden, while others offer a fresh interpretation of prefabrication’s role in the history of global architecture and planning after WWII, notably in the USSR and Italy. The chapters encompass a broad spectrum of topics, including colonial expansion, international collaboration, and the achievements and setbacks of industrialised design. The authors scrutinise the cultural impact of mass housing and prefabrication, tracing this influence through exhibitions, memory culture, and typologies, ultimately concluding with an outlook on the preservation and repair of structures and their adaptation for the future.

Within the broader context of transnational and regional research, Between Conventional and Experimental presents novel and forward-thinking approaches to prefabrication and mass housing. Drawing from transnational architectural history, construction history, housing studies, monument preservation, and exhibition studies, it effectively highlights the profound relevance of prefabrication history to our understanding of the cultural and material history of the built environment.

Contributors: Mia Åkerfelt (Åbo Akademi University, Turku), Yael Allweil (Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Inbal Ben Asher-Gitler (Sapir Academic College, Ashkelon/ Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Scheva), Angelo Bertolazzi (University of Padua), Tamara Bjažić Klarin (University of Zagreb), Tzafrir Fainholtz (Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Alberto Franchini (Technical University Munich/Polytechnic University of Milan), Ilaria Giannetti (Sapienza, University of Rome), Regine Hess (ETH Zurich), Silke Langenberg (ETH Zurich), Daphna Levine (Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Stefania Mornati (Sapienza, University of Rome), Uta Pottgiesser (TU Delft), Maryia Rusak (Oslo School of Architecture and Design), Liat Savin Ben Shoshan (Technion Israel Institute of Technology), Maria Tassopoulou (Technical University of Athens), Anna Wilczyńska (Estonian University of Life Sciences/ Warsaw University of Life Sciences).

Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

320 pages

Illustrated, full colour

ISBN: 9789462704046

Publication: September 10, 2024

Languages: English

Inbal Ben-Asher Gitler is a senior lecturer at Sapir Academic College and head of the Visual Culture Section in its Department of Communication. She is a teaching fellow at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Regine Hess is a senior researcher in architecture history and preservation at ETH Zürich and a member of the editorial board of kritische berichte. Journal for Art and Cultural Studies.
Tzafrir Fainholtz is a researcher and visiting lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology of Åbo Akademi University, Turku, and a teaching fellow at the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology.
Yael Allweil is an associate professor in the Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, where she heads HousingLab: History and Future of Living research group. She is a member of Israel Young Academy.

This is an up-to-date book on a challenging subject. It presents innovative ideas on the conservation and reuse of prefabrication in architecture. - Ana Tostões, University of Lisbon