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Out now! DASH – Global Housing

Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities

In emerging economies all over the world, massive urbanization leads to an acute need of affordable housing. DASH Global Housing is a special double issue focused on architectural and urban planning models implemented to face this challenge worldwide.DASH explores the tension between the required mass production and solutions tailored to local circumstances. The emphasis is both on the design of the individual dwelling and the city as a whole. What makes a good, compact dwelling? How can new megacities do justice to the existing social and economic structures, to local production methods and the individual wishes of residents?

Experts from the Netherlands and abroad shed light on this global phenomenon. This issue includes articles by Dick van Gameren, Tom Avermaete and Helen Gyger and interviews with Charles Correa and Go West. The plan documentation includes projects by Jaime Lerner in Angola, PK Das in India and Kamran Diba in Iran as well as historical examples from Great Britain and North America, countries that faced similar problems more than a century ago.

 

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Soon featuring in DASH – Global Housing

Shustar New Town

Shushtar New Town, designed by Kamran Diba, is one of the most well-known housing projects in contemporary Iranian architecture. Located close to the ancient city of Shushtar in the southwest of Iran, it follows the traditional urban pattern of Iranian cities with an interwoven urban fabric and (mud)brick as construction material. Construction started in 1976 and most of the first phase, which was planned to function as an autonomous unit and to accommodate about 4,200 inhabitants, was completed in 1978. While Shustar New Town was intended to house 30,000 workers of the Karun Agro Industry, due to the Islamic revolution of 1979 the project was not completely implemented and only another small part of it was constructed between 1980 and 1985…

 

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DASH – Global Housing

Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities

We are still working hard to finalize the last content for the upcoming DOUBLE issue of DASH!
Among others, this issue will feature essays by Helen Gyger (Mediating Informality: The Urban Visions of Peru’s Law 13517), Dick van Gameren & Rohan Varma (Shifting Scales: Affordable Housing in India) and Nelson Mota (To Be Continued…: Housing, Design, and Self-Determination).

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Interview with Tsedale Mamo

Grand Housing Programme, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

In 2004 the Grand Housing Programme (GHP) was introduced in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to reduce the overwhelming housing backlog, estimated at about 300.000 housing units and to replace 50% of the overall dilapidated public rental houses (locally known as Kebele Houses).

For the upcoming Issue of DASH – Global Housing (autumn 2015), Brook Teklehaimanot, from EiABC (Addis Ababa University), interviewed Mrs. Tsedale Mamo about the GHP. Mrs. Mamo was manager at the Addis Ababa Housing Development Project Office for about 5 years and responsible for implementing the Program.

 

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Fria New Town

featuring in the upcoming issue of DASH - Global Housing

DASH is disovering the Archives of Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris for the upcoming issue on Global Housing.
One of the projects which will feature in the Plan Documentation is: Fria New Town in Guinea Conakry (1956-1964) by Michel Ecochard / Guy Lagneau, Michel Weill  & Jean Dimitrijevic / Michel Kalt, Daniel Pouradier-Duteil & Pierre Vignal.

 

 

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Published on Archined: ‘Im welchem Style sollen wir wohnen?’

Article by Jurjen Zeinstra for DASH - Interiors on Display

As well as Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam, the Netherlands as DASH pays attentions to the meaning of the 1:1 model.

1:1 models are enjoying a notable revival, not only in a contemporary form but also in a historical one. Where does this interest come from? To what degree is the 1:1 model – an environment as recognisable as it is alienating – capable of seducing an audience into entering into a relationship with a story or a topic? And which tools does it offer the exhibition curator?

DASH – Interiors on Display published the article ‘Im welchem Style sollen wir wohnen’ from architect Jurjen Zeinstra. Read the full article here on Archined! You can visit the exhibition 1:1 Period Rooms by Andreas Angelidakis in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam until the 6th of April 2015.

 

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Upcoming Issue of DASH

Global Housing - Affordable Dwellings for Growing Cities

An important chapter in the history of Western architecture is the emergence of affordable mass housing at the beginning of the 20th century and in the reconstruction period after the Second World War. Mass Housing became a full architectural and urban problem, with strong political and idealistic dimensions. Some of the projects that emerged in that time, has been given a canonical status – sometimes because of their success, sometimes because of spectacular failure.

The challenge of good, affordable housing for large groups of people is nowadays at least as current as a century ago, though the focus shifted to other areas in the world. In emerging economies in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and South America, the acute need for affordable housing results in a gigantic building production.

