Housing Blocs: Ordinary Modernism Across the Atlantic

Illinois Institute of Technology; Chicago, Illinois

Book of Abstracts

Friday, May 20

10:00AM Introductions

Reed Kroloff, Dean, College of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Architecture

Michael R. Allen, Washington University in St. Louis/University of Birmingham

Vladana Putnik Prica, University of Belgrade

10:15AM Keynote Lecture

“The Housing Ecosystem: The Social Production of Residential Architecture in Yugoslavia”

Vladimir Kulić, Iowa State University

11:30AM Pause

11:45AM Block 1: Mass Housing in Yugoslavia

Chair: Vladimir Kulić, Iowa State University

11:45AM “Pyramid of Collective Housing: Residential Complex ‘Rudo’ in Belgrade”

Ivan R. Marković, Independent Researcher

12:00PM “Mišeluk: The Self-Management City”

Dragana Konstantinović, University of Novi Sad, and Slobodan Jović, University of Novi Sad

12:15PM “Housing Blocks: On the Margins”

Marko Gavrilović, Independent Researcher

12:30PM Discussion

12:45PM Pause

1:00PM Block 2: Mass Housing in the West

Chair: Michael R. Allen, Washington University in St. Louis/University of Birmingham

1:00PM “Design of Post-War Public Housing in the United States”

Amanda Loughlin, Rosin Preservation

1:15PM “The Cultural Significance of Documenting Public Housing’s Demolition”

Elsa Haarstad, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

1:30PM “’It’s a house ya’ want... not a bloody lighthouse’: Picturing Desire at the Divis Flats”

Sarah Churchill, Drew University

1:45PM Discussion

2:00PM Lunch

3:00PM Block 3: Mass Housing Behind the Iron Curtain

Chair: Kimberly Zarecor, Iowa State University

3:00PM “Self-Help Cooperative Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1948−1989”

Milan Bobysud, School of the Art Institute of Chicago

3:15PM “Negotiating “Paneláky” in Prague”

Maja Babić, Charles University

3:30PM “Heritage or Burden?: The Review of the Social and Aesthetic Legacy of Mass Housing Buildings”

Paulina Duch-Żebrowska. Gdańsk University of Technology

3:45PM Discussion

4:00PM Break

4:15PM Block 4: The Stigma of Mass Housing: Breaking the Habit

Chair: Vladana Putnik Prica, University of Belgrade

4:15PM “Life Transcends Rhetoric.”

Melita Čavlović, University of Zagreb, and Antun Sevšek, Independent Researcher

4:30PM “Mammoth Under Suspicion: Yugoslav Mass Housing and Post-Yugoslav Othering”

Lea Horvat, University of Leipzig

4:45PM “Architecture of Housing in Socialist Yugoslavia: Between Innovation and Inequality”

Aleksandar Vujkov, University of Illinois at Chicago

5:00PM Discussion

5:15PM Closing Comments

5:30PM About Our Venue

"Mies and Much More: The Illinois Institute of Technology Campus and Chicago’s South Side”

Michelangelo Sabatino, Professor, Illinois Institute of Technology

6:30PM Tour

Walking tour of Illinois Institute of Technology led by Professor Michelangelo Sabatino

7:00PM Exhibition Opening and Reception (Graham Resource Center, Lower Level)

G. E. Kidder Smith Photographer: Building Books

Curated by Angelo Maggi (Università IUAV di Venezia) and Michelangelo Sabatino (IIT College of Architecture

Saturday, May 21

10:00AM Keynote Lecture

“The Persistent Design-Politics of Race in United States Public Housing.”

Lawrence J. Vale, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

11.00PM Discussion

11:15AM Break

11:30AM Block 5: East Meets West: Crossings and Divisions

Chair: Katja Perat, Washington University in St. Louis

11:30AM “Implementation and Examples of IMS Building Technology in Cuba”

Dragana Mecanov. DOCOMOMO Serbia

11:45AM “Singular Memories in the Landscape of Mass Housing: A Model of Positivity-focused Research Challenging the Narratives of Stigma about Modernist Estates in Poland and the US”

Maciej Jakub Swiderski, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

12:00PM “’Soviet’ Architecture in the ‘Free World”’ Ideological Narratives Against Public Housing in the US”

Michael R. Allen, Washington University in St. Louis/University of Birmingham

12:15PM Discussion

12:30PM Break

12:45PM Block 6: The Legacy of Mass Housing

Chair: Jelica Jovanović, University of Technology in Vienna

12.45 “Historic Areas vs Mass Housing: New Settlements in Old Belgrade (1945−1980)”

