Christina E. Crawford
The Birth of Modern Housing: Architecture, politics, and dwelling in the 1920s + ‘30s
The modern definition of housing—social-residential complexes for working people—was formulated, this talk posits, in an intense period of transnational architectural exchange between the two world wars (1918-1939). It was in this time that architects, especially in the Soviet Union, began to critically investigate all activities that occur outside of the workplace. Sleeping, eating, procreating, childrearing, playing, cleaning, shopping, and visiting the doctor were all programs determined to be essential elements of the domestic package that, when considered together, led to the rise of innovative new housing typologies. This talk argues, however, that while the project may have originated in socialist contexts, ultimately the work to formulate solutions to working-class housing cut across political and economic boundaries. From Soviet Baku to New Deal Atlanta, housing types were conceived, shared, debated, adjusted, and improved to meet the demands of a common, modern society.
Image Caption: Prerevolutionary housing foregrounding new socialist housing
Baku, Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic, 1920s
Azerbaijan State Kino-Foto-Fono Archive, NN. 2-135