CfP: To Rebuild And Modernize. From architecture to the region in post-war European programs of the Reconstruction. Milan, 22 June 2018

Call for Papers: To Rebuild And Modernize. From architecture to the region in post-war European programs of the Reconstruction. Milan, 22 June 2018

International seminar, Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies

After the Second World War, the launching of projects for social and economic modernization was the – more or less clear – goal of many reconstruction programs. These projects tended to deal with different scales of intervention (from the single family units to the regional plans), for example intervening on the territorial reorganization and on the planning of public and private spaces. Resulting from the emergency of the immediate post-war period – as the program UNRRA-CASAS [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration – Comitato Amministrativo Soccorso Ai Senzatetto] in Italy – many of these long-lasting programs persist through the first Reconstruction and are integrated in the political process of the Cold War.
The aim of the seminar is to map these experiences, outlining the complexity of a framework which is going beyond the manifesto cases of the recurrent narratives. Reference geographies and chronologies will be discussed, analyzing the projects in their local and transnational aspects, as well as in their spatial and temporal limits.
Expected papers should investigate:

  • The target area of the analyzed case-studies: which are its – explicit or implicit – physical and conceptual boundaries? Which are its roots and references? Which disciplines are involved in the definition of the project, in relation to its aims and scale?
  • Which visions of modernity are conveyed and pursued by the projects, in relation to the different scales?
  • Continuities and discontinuities between the Second World War and the post-war period, with a focus on the impact on the involved actors, on the reference models at the different scales (architectural, settlements, territorial, …), on the conveyed visions and on the perception of changes. How did the Cold War, with its dynamics, change this framework?
  • The actors involved: architects and planners but also technicians and legislators, as practitioners but also as spokesmen of institutions and associations, promoting projects with different expectations and backgrounds. Many of these actors were already active in the pre-war period and during the conflict. Which discourses were they bearers of? In the different seasons, which is the field of comparison/proposal/conflict between the different generations?
  • The circulation and hybridization of models and practices resulting from the international disciplinary, cultural and political debate: which channels –beyond the ones traditionally explored by transnational studies (as travels, journals, institutions and associations, occasions and programs of reorganization of the intellectual and professional work) – can be defined thanks to the study of these projects?
  • If and how these projects became occasions for renovation and finalization of tools and languages that contributed to disciplinary regeneration and professional updating. How did they collect the solicitations of the war? How did the disciplinary and technical culture – transformed and fertilized by the conflict – participate in the definition and following transformations of these projects and how did it interact with the transformed political climate of the Cold War?
  • If and how these projects became, in turn, reference models in other geographical and cultural contexts.
  • The timeframe of these projects, in relation to the general chronologies they cross. Could we identify specific thresholds – to be critically framed – to discuss the models, practices and actors conveyed by the projects?

The seminar builds on a series of considerations matured in several international seminars, among which: “Mapping the neighborhood. The multiple ways of an urban vision in the 20th century” (Politecnico di Milano, June 2015), “Reinterpreting cities” (European Urban History Association, Helsinki, August 2016), “Cold War Geographies” (Eccles Centre for American Studies – The British Library, London, January 2017),“Cold War at the Crossroads: 194X-198X. Architecture and planning between politics and ideology” (Politecnico di Milano, June 2017), “Architecture and its Actors in Postwar Society: Practice, Public, Ethos” (Architecture Museum and the Munich Technical University, June 2017) and “The idea of decentralization and regional planning, in the 20th Century” (ENSA Grenoble, November 2017).
Proposals from specialists in the fields of history of architecture and planning, urban history, architecture, planning, sociology are welcome. Abstracts in English between 300 and 500 words together with a reference image and a one-page CV – including name, contact information, affiliation and a list of selected publications – must be sent by 29 April 2018 to .
Notification of acceptance will be sent to authors by 6 May 2018. Accepted authors will be asked a 2000 words paper by 27 May 2018.
Updates and details about the organization of the seminar will be released through the seminar website.
For any question, please contact .
There is no registration fee. Unfortunately, the organization cannot cover travel expenses.
Organizers: Patrizia Bonifazio and Nicole De Togni
Scientific Committee: Tom Avermaete, Patrizia Bonifazio, Gaia Caramellino, Kenny Cupers, Alessandro De Magistris, Nicole De Togni, Hartmut Frank, Paolo Scrivano.

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