The Question of Housing, Between Crisis and Opportunity. The Case of CIAM VI

by

Maria Tassopoulou

Keywords

  • CIAM
  • Bridgewater
  • housing crisis
  • postwar Modernism
  • Covid-19 housing challenges

The Covid-19 crisis and the “stay at home” policies brought once more to the fore the housing issue. Given the fact that crises usually accelerate changes in affected fields, it is expected that the pandemic experience will influence the perceived ideas of housing, too. To contribute to the discussion ahead, this paper offers historical insight to relevant periods of crisis, focusing on the way architects responded to new needs and conditions, formed coalitions and groups, and managed or failed to provide answers. The paper focuses on CIAM, as the most influential architectural organization of the past century, and uses the first postwar congress and CIAM’s sixth meeting as a case study. Combining primary archival material from the CIAM records, the article presents the evolution of the statutes of the Congresses, focusing especially on the changes occurring with the opening of the avant-garde structure and the entry of new people that shared common goals but had different backgrounds and altered ideas. The preparatory procedures, the unpublished reports of the commissions, the relevant correspondence, and the published statements come under scrutiny, thus promoting a critical reading of postwar Modernism, with a view to the current state of rethinking architecture’s field of research and again inviting the architectural profession at the core of housing research.