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Ph.D. in Architecture Completed Dissertations

Modernity in Translation: Early Twentieth Century German-Turkish Exchanges in Land Settlement and Residential Culture

Esra Akcan

This dissertation develops a theory of translation in architecture, and explores the history of cross-cultural exchanges that transformed the land settlement policies and residential culture in Germany and Turkey during the first half of the twentieth century. When a country opens itself to what is foreign, it generates processes of alteration in its political institutions and cultural forms, which transform the local norms through these encounters. By focusing on the work of immigrants, travelers, collaborating local architects and international students, I analyze how architectural movements, styles, information and technologies travel across geographical space, and how they get transformed in their new destinations. Translation is elaborated here as a field of study that develops a vocabulary to discuss various patterns of cultural encounters, and one that evaluates different experiences of the "other" in a given context. This research has led me to three intertwined legacies of translation in residential culture between Germany and Turkey, mobilized by architects and planners some of whose work received little scholarly attention: the pre-war garden city ideal, the Siedlung and the "new building" debate, and finally the discourses around national vernacular types ("German house," "Turkish house"). It is also argued that translations are always ideologically charged and should therefore be theorized as contested contact zones that are shaped by the tensions and conflicts created by the perceived inequalities between places. In explaining the Turkish experience, I put forward a theory of melancholy to refer to one of these tensions, and further elaborate on the concept to critically evaluate the popular prejudgment that translation is the medium where the "authenticity of the original gets lost." This dissertation is intended as a contribution to our understanding of modernization of the world at large, as well as a contribution to our comprehension of the potentials and conflicts integral to globalization. The historical accounts of transfer and transformation recorded in this study challenge both the assertion about the "radical otherness" of the "nonwestern" countries, and their treatment as indifferent copies of the "west." Translation studies invalidate global/local as well as western/nonwestern oppositions, emphasizing instead the intertwined histories of modernization. As such, this dissertation aspires to show how translation makes history.

State, Civil Society, Architecture: a Critique of the Representations of the Good City

Cesare Birignani

Since antiquity the term *polis* has captured both the idea of city as *physical settlement* and that of city as *community/state*. This thesis will explore this constituent ambivalence as it took form in the early-modern period, tracing a series of historical shifts in the way the city was envisioned in France from the reign of Louis XIV until the Revolution. I propose to study the urban imaginary of this period by comparing the figures of the city produced by architects and utopian writers to the ideas formulated under the rubric of "police science," the theory of the government and administration of the city. The thesis will examine two historical phenomena and their mutual relation: first, the emergence of a new "rationality" of the city, as it developed in the discourse and practices of the police, the institution that most controlled urban transformation; and second, a profound cultural change in the way the city, in both its material and political sense, was conceived. My hypothesis is that the new ideas and representations of the city that emerged in the eighteenth century involved a fundamental rearticulation of the relation between State and civil society--the police offers a critical means to understanding that rearticulation.

«Età Della Macchina» Marco Zanuso's Architecture and Industrial Design 1945-1972

Shantel Blakely

My dissertation is a study of Marco Zanuso (Milan, Italy 1916-2001). The study will show how the methodology of this architect and industrial designer, formed during the second World War and the 1950s in Milan, emphasized the engagement of current capabilities in production; inventive reuse of physical and logistical structures; and attention to social need. These themes will be explored through case studies of individual objects, including factories, domestic buildings, schools, and industrial design objects such as furniture and televisions. Analytical comparisons to projects by contemporaries in the reconstruction mood of1945-1960 will include Milanese architects who made similar use of "béton brut" and elementary construction systems, such as Vittoriano Viganò and Figini and Pollini; and designers who shared Zanuso's proclivities for mass design and design with roots in preexisting cultural forms and productive capacities, notably Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni. The central chapters of the study seek, through these investigations, to understand Zanuso's notion of "mass" design in architecture and design, and to compare this notion to the "machine age" idea described by Reyner Banham (1) entailing, on one hand, the application of technology to the enhancement of everyday life and invention of new forms of living; on the other hand, rejection of the formal tastes associated with "academicism" in traditional architecture. Further, the study probes the limits of this età della macchina, in particular the decline of the machine-age style in Zanuso's work amid the twilight of the industrial development for which such projects were optimized, as industrial production and cultural structures were replaced with those of a "tertiary" economy and other post-industrial cultural manifestations in the early to mid 1970s.(1) Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (London: Architectural Press, 1960).

The Modern Solar House: Architecture, Energy, and the Emergence of Environmentalism, 1938-1959

Daniel A. Barber

This dissertation describes the active discourse regarding solar house heating in American architectural, engineering, political, economic, and corporate contexts from the eve of World War II until the late 1950s. Interweaving these multiple narratives, the aim of the project is threefold: to document this vital discourse, to place it in the context of the history of architecture, and to trace through it the emergence of a techno-cultural environmentalism.

