CIAM 4 and the “Unanimous” Origins of Modernist Urban Planning

Courtesy of THOTH Publishers

Held in 1933 on a ship in the Mediterranian, the fourth CIAM congress and ’s subsequent Athens Charter (La Charte d’Athenes) are widely regarded as a defining period in Modernist urban planning, a moment when architects came to an agreement on what the future of our cities should look like. But how correct is this interpretation? Edited by Evelien van Es, Gregor Harbusch, Bruno Maurer, Muriel Perez, Kees Somer and Daniel Weiss, a significant new 480-page book, “Atlas of the Functional City - CIAM 4 and Comparative Urban Analysis” examines the congress in depth. In the following excerpt from the book’s introduction, Daniel Weiss, Gregor Harbusch and Bruno Maurer examine the commonly accepted history of the congress, finding that support for the underlying principles of was perhaps not so unanimous after all.

Proposed Demolition of Josep Lluis Sert’s King School Cambridge

Courtesy of Max Moore

At a time when sustainability is high on the agenda and construction costs continue to soar, many residents are questioning a proposal to demolish a sound and respected school building to replace it with a new school one that will strive to be a “green facility”. The Martin Luther King Elementary School (1968-1971) was designed by Catalan architect Josep Lluis Sert (Sert, Jackson and Associate). As it stands today, the school compliments the many other buildings in Cambridge that Sert worked on while also teaching at Harvard University, including the Peabody Terrace Graduate Housing complex just across the street.

Read on to find out what the community is doing to save the building from demolition and why it can prove to be a more sustainable option for the city.

Architecture City Guide: Barcelona

This week, with the help of our readers, our Architecture City Guide is headed to . We recently featured an engaging video where Wiel Arets half jokingly said is fantastic but boring. He continued to say as soon as Sagrada Família is finished is done; there is nothing left to do there (10:50). Arets can say what he wants about Barcelona supposedly being boring, but our city guide doesn’t reflect this. Barcelona is filled with fantastically expressive architecture that springs from its proud Catalan culture. It was impossible to feature all our readers suggestions in the first go around, and we did not even come close to including some of the most iconic building such as Casa Milà. Thus we are looking to add to our list of 24 in the near future. Further more there are so many fabulous buildings on the drawing board or under construction, i.e. the projects in the @22 district, we’ll most likely be updating this city guide for quite awhile, regardless of Sagrada Família’s completion.

Take a look at our list with the knowledge it is far complete and add to it in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Barcelona list and corresponding map after the break.

Architecture City Guide: Boston

For this week the Architecture City Guide series headed to the city of Boston including neighboring just across the Charles River Basin. This area has an overwhelmingly large amount of modern architecture in a small radius, and our list reflects just that. What buildings do you want to see added to our Boston list, share them with us in the comment section below.

The Architecture City Guide: Boston list and corresponding map after the break!