Contested Legacies

Critical Perspectives on Postwar Modern Housing

Edited by Andrea Migotto and Martino Tattara

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New insights on the controversial and often-overlooked postwar large-scale housing estates.

In the light of the current housing and environmental crisis and increasing social inequalities, there is a growing sense of urgency for architecture as a discipline to engage with the transformation in housing evident in the postwar period. Rather than conceiving this task as a technical matter, this book proposes to reassess the conditions and legacy of this large and ubiquitous housing stock. By foregrounding the mismatch between constructed cultural, social and ideological narratives and the everyday realities of residents, the contributors rediscover some of the tropes of modern housing, such as the impact of technological innovations or the often overlooked character of open spaces, and unveil the intellectual and practical tools that paved the way for this large-scale construction.

Contested Legacies advances a new notion of heritage which, rather than seeking to preserve the past, sets outs to actively transform what exists to meet current societal needs. It offers an ‘atlas’ of exemplary cases, each illustrating a defining yet often neglected aspect of modern postwar housing, from which present engagement and active reflection can grow, making the book an appealing read for both scholars and housing practitioners worldwide.

Contributors: Umberto Bonomo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile), Flávia Brito do Nascimento (Universidade de São Paulo), Gaia Caramellino (Politecnico di Milano), Federico Coricelli (Politecnico di Torino), Jesse Honsa (KU Leuven), Heidi Svenningsen Kajita (University of Copenhagen), Michael Klein (TU Wien), Andrea Migotto (KU Leuven), Nicola Russi (Politecnico di Torino), Martino Tattara (KU Leuven)

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

INTRODUCTION. THE PAST AND FUTURE OF POSTWAR HOUSING ESTATES: FACTS, HERITAGE, PROJECT
Andrea Migotto and Martino Tattara

PART 1. THE MODERN HOUSING PROJECT IS A SOCIAL PROJECT: A CRITICAL READING

CHAPTER 1. SOCIAL HOUSING AND THE REGIMES OF TIME: A FEW MOMENTS WITHIN THE LONG LINES OF (SOCIAL) HOUSING IN VIENNA AND AUSTRIA
Michael Klein

CHAPTER 2. TOO BIG? DEBUNKING SCALE MYTHS WITH THE LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL ARCHITECT’S DEPARTMENT
Jesse Honsa

CHAPTER 3. A SOCIAL CRITIQUE OF THE LARGE-SCALE MODERN HOUSING PROJECT
Martino Tattara

PART 2. INTERPRETATIONS OF THE ‘UNBUILT’ SPACE: FORMS, CATEGORIES, AND TERMS

CHAPTER 4. BELOW THE SHADOWS
Federico Coricelli and Nicola Russi

CHAPTER 5. THE COMMON SPACE PROJECT: THE CASE OF LATIN AMERICAN NEIGHBOURHOOD UNITS
Umberto Bonomo

PART 3. AGENTS MEAN HISTORIES: ACCOUNTING FOR MULTIPLE EXPERIENCES AND AGENCIES IN POSTWAR HOUSING ESTATES

CHAPTER 6. LIVING TOGETHER: (THE MULTIPLE) ‘STORIES’ OF AN ORDINARY HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN POST-WWII TURIN
Gaia Caramellino

CHAPTER 7. GOSSIP AND COMPLAINT: WAYS OF (RE-)PRODUCING THE SOCIAL IN HOUSING ‘EXPERTLY’
Heidi Svenningsen Kajita

PART 4. CULTURES OF TRANSFORMATION

CHAPTER 8. HOUSING COMPLEXES IN BRAZIL: A MODERNIST HERITAGE
Flávia Brito do Nascimento

CHAPTER 9. MODERNISM IS DEAD, LONG LIVE MODERNITY: THE BIJLMER AND THE PROJECT OF ‘INCOMPLETENESS’
Andrea Migotto

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Format: Edited volume - paperback

Size: 234 × 156 × 14 mm

232 pages

Illustrated with colour section of 30 pp.

ISBN: 9789462703728

Publication: December 18, 2023

Languages: English

Stock item number: 158131

Andrea Migotto is an architect and researcher based in Brussels. He completed his PhD at the Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven in 2023.
Martino Tattara is an associate professor at the Faculty of Architecture of KU Leuven and cofounder of the architectural office Dogma.
This wide-ranging book takes the study of postwar ‘welfare state’ mass housing to a completely new level – no longer content merely to plead the intrinsic interest or variety of an unfashionable subject, or just to factually document it. Instead, Contested Legacies presents a vital, critical analysis of how this vast patrimony can now be transformed to face the future, both as a massive resource of homes and of embodied carbon, but also as a potent cultural and social heritage. In the process, the book ideologically harnesses and energises the sheer vastness, idealistic ambition, and diverse inhabitant experiences of postwar mass housing in a wide variety of European and South American countries, so as to present a head-on challenge to today’s practices of neoliberalism.
Miles Glendinning, University of Edinburgh
 
The line of reasoning in Contested Legacies is intriguing and novel. The focus on the transformation of postwar housing over time suggests a new orientation within architectural research that is productive not just for the architectural field but for society at large. In terms of social and material sustainability, researching the transformations of large-scale postwar housing is increasingly urgent, and this book contributes to a growing field of architectural research critically assessing the heritage of the recent past.
Thordis Arrhenius, KTH Royal Institute of Technology