In 1919 the Social Democrat city council of Vienna initiated a radical program of reforms designed to reshape the city's infrastructure along socialist lines. The centerpiece and most enduring achievement of "Red" Vienna was the construction of the Wiener Gemeindebauten, 400 communal housing blocks, distributed throughout the city, in which workers' dwellings were incorporated with kindergartens, libraries, medical clinics, theaters, cooperative stores, and other public facilities. The 64,000 units housed one tenth of the city's population. Throughout this socialist building campaign, however, Austria was ruled by a conservative, clerical, and antisocialist political majority. Thus the architecture of Red Vienna took shape in the midst of highly charged, and often violent, political conflict between left and right.
In this book, Eve Blau looks at how that ideological conflict shaped the buildings of Red Vienna—in terms of their program, spatial conception, language, and use—as well as how political meaning itself is manifested in architecture. She shows how the architecture of Red Vienna constructed meaning in relation to the ideological conflicts that defined Austrian politics in the interwar period—how it was shaped by the conditions of its making, and how it engaged its own codes, practices, and history to stake out a political position in relation to those conditions. Her investigation sheds light both on the complex relationship among political program, architectural practice, and urban history in interwar Vienna, and on the process by which architecture can generate a collective discourse that includes all members of society.
Published with the assistance of the Getty Grant Program.
A fundamental tenet of the historiography of modern architecture holds that cubism forged a vital link between avant-garde practices in early twentieth-century painting and architecture. This collection of essays, commissioned by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, takes a close look at that widely accepted but little scrutinized belief. In the first historically focused examination of the issue, the volume returns to the original site of cubist art in pre-World War I Europe and proceeds to examine the historical, theoretical, and socio-political relationships between avant-garde practices in painting, architecture, and other cultural forms, including poetry, landscape, and the decorative arts. The essays look at works produced in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia during the early decades of the twentieth century.
Together, the essays show that although there were many points of intersection—historical, metaphorical, theoretical, and ideological—between cubism and architecture, there was no simple, direct link between them. Most often the connections between cubist painting and modern architecture were construed analogically, by reference to shared formal qualities such as fragmentation, spatial ambiguity, transparency, and multiplicity; or to techniques used in other media such as film, poetry, and photomontage. Cubist space itself remained two-dimensional; with the exception of Le Cobusier's work, it was never translated into the three dimensions of architecture. Cubism's significance for architecture also remained two-dimensional—a method of representing modern spatial experience through the ordering impulses of art.
Copublished with the Canadian Centre for Architecture/Centre Canadien d'Architecture
Drawing on an incomparable collection of architectural drawings and prints, photographs, books, and periodicals, Architecture and Its Image explores the idea of serial imagery in architectural representation through works dating from the Renaissance to today.
Although drawings and photographs of architecture are often viewed as single images, they are generally produced in series. The most basic of these is the set of drawings that shows a building in plan, elevation, and section. But as Architecture and Its Image reveals, the concept can be extended to other types of architectural representations: theater sets, travel accounts, photographic surveys, pattern books, even the alternative designs submitted for competition. All relate in different ways to their subjects; viewed in series, all reveal underlying principles of organization that can convey new understanding of architectural imagery.
Under the headings Architecture in Three Dimensions, Architecture in Place and Time, and Architecture in Process, essays by six scholars use the concept of serial imagery to explore the complex relationship between various types of architectural representations and their subject matter: projective drawings (Robin Evans), 19th-century urban survey photography (Eve Blau), the travel narratives of English architectural "explorers" from the mid-18th to the mid-19th century (Edward Kaufman), festival and theater architecture (William Alexander McClung), architectural publications, competitions, and exhibitions (Helene Lipstadt), and computer graphics (Robert Bruegmann).
An accompanying catalog describes 350 examples, drawn from the CCA collections, of work by architects and architectural delineators, photographers, and cartographers. The book is illustrated by over 400 superbly reproduced duotone illustrations and 16 pages of color.
Eve Blau is Curator of Exhibitions and Publications at the CCA. Edward Kaufman is Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Columbia University.
Architecture and Its Image is a publication of the Centre Canadien d'Architecture/Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal Distributed by The MIT Press.