Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity
Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: University of Pittsburgh Press
There are many people to thank for their help and support with this project. Kenneth Frampton showed me the many ways that an architect can be a designer—through buildings, words, and texts. His passion for architecture inspired me to be a better scholar and teacher, and for his guidance, support, and patience I will always be grateful. Bradley F. Abrams has been a won-...
Few building types are as vilified as the socialist housing block. Built by the thousands in Eastern Europe in the decades after World War II, the apartment buildings of the planned economy are notorious for problems such as faulty construction methods, lack of space, nonexistent landscaping, long-term maintenance lapses, and general ugliness. The typical narrative of the...
Chapter 1: Phoenix Rising
On the night of July 17, 1945, just two months after Czechoslovakia’s liberation from Nazi occupation, architects gathered in the main hall of the Central Library in Prague for the first public meeting of the newly established Block of Progressive Architectural Associations...
Chapter 2: Typification and Standardization
Immediately after the Communist Party took control of the Czechoslovak government on February 25, 1948, action committees were formed in all professional and educational organizations to purge them of politically undesirable members. As historian John Connelly describes in his book on higher education in postwar Central Europe, within days of the February 25 takeover...
Chapter 3: National in Form, Socialist in Content
Czech and Slovak architects were slow to accept the changing cultural climate of the late 1940s. In the first years of Communist rule, designers were brought into a state-run system of architecture and engineering offices with a mandate to standardize the design and delivery of buildings through the widespread implementation of industrial methods. The architectural...
Chapter 4: A Vision of Socialist Architecture
Jiří Kroha was the most prolific and high-profile architect of the socialist realist period in Czechoslovakia. He is primarily remembered as a left-wing interwar modernist whose buildings can be found in Mladá Boleslav and the villa districts around Brno.1 Many people do not know that the most active period of his career was between 1948 and 1956, when he was a prominent...
Chapter 5: The Industrialization of Housing
At the same time that socialist realism was the public face of Czechoslovakia’s cultural sphere, there was a second, less visible trajectory that moved forward within Stavoprojekt: experimentation with new industrial building technologies and housing prototypes. With the end of the Czechoslovak Building Works in September 1951 and the establishment of Stavoprojekt...
By May 1961, when a twenty-two-member delegation from Britain arrived in Czechoslovakia to view the country’s achievements in architecture and urban planning, it had been more than fifteen years since the establishment of the Block of Progressive Architectural Associations (BAPS) and the creation of a broad coalition of architects who saw their future in collective work.1 There...
Bibliography and Illustration Credits
Page Count: 480
Illustrations: 292 b&w illustrations
Publication Year: 2011
OCLC Number: 794925541
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