Residential architecture and modernity, abstracts
MINNA CHUDOBA (Tampere University, Finland): The tall building and urban space in light of two modernist case studies
If public spaces in the urban environment are seen as extensions of one’s home, then what role do tall buildings play in this scenario? They are visible from afar and often act as landmarks, but at the same time they give one a possibility to seen the urban whole in its entirety, from above. In terms of space, they can be accents that have a role in directing spatial flows, while providing a platform for appreciating open space with a controlling gaze.
One of most famous iconic images of modern architecture – Le Corbusier’s plan for Paris – is mostly shown from just such a vantage point, depicting an urban area dotted by individual buildings set within the homogeneous space of modernism. Modernist theories of space are by no means unanimously uniform, but modernist space is most often described just as homogeneous space. It seems reasonable then, that the concept of heterogeneous space has been used to pave the way for a spatial theory beyond modernist space, but even this concept has been described in relation to the modernist tradition.
This presentation will be revisiting the modernist space present in the texts and drawings of two architects of the early 20th century: Eliel Saarinen and Le Corbusier. The focus will be on the comparison of the role of tall buildings in the cityscape, and the spatial implications of these buildings in the work of the two architects. Modern architects were not unanimous in their use of spatial theory. The concept of heterogeneous space has later offered a more diverse understanding of architectural space, bringing necessary complexity to contemporary interpretations of space, especially in the urban scale.
Keywords: tall buildings, urban space, modern architecture
YUDISHTHIR SHEGOBIN (University of Salford, United Kingdom): The Hidden Ill of Society: Social Exclusion & its Re-percussions on Residents of Hulme Crescents
To better understand ‘social exclusion’, its origins are traced, leading to connections to some of the late work of Foucault and to the agendas of socialist French politicians of the 1980s. The main body of literature reviewed, mostly published post 1991, reveal that social exclusion could be the common denominator of other problems such as poverty, unemployment, lack of access to education or lack of political representation etc. However, the paper focuses on the spatial aspects of social exclusion in order to examine its impact on a housing project in Manchester, which was a beacon of hope to many, but was deemed a disaster as soon as it welcomed residents.
The Hulme Crescents, four brutalist concrete tower blocks to house thirteen thousand residents, were erected on land earmarked as slums by the authorities in the 1960s. While the aim of the architects of the project, Lewis and Womersley, was to reminisce middle-class living of Bath and Bloomsbury of the 18th Century, in Manchester it faltered. Soon the Crescents showed sign of decay and gained notoriety for having alarming statistics (unemployment etc.). They were demolished after only two decades.
Primary and secondary sources of data held by the Manchester Central Library, entitled ‘Hulme Study’, were accessed to gain a better picture of the daily struggles of the residents. A report on Hulme by Urbed, a Manchester-based urban/architecture practice, was also investigated.
Keywords: social exclusion, housing, architecture, brutalism, modernism
RYTIS BUDAVIČIUS (University of Salford, United Kingdom): The Rise of Modernism in Britain: Silver End Housing Estate
The research for the proposed paper was developed from my 2018 BSc (Hons) dissertation in Architecture. The paper focuses on the rise of modernist British housing in 1930s and focuses on Silver End in Essex; a housing estate for workers at the Crittall Windows Company. This housing development began in 1927 and was one of the first approaches towards early modernism in England. Silver End was initiated by the philanthropic Crittall family and was based on Garden City ideas. Walter Crittall wanted to provide workers with dwellings that satisfied new approach to healthy living and suited changing concept of the 20th century community.
Considering how quickly Modernism was developing in Europe and the USA, it is fair to say that the architects of Silver End – Thomas Tait (1882 – 1954) and Frederick MacManus (1903 – 1985) were inspired by modernist ideas. Comparable modernist floor plans, construction methods and aesthetics of that were applied at Silver End could also be found in the USA, Germany, France and the Netherlands.
This paper discusses the influence of early modernist European and American housing developments (i.e. Törten Housing Estate, by Walter Gropius; Hook of Holland by J. J. Oud) on the Crittall workers village. Inspired by modernist ideas, Silver End demonstrated a new approach towards aesthetics, building methods and community lifestyle. It was one of the first developments built using standardised components. Crittall Company workers village subsequently became exemplar of later affordable housing in Britain.
The research in this thesis also suggests the contribution of Crittall Company to the modernist housing movement. After experimenting at Silver End, Crittall Company adapted its windows production to the needs and ideology of modernist housing that later expanded across the Europe and changed the perception of ideal dwellings.
Keywords: Crittall, housing estate, Garden Village, British Modernism, Silver End
HELENA TERÄVÄINEN (Aalto University, Finland): Tapiola – a multiple town experience
Tapiola Garden City has been under constant changes during last ten years. Tapiola was built to be an ideal city of the modernism by different operators and designed by the most eminent Finnish architects in 50 – 60s. Parts of the core area is protected as cultural heritage in the town plan, but with the metro line came an era of huge demolitions and high-rise buildings around metro station, obviously very reasonable thinking: the western metro line is shaping Espoo as a city with multiple commercial centers.
How are the inhabitants accepting the changes in the town scape and their environment? How comfortable has living been in Tapiola during the powerful re-constructing time? The removal of the blocks from 80s doesn’t seem to rouse hot debates but now the beautiful swimming hall is in danger, and discussions are going on both in residential events and in social media.
This paper is investigating the space (following Lefebvre 1991) which is theorized in three different but related types of spaces: the conceived (Imagined), the perceived (measured) and the lived (experienced). Researchers and planners are working with representations of space, which usually are intangible and but established in the principles, beliefs and visions of experts and decision makers at the time. The next is the perceived space where movements and interactions take place and where individual and urban realities linked with work and leisure take place. The third one is lived space, which is explained as the unconscious, non-verbal relation between people and space, associated with images and symbol. Is the lived space (as suggested by Salama and Wiedmann 2013) the most subjective and powerful space, or can the representations of “the iconic and original Tapiola” be stronger ?
The research has its data arising from the ongoing public discussions and interviews of inhabitants, as well as author’s subjective experiences living and using Tapiola indifferent periods.
Keywords: cultural heritage, town planning, space, experience, Lefebvre, Tapiola