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.