When cities grow, fuelled by an expanding population, housing becomes an essential component of the urban character of a metropolis. Across the world, housing experiments have been propagated by governments and states, with mixed results, and undoubtedly mixed opinions. The Soviet-era housing estates of Central and Eastern Europe are particularly interesting in that regard. These mass housing projects have been dismissed as eyesores and viewed as unimaginative monolithic structures. The legacy of these developments, however, is a lot more complicated than that.
Eastern Europe: The Latest Architecture and News
Found worldwide and revolving around various activities, from resource extraction to manufacturing, monotowns are urban settlements created around a single industry that employs the majority of the inhabitants. In the former Eastern Bloc, where monotowns are the remnants of the totalitarian regimes of the last half of the 20th century, the sudden transition from centralized economies to capitalism came as a profound shock to these settlements, generating processes of de-urbanization and internal migration. The following explores the architecture of the Russian Soviet-era monotowns, highlighting the failures, successes and current state of these particular urban environments.
The Hungarian Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Explores Ways of Managing the Socialist Architectural Heritage
The Hungarian Pavilion at the 17th Venice Biennale explores the often challenging socialist architecture and looks at how this heritage could be reconsidered and given a new future. Titled Othernity – Reconditioning our Modern Heritage, the exhibition curated by Dániel Kovács presents twelve iconic modern buildings of Budapest and the visions of twelve architecture practices from Central and Eastern Europe for their reconditioning. The Hungarian Pavilion's project looks into how architecture can build on its past to foster resilience, sustainability and strong cultural identities.
Croatia has long been a crossroads of culture. Located along the Adriatic Sea, it borders five countries and has some of the richest biodiversity in Europe. The built environment reflects influences from Central Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as both the Roman and Byzantine Empires. Today, a series of new housing projects are reinterpreting the country's past as architects and designers look to reimagine what the future holds.
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.
CANactions International Architecture Festival 2020
HOMES FOR TOMORROW
KYІV, MAY 15—16
CANactions International Architecture Festival is one of the biggest annual architecture gatherings in Europe, running since 2008.
This spring, CANactions International Architecture Festival aims to discuss and question the general principles of living environments which set the direction for establishing new housing typologies as well as, reflect the ideas of its residents about the quality and the benefits of living in the city.
Homes for Tomorrow takes one of the greatest challenges of our time: housing, created through the process of social dialogues. It presents new negotiation processes, where common subjects reach agreements,