Experimentation in the solar house relied on the principles of modern architecture for both energy efficiency and claims to cultural relevance. A passive “solar house principle” was developed in the late 30s in the suburban houses of George Fred Keck that involved open plans and flexible roof lines, and emphasized volumetric design. Spurred by wartime concern over energy resource depletion, architectural interest in solar heating also engaged an engineering discourse; in particular, an experimental program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology led to four solar houses and a codification of its technological parameters. Attention to the MIT projects at the UN and in the Truman and Eisenhower administrations placed the solar house as a central node in an emergent network exploring the problems and possibilities of a renewable resource economy.

Further experimentation elaborated on connections between this architectural-engineering discourse and the technical assistance regimes of development assistance; here by MIT researcher Maria Telkes, who also collaborated, at different junctures, with the architects Eleanor Raymond and Aladar Olgyay. The solar house discourse was further developed as a cultural project in the 1958 competition to design a solar heated residence, “Living With the Sun,” which coalesced the diverse formal tendencies of mid-century modernism to promote the solar house as an innovation in both lifestyle and policy.

Though the examples described are not successful as either technological objects and cultural projects, the story of the modern solar house excavates a history of the present anxiety concerning the relationship between environmental and social conditions. Perhaps most cogently, the narrative reconfigures the role of architecture within such discussions, as a site for both technological innovation and for experimentation in the formation of an environmentalist culture.

An architecture for the new Britain : the social vision of Cedric Price's Fun Place and Potteries Thinkbelt

Stanley J. Mathews

This dissertation is an account of two of the most forward-thinking and socially innovative architectural projects from Britain in the 1960s: Cedric Price's Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt. Price's architecture was a response to the changing character of postwar British society, but it also served as a catalyst for transformation. In these projects, he developed an indeterminate and socially responsive architecture which encouraged individual freedom and political agency by emphasizing participation, initiative, and improvisation.

The Fun Palace was based on a constantly varying design for a new form of leisure center. Common citizens could entertain and educate themselves by assembling their own environments using cranes and prefabricated modules in an improvisational architecture. The project suggested some of the most constructive and creative uses of free time in postwar England.

In his 1966 Potteries Thinkbelt, Price further pursued new architectural ideas in the service of the failing industrial sector and its now jobless workers. In it, he proposed the conversion of a vast area of England's once-thriving industrial heartland into an enormous High Tech think-tank, with mobile classrooms and laboratories mounted on the rail lines, moving from place to place, from housing to library to factory to computer center. Price hoped to break down the traditional wall between "pure" and "applied" science and technology, lure the scientists back to Britain, and put the nation at the forefront of advanced technologies.

Coinciding with England's economic and industrial decline and the disastrous period of the "brain drain," the Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt integrated concepts of technological interchangeability with social participation and improvisation as innovative and egalitarian alternatives to traditional leisure and education. At the same time, these projects suggested new models of housing, building construction, and industrial production for post-industrial society. This dissertation posits the Fun Palace and Potteries Thinkbelt as integral to the social and architectural discourses of the time, and traces the reasons why these projects have been influential on the subsequent development of architecture.

Constructed Natures of Modern Architecture in Japan 1920-1940 Yamada Mamoru, Horiguchi Sutemi, and Antonin Raymond

Ken Tadashi Oshima

This dissertation analyzes transformations in the Japanese architectural profession, focusing on both the home and the city during the pivotal interwar decades. In contrast to previous scholarship (primarily in Japanese), which isolates Japanese modern architecture from architecture in the Euro/American sphere of influence, this study traces the multi-lateral connections between Europe, the Americas and Asia. Rather than relying on a monograph, a dichotomy or an overall view, I have focused on the careers of three leading modernists in Japan: Yamada Mamoru (1894-1966), Horiguchi Sutemi (1895-1984), and Antonin Raymond (1888-1976). Their practices spanned an era of "international architecture" in which architecture became subject to rapid change world wide, not only through technological innovation but also through an exchange of information and an increase in global travel. In their distinctive ways, each architect sought to create a new architecture comprising modern forms, materials, and programs -- at once responsive to the physical and social-cultural context of Japan, yet fully aware of an emerging "international" idiom. These separate careers provide a concrete means to explore several professional and personal experiences, thereby suggesting multiple ways in which modernism was configured within both local and global contexts. Although most of their works addressed in this study have been demolished and no longer exist today, this dissertation reconstructs the nature of design practice together with the materiality of structures through archival material and photographs. Seen collectively, this re-constitution affords insights into the lived and imagined experience of the interwar period, so as to provide a further foundation for our understanding of the international practices of Japanese architects today.

Empathetic affinities, Alvar Aalto and his milieus

Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen

Alvar Aalto's relationships with architectural modernism can best be understood in terms of two intersecting trajectories: the large historical transformations caused by modernization (in this case, the birth of nation states on one hand and the increased internationalization of societies on the other) and the particularities of his own persona (certain restlessness and malleability). As a biography, this dissertation engages what sociologist Anthony Giddens has called the "extensionality" and "intentionality" of modernity. Aalto is examined as a subject whose actions were informed by the intellectual ideas and social situations around him as well as an agent motivated by personal preferences, calculated choices, even limitations.

