In the course of the Cold War, architects, planners, and construction companies from socialist Eastern Europe engaged in a vibrant collaboration with those in West Africa and the Middle East in order to bring modernization to the developing world. Architecture in Global Socialism shows how their collaboration reshaped five cities in the Global South: Accra, Lagos, Baghdad, Abu Dhabi, and Kuwait City.
Łukasz Stanek describes how local authorities and professionals in these cities drew on Soviet prefabrication systems, Hungarian and Polish planning methods, Yugoslav and Bulgarian construction materials, Romanian and East German standard designs, and manual laborers from across Eastern Europe.
When we get wrapped up in everyday life, it can be easy to take the place we live for granted. In the MiniLook Berlin video, Okapi Creative Studio takes a step back to show the beauty of daily life in the city of Berlin via a stop-motion, tilt-shift technique that makes the city appear as if in miniature. The video highlights everyday street scenes and picturesque shots of nature, while some famous buildings make appearances as well.
Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen is perhaps best known for pioneering the design of the American mall typology. His visions for these spaces sought to incorporate various aspects of the city into a single enclosed or indoor space, with a particular focus on consumption and commercial activity. His sprawling designs functioned as the perfect complement to America’s burgeoning leisure-driven consumer culture as a booming economy and an increase in car travel reinforced the possibilities of this new postwar way of life. Perhaps lesser-known, however, is Gruen’s commission from the Iranian government to design an urban plan for the city of Tehran in the late 1960s.
As the anniversary of the disaster and its fallout passes, we have explored the past, present, and future of the architecture of Chernobyl, charting the journey of a landscape which has burned and smoldered, but may yet rise from the ashes.
The 2017 Visiting School to Chile aims at studying from architectural, urban, and territorial perspectives, a series of infrastructures that since the 1960s have been installed in Rapa Nui (Easter Island) because of its extraordinary strategic location in the South Pacific Ocean. These include satellite tracking equipment, seismology and GPS tools, and radio-nuclear detection instruments that came to define global technological projects in the island. In particular, the workshop will focus its attention in the Mataveri Airport which – being the remotest runway in the world – was paved in the 1960s by the United States for the installation of a (currently abandoned) strategic base and extended again by NASA in the 1980s to become emergency landing for space shuttles. The island, in opposition to usual associations to isolation, was instead expedient for the setting of larger technological networks.
On April 26th 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the city of Pripyat in northern Ukraine suffered a catastrophic failure, resulting in a nuclear meltdown and a series of explosions which scattered radioactive material across large areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia. More than 50,000 people were evacuated the following day, and over the next 14 years another 300,000 people were moved, leading to an exclusion zone today measuring 2,600 square kilometers that will likely remain in place for hundreds of years. To this day, the human cost of the disaster is still unknown, with estimates that in their lifetimes, anywhere between 4,000 and 200,000 people will be affected by cancers attributable to the incident. Along with the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster of 2011, the Chernobyl Disaster is one of only two level 7 nuclear events in history.
Today, exactly 30 years later, the incident at Chernobyl remains one of the most poignant demonstrations of humanity’s mastery over its environment, and also one of the most powerful demonstrations of how easily, and how catastrophically, that mastery can go awry. But humans are if nothing else resilient, and throughout history have used every means at their disposal to put right the problems they have caused for themselves - including a number of structures constructed to mitigate the effects of man-made disasters, both from humanity’s past and its possible future.
Pratt Institute's School of Architecture will present "COLD war COOL digital," an exhibition of 20 scaled prototypes of modernist, pre-fabricated, and globally-distributed Cold War era housing systems that were created using contemporary 3D printing technologies (opening reception 2/18 at 6:15, details below). The exhibition will investigate architectural modernism and its global influence and will connect with contemporary prototype pre-fabrication methods and digital research in housing and skyscraper design. A symposium that explores the technical, aesthetic, and political aspects of prototyping and pre-construction in architecture will be held tonight in conjunction with the exhibition.