The challenges these countries are facing are diverse and inescapable. How to get such a massive operation embodied in the complex field of economic constraints, political decisions, technological feasibility, local needs and idealistic considerations? That an answer to that question is not clear to give is evident: standard solutions with technical and functional deficiencies, that seem to ignore local cultural practices or which have a problematic relationship with the city are widely applied.

DASH 12 explores the tension between the desired mass production and solutions that are tailored to local conditions. How to make new megacities that do justice to the existing social and economic structures, the local production techniques and which take into account individual housing needs? What is the standard and what is the ideal? And what differs the challenge from that of the West a century ago?

DASH 12 contains essays by Tom Avermaete, Nelson Mota, Dirk van den Heuvel, Helen Elizabeth Gyger, Dick van Gameren, Rohan Varma and Charles Correa. The Plan Documentation includes projects from Raj Rewal in India, the Gruzen Partnership in Iran, Constantinos Doxiadis in Ghana and Hassan Fathy in Egypt.

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DASH #11 – Interiors on Display

The home interior is a measure of time. It envelops and reveals the home, the private sphere; it explains how we deal with the past, as well as with the things that surround us. It shows how the complex world around us forms part of our lives. A history of the home interior can also be read as a historiography of everyday life, which is more and more in the grip of technology, as well as about changing attitudes towards family relationships, privacy and publicity, consumption and information. Although the interior of a home can be very personal, in the past century this meant that the interior has been a theme par excellence that architects use to reflect on modern dwelling, and a tool for unfolding future visions about dwelling and everyday life. Dwelling, after all, is very close to the skin, and the home is also an accessible tool for drawing attention to the future.

This issue of DASH examines the interior as a tool for depicting architectural visions by publishing 15 exhibited interiors from the last century – interiors that were not intended to be lived in, but that instead had an artistic, educational or commercial purpose; in many of these cases, the drawings were also reconstructed. This documentation includes plans by Peter Behrens, H.P. Berlage, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Joe Columbo, Ugo La Pietra, Kengo Kuma and Hella Jongerius. These projects have been framed by essays written by Irene Cieraad, Fredie Floré and Rika Devos, Peter Lang, Hans Teerds and Jurjen Zeinstra, in which the period rooms are placed in their specific era, the influence of IKEA is examined and the relationship between the public and private is investigated. In an interview with Louise Schouwenberg of the Design Academy in Eindhoven, the relationship between the interior and the things that we surround ourselves with is discussed in the light of a vision for the future of dwelling.

CONTENT

Editorial Dash #11

The cover of this issue of DASH shows a home interior that was exhibited in Berlin in 1952, at the exhibition ‘Wir bauen ein besseres Leben’ / ‘We’re Building a Better Life’. In this model interior, which was designed like a brilliant white laboratory, American actors showed the audience that had flocked to Berlin how you were supposed to live in this kind of house. An expert in a white coat, who towered above the drab audience, was on hand to explain the house, and what the actors were doing.

Like no other picture, this photograph shows how the housing interior has been seized upon in the modern era as a tool in emancipatory and political processes (from both the outside in and from the inside out) that have dramatically changed the dwelling landscape. With the rise of mass housing in the previous century, dwelling undeniably became an architectural task, and the interior has played an important role in this process.

Yet one can also ask whether the home interior can indeed be seen as an architectural project. After all, within the four walls of one’s own house, the resident will go his own way, unseen and undisturbed, with the walls separating the private from the public. The house is furnished and customized to one’s own needs, and is decorated with the paraphernalia of everyday life and the memories of the past. Despite this personal dimension, history has shown that the home interior has also always been linked to representation, and that makes it by definition an architectural assignment: just think of the interiors of large houses and noble palaces. The rise of mass housing over the past 100 years concentrated on dwelling as an architectural task, and that created the space for the home interior to also be an architectural assignment, one that has since overtaken the noble elite and the decorative. Nowadays it seems that every interior is considered an ‘architectural’ project, or better yet a ‘design’ project: just take a look at any magazine kiosk to see how dwelling consumers are inundated with information on the latest trends. The interior seems more than ever to have become an instrument by which an individual presents himself to the world, much in the way that fashion is also such an instrument.

For DASH, this focus on the home interior is interesting because (in)explicitly formulated ideas about the interior always play a role, and always have done, in the design of homes; this is true not only in the design of private houses, but also of mass housing. The transfer of these ideas primarily took place, and still takes place, through the interiors themselves, which are publicized by the media (books, magazines, newspapers, television, films, exhibitions, department stores, catalogues, home design blogs). Some of these interiors are specially made to express a specific view about dwelling and architecture. In this issue of DASH, we explicitly focus on these exhibited home interiors, which we call ‘interiors on display’. We examined
15 of these rooms from the last century: interiors that were never inhabited, but that were exhibited at exhibitions and fairs. In most cases, the interiors were broken down, and only live on in the form of drawings and/or photographs. Leading up to this documentation, five essays and an interview offer different perspectives on the idea of the interior as an architectural assignment, as a commercial object and as a tool in creating artistic, avant-garde and cultural reflections on society. This issue of DASH thus presents a small cross section of more than 100 years of dwelling, in the context of the rapidly changing (Western) society, and shows how these developments have been architecturally projected onto the interior.

 

Essays
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Lebensraum

Notes on Hannah Arendt and the Private Realm

In her novel The Fountainhead (1943), American author and philosopher Ayn Rand describes an interior within the first four pages: the student room of her protagonist, architect Howard Roark. This early introduction of an interior is an indication of its importance, in novels as much as in daily life. A previously unfamiliar interior can tell us a great deal about its occupant, and not just the obvious things like the style of furniture he or she has chosen (from IKEA or Milan) or what books are displayed in the bookcase (if there is a bookcase at all). It also reveals something about the life being lived there. And an interior also poses a challenge: it invites the visitor to relate to the occupant, precisely because it is an everyday and in some sense a shared environment, which evokes either recognition or alienation.

Rand uses the interior as a mechanism with which to shed light on her protagonist’s character. The novel opens just after Roark has been suspended from his architecture degree. His landlady is waiting for him in front of her house…

 

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‘In welchem Style sollen wir wohnen?’

Exhibited Interiors in a Debate about Style

In ‘The Exhibitionist House’, Beatriz Colomina highlights how the house has become ‘the most important vehicle for the investigation of architectural ideas in this century’.1The role that what I would call ‘style rooms’ – exhibited house interiors – have played in this process should not be underestimated. These temporary and relatively simple architectural installations are not only able to quickly demonstrate an idea to a large audience, but can also transcend the manifesto, the sales brochure, or the promotional leaflet by evoking an immediate illusion of the interior.

In my article, I want to position several of these style rooms in a debate about style and interiors that up to the present day remains of great importance to architecture and design. These specific interiors played a role in this debate at crucial moments in the first half of the twentieth century. Style, a key architectural concept, forms the foundation of many architectural-theoretical considerations and polemics,2 and is defined in the dictionary somewhat laboriously as the ‘collective characteristics of (…) artistic expression or way of presenting things or decorative methods proper to a person or school or period or subject.’3

Style also plays an important role in the private interior of the home. The personal character of the interior and the relative ease of adapting it to changing needs and tastes mean that it is often difficult to maintain ‘collective characteristics of artistic expression’ in the long term, but style is nonetheless an inescapable issue in the interior of the home. The major changes in society over the past few centuries, such as the rise of the middle class, increasing industrialization, and the development of the free global market, have turned the home, and by extension the interior of the home, into an architectural assignment. Style in this sense is not so important in terms of its art-historical significance, but rather in describing the aesthetic choices of the designer in terms of space, proportions, coverings and comfort, which are indeed eminently architectural concepts.

In the nineteenth century, style was the subject of a lengthy and intense debate among historians and architects.4 In welchem ​​Style sollen wir bauen became the lofty phrase that managed to sum up that debate within the field of architecture, with all of its eclectic freedom, but also the nervous despair that was implied by the question itself.5 The question goes far beyond the choice of this or that historical building style: style represents not only an era and a culture, but also takes on a strong ethical and political meaning as an expression of power, or a projected ideal. In the process, the inherent relativism of the style debate is consistently beset by a desire for a ‘natural’ style that is supposed to express the new era.