The dissertation highlights that Aalto, well before he was exposed to architectural modernism, was aware that the ability to transcend national origins lies at the heart of becoming "modern." As a consequence the relationship to his native Finland was ambivalent as increased exposure to other cultures through travel and media allowed Aalto to transform from a small-town-boy first to an aspiring cosmopolite and further to an active member in the international Modern Movement. I will acknowledge that this exposure to other cultures effected his relationship to his country of origin. The chapters, organized chronologically, will trace how Aalto addressed the relationship between national culture and international influence in his writings; how he came to represent these ideas in his buildings; how he saw his role within the international arena at different times (a cosmopolite, a mediator, an Anti-Finn, a patriot); how he was influenced by Finnish and foreign theories about the Finnish nation; and lastly, how he responded to his international reception, which often saw him in essentialist terms as a quintessentially Finnish architect. I will even argue that Aalto's openness to other cultures was shaped and in turn shaped how Finland as a nation came to define its position within the international community.

Quadrante and the politicization of architectural discourse in fascist Italy

David Rifkind

The chapters are organized around the places where Aalto lived or to which frequently traveled during the most formative part of his career between 1916--1941: Helsinki, Jyvaskyla, Turku, Stockholm, continental Europe, Switzerland and New York. Each place exposed him to particular social structures, intellectual cultures, artistic ideas and imagery, and most importantly, to new set of friends. He in turn was quick to immerse himself in new situations and, in so doing, transformed, at least temporarily, the intellectual and artistic position as well as his persona, on this micro-level the dissertation explores the issue of artistic and intellectual influence, which resulted in personal and local appropriations and even distortions of the key ideas within the international Modern Movement.

Through a detailed study of the journal Quadrante and its circle of architects, critics, artists and patrons, this Ph.D. dissertation investigates the relationship between modern architecture and fascist political practices in Italy during Benito Mussolini's regime (1922-43). Rationalism, the Italian variant of the modern movement in architecture, was at once pluralistic and authoritarian, cosmopolitan and nationalistic, politically progressive and yet fully committed to the political program of Fascism. An exhaustive study of Quadrante in its social context begins to explain the relationships between the political content of an architecture that promoted itself as the appropriate expression of fascist policies, the cultural aspirations of an architecture that drew on contemporary developments in literature and the arts, and the international function of a journal that promoted Italian modernism to the rest of Europe while simultaneously exposing Italy to key developments across the Alps.

Urbanization and the Emergence of the Polykatoikìa. Habitat and Identity, Athens 1830-1974

Ioanna Theocharopoulou

Athenians are very proud of their city's long heritage. At the same time they feel enormously negative about the urban development of the first half of the twentieth century, characterized by the polykatoikìa (poly = multi, katoikia= dwelling), the most ubiquitous local building type, and a blind spot in Greek architectural history. The proliferation of this housing type in the twentieth century, a direct result of the influx of internal migrants and the urgent need of shelter, has been endlessly criticized for being haphazard, unsightly and the cause of urban chaos. This dissertation situates the success of polykatoikìa urbanism within architectural history and explores it as an expression of a wider set of cultural, social, and political events that marked Greek history from the inception of the modern state to the late twentieth century. As the polykatoikìa was produced without much involvement by architects or planners, this dissertation had to construct a methodology or an approach towards marginally legal or informal development. This approach included bringing together insights from architecture, anthropology, cultural and gender studies, literature and cinema, and thinking about the ambiguities and cross-overs between Architecture-as-Art, craft processes and the local reception and appropriation of Modern Architecture against older patterns of building. The study of Athenian informal development raises the question of how to study non-architect-designed buildings and artifacts, a question that architectural history needs to open up more broadly.

Modernization, National Image and Ideology: Architectural History in China from the Turn of the Twentieth Century to 1953

Min-Ying Wang

The Confucian metaphysical philosophy devalued material artifacts, as a result, architecture was not traditionally seen as a scholarly field. Architectural study as an academic discipline only began as a formal discipline in the last decades of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) when it was introduced by westerners. Since then, Chinese scholars have produced a significant body of architectural history which has helped to shape the way that Chinese people think of architecture. Given the influence and importance of these texts, a thorough account of the historiography of these works is necessary, but has yet to be done-either in English or in Chinese. The objective of this analytical study is therefore to cover the writings of the most important architectural historians that worked during the first stage of the discipline's development in China from both within China and beyond.

Noting that the asynchronous modernization was an unspoken factor acting on all of these architectural histories, this dissertation examines the texts with a specific interest in the nationalistic ideology under-pinning their interpretation of architectural images both traditional and modern. Five types of architectural historians who were involved in the formation of this discipline are examined. They are: western sinologists including John Calvin Ferguson (1866-1945), Walter Perceval Yetts (1878- 1957), Osvald Sirén (1879-1966), Carroll Brown Malone (1886-1973), Paul Demiéville (1894-1979), Gustav Ecke (1896-1971), etc.; progressive Chinese intellectuals Yue Jiazao (1868-1944), Zhu Qiqian (1872-1964) and their fellows of the Society for Research in Chinese Architecture (1930-1945); culturally conservative architectural professionals trained abroad, represented by Liang Sicheