Re-humanizing Architecture: New forms of community 1950–70

Call for Papers.  Conference held at the ETH Zurich, 16/17 May 2014
Institute gta, Theory of Architecture, Prof. Dr. Ákos Moravánszky
Since the end of World War II, Europe has undergone several phases of building and re-building under the influence of different political systems and, connected to these systems, different ideas concerning the built environment and its production. State-socialist countries and capitalist welfare states alike enlisted architecture and urbanism in the organization of new social and economic environments not only to meet basic needs, but to establish new forms of community and cultural identity. While the two systems initially embraced ideological and aesthetic difference, discourses that emphasized the functional and rational aspects of modern architecture became characteristic for economic recovery on both sides since the late 1950s. Nevertheless, across Europe protagonists such as Team X urged for a re-establishment of traditional and regional patterns in order to “humanize” environmental design. They proposed new forms of community, criticizing functionalist principles of urbanism as propagated by the CIAM.
The aim of the symposium is to analyze proposals to re-humanize architecture by placing them in the context of intellectual debates around New Humanism, aesthetic concepts such as (Socialist) Realism and philosophical currents like Existentialism. We seek to re-assess the role of alternative discourses and spatial concepts about the forms of community in post-war modernization processes. We welcome contributions that

– trace representations of the new society, public space and interferences between art and architecture,

– study spatial strategies of community building in urban and rural situations as well as in the contexts of work and leisure

– investigate concepts such as the neighborhood or micro-rayon and compare integral models for living, working and leisure in both parts of Europe.

The conference is part of the research project East West Central. Rebuilding Europe 1950–1990, which seeks to unite novel approaches and current investigations of developments in architecture, urbanism, and associated disciplines in the countries that were separated during the Cold War. Within this framework we intend to bring together established and young international scholars from different disciplines.
We encourage the use of comparative methods to produce qualified, relational, and contextual accounts of discourses in architecture and urbanism, of competition and cooperation, mutual influences or alternative paths across European countries. This may take the form of investigating (to name a few):

-related concepts of architecture and urbanism in Eastern and Western countries.

-competing paths or developments within a single country or among a network of actors.

-the implementation of similar concepts in different geographical or social contexts.

Please send an abstract of up to 300 words and a brief biography (max. 150 words) to:
Abstracts can be submitted until Friday, November 1st, 2013. The selected participants will be informed by Monday, December 2nd, 2013. Full papers due: March 15th, 2014.  A limited number of travel allowances might be available for successful applicants.
For more details and updates please visit:
Prof. Dr. Ákos Moravánszky (chair)
Judith Hopfengärtner (coordinator)

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