Vladana Putnik Prica, University of Belgrade

1:00PM “Venture into Participatory Parameticism: GIMS Prefabrication System for Low Density Multi- and Single-Family Housing”

Jelica Jovanović, University of Technology in Vienna

1:15PM “The Legacy of the Late Production of Modern Housing Estates in Slovakia”

Peter Szalay. Slovak Academy of Sciences

1:30PM “Privatization of the Environment of Mass Housing in the Neighborhoods of Cities on the Eastern Coast of the Adriatic Sea”

Mariana Bucat, Jelena Borota, Andrej Babić, Arkitektonski Kolektiv

1:45PM “The Truth is Out There: Resident Architects, Glazed Balconies and New (Architectural) History in the Making”

Sonja Lakić, CY Cergy Paris University

2:00PM Discussion

2:15PM Closing Comments

2:30PM Lunch

3:30PM Tour of Altgeld Gardens

A bus will deliver participants to the historic housing project of Altgeld Gardens (1944-45). Cheryl Johnson, Executive Director of People for Community Recovery, will lead the tour.

Seating is limited and requires separate registration.

Sunday, May 22

10.00AM – 3:00PM Chicago Public Housing Bus Tour

A bus tour of selected sites including the National Public Housing Museum, Archer Courts, Wentworth Gardens and other sites led by D. Bradford Hunt, Loyola University Chicago. Seating is limited and requires separate registration.

December 2, 2021

Call For Papers:

Housing Blocs: Ordinary Modernism Across the Atlantic

S. R. Crown Hall
Illinois Institute of Technology
Chicago, Illinois, USA

May 20-22, 2022.

Recent scholarship on architectural modernism has deepened critical attention to social structures and political economies, while also widening research to include “ordinary” architecture including mass housing. Extensive publication around mass housing in Europe has engaged post-socialist issues in perception, valuation and conservation of mass housing, while similar output concerning the mass housing legacy of United States has strongly focused on race and social othering as well as erasure of high-rise forms. While some surveys of global mass housing exist, there are few concentrated comparative projects that place the mass housing of the United States into dialogue with European programs, beyond repeated narratives of aesthetic influence. Also in the current moment of a global pandemic, internationalism seems crucial as we create narratives of the past, present and future.

The Housing Blocs symposium calls for research that revisits the scene of the Iron Curtain through the specific material practices of mass housing production, maintenance and disposition. The symposium builds from a workshop in October 2021 in Belgrade that positioned inquiry around the mass housing architectures of the United States and Yugoslavia, with specific focus on how contemporary political and social valuation has impacted both conservation of sites and historical scholarship. As the United States and Yugoslavia pursued mass housing production programs after World War II simultaneously, they also opened diplomatic relations that makes the relationship distinct from that between the US and the post-socialist nations within the Soviet Union and its sphere of influence. Mass housing production in both nations also form an interesting set of divergences, while today gentrification has impacted the survival of mass housing in both the US and post-Yugoslavian republics.

The symposium specifically invites papers and presentations around mass housing in the United States and Yugoslavia, but will consider relevant proposals concerning mass housing in other post-socialist parts of Europe. The larger Housing Blocs project will specifically work on the US/Yugoslavian connection, but the symposium is open to presentations that provide useful parallels and analogies or models of research. Proposals do not have to adopt a comparative internationalist framework, but can present research devoted to specific sites or specific nations. Proposals should engage histories of design and housing production, the role of housing production in US and socialist political economies, dynamics of racial and social difference in mass housing sites, histories of resident life and political organizing, the infrapolitics of inhabitation at sites, the ways in which architects and planners across the Atlantic learned from or reacted to each other, problems in material conservation, and the ways in which state policy, ownership and public attitude on both sides challenge conservation efforts today.

The symposium is interdisciplinary and invites proposals from architectural history, heritage/historic preservation, political science, cultural studies, urban studies, sociology, anthropology, race and gender studies, literature, art, film and other fields. Creative practitioners also are strongly urged to submit a proposal.

Those interested in presenting should submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by January 31, 2022 for review by the organizing committee. Notifications of acceptance will be sent by February 15, 2022. There will be no registration fee.

Due to the ongoing pandemic and evolving travel restrictions, visa delays and other concerns, Housing Blocs invites proposals for virtual presentations. Presenters should present live if presenting virtually.

Abstracts should be sent to Vladana Putnik Prica, Research Associate, Art History Department, Faculty of the Arts, University of Belgrade, Serbia, and Michael Allen, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis, USA.