Conference: Architecture At Work, September 14 to 16, 2022
The last decade saw a rapid influx of histories on architectural production and urban development in the postwar state socialist world. Researchers have documented how city-planning and mass housing programmes in individual countries helped to forge diverse and often competing projects of socialist modernity. Others expanded their scope beyond Eastern Europe and argued, within the broader geopolitical contexts of the Cold War and decolonisation, that mobilities of architectural expertise, technology, and resources mediated the expansion of the state socialist interests in the Global South. Meanwhile one crucial area remains largely under-researched: the ways of organisation and management of architectural production and labour within the socialist world – the institutional structures, hierarchies and networks, paths of interaction of architectural science, research, planning, design and construction in and between the socialist countries, as well as their relationships with power brokers.
The workshop aims to survey existing and emerging scholarship on institutional organisation, governance, and development of state socialist planning, design and construction. We are interested in reconstructing various institutions comprising the socialist world’s building cultures. We invite participants to discuss the institutional connections and interactions between the architectural profession and the governing structures at different levels: from municipalities and republics, to the state and inter-state level. Modi of architectural production beyond or subversive to the established hierarchies, or taking place in liminal spaces of official institutional landscapes are also of particular interest.