The question of whether and how this kind of Überstil should or could arise forms an important breeding ground for the theoretical edifice that architect Gottfried Semper constructed in the middle of the nineteenth century, one that is still important today for reflecting on architecture.6

Notes:

  • Beatriz Colomina, ‘The Exhibitionist House’, in: Richard Koshalek, Elizabeth A.T. Smith and Zeynep Çelik (eds.), At the End of the Century: One Hundred Years of Architecture (Los Angeles: Museum of Contemporary Art, 1998), 126-166. See, for example: OASE, no. 42. (1995).
    H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler (eds.) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Current English (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1964), 1282.
  • Mitchell Schwarzer, German Architectural Theory and the Search for Modern Identity (Cambridge/New York/Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 33-87.
  • Nowhere was the style debate more actively contested than in the German language countries. The title In welchem Style sollen wir bauen appears at least three times: in Heinrich Hübsch in 1828, in August Reichensperger in 1852, and in Albert Hofmann in 1890.
  • Ibid., 331, 332, 336.
  • For a concise version by Semper himself (translated by Harry Francis Mallgrave
    and Wolfgang Herrmann), see: Gottfried Semper, The Four Elements of Architecture and Other Writings (Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 101-129.
  • Udo Garritzmann gives a good summary of the theories of Semper: ‘From the Colour of Dressing to the Dressing in Colour and Back Again’, in: Suzanne Komossa, Kees Rouw and Joost Hillen (eds.), Colour in Contemporary Architecture (Amsterdam: SUN, 2009), 172-196.
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Model Interiors and Model Homes at Expo 58

Exhibited Interiors in a Debate about Style

Model interiors and model homes were a recurring element at the world fairs of the previous century. At Expo 58, the Brussels World Fair of 1958, these forms of presentation were also a common feature. Various participating nations saw the model interior or the model home as a powerful didactic instrument with which to draw attention to the idea of successful post-war reconstruction, a new national identity or a promising future. Model homes offered an accessible formula, instantly recognizable across national borders and extremely suited to the synthesis of industry and culture.1At the same time the model home was a rewarding formula for participants with a more commercial purpose. Within the Belgian Section,2 especially, contributions such as the pavilion of the Buildings and Dwellings group or that of the furniture company Vanderborght provided an overview of what the Belgian market had to offer – or might be offering in the future.3 As well as giving expression to progress, these model homes and interiors often appeared to be referring explicitly to the overall theme of the world fair: ‘A balance sheet for a more humane world.’ A good or comfortably furnished home was a basic need, the social importance of which had been brought into sharp focus since the horrors of the Second World War.4

The model homes and interiors at Expo 58 were extremely wide-ranging, not least because of the diversity of the participating nations and businesses and their different visions of ‘modern’ or ‘better’ living. Besides, by the end of the 1950s the model interior was familiar to the general public, which had become acquainted with the national promotion of ‘new’ and ‘good’ living during the post-war years. Expo 58 gave designers the opportunity to deploy this tried and tested exhibition formula in a range of different, often subtle and innovative ways, stretching from realistic, full-scale models to fictitious or evocative settings in which furniture and other furnishings played a significant role. This article sheds light on the rich palette of model homes and interiors at Expo 58, and reflects on examples that pushed the medium’s boundaries…

Notes:

  • We would like to thank architectural engineers Iris Bauwens and Céline Goessaert for their archival research into the model homes in the German, French and Dutch pavilions. They wrote
    a Master’s thesis about these model homes: Iris Bauwens and Céline Goessaert, Modelwoningen op Expo 58. Drie cases: de Nederlandse, Duitse en Franse paviljoenen (Ghent University, Master’s thesis, 2006). They subsequently published an article based on their thesis: Iris Bauwens and Céline Goessaert, ‘Modelwoningen op Expo 58. Drie cases: de Nederlandse, Duitse en Franse  paviljoenen’, Gentse Bijdragen tot de Interieurgeschiedenis, no. 36 (2009), 87-107.
  • The world fair was divided into different sections based on the nature and origin of the exhibitors. They included a Belgian, Foreign, Colonial, Commercial and Global Section. Inside the pavilions, the exhibition was organized in ‘groups’ encompassing the different aspects of society. Each group was divided into different ‘classes’. With its encyclopaedic approach, Expo 58 fits
    into the nineteenth-century exhibition tradition.
  • Fredie Floré and Mil De Kooning, ‘The Representation of Modern Domesticity in the Belgian Section of the Brussels World’s Fair of 1958’, Journal of Design History, no. 4 (2003), 319-340.
  • Paul Betts and David Crowley, ‘Introduction’, Journal of Contemporary History, no. 2 (2005), 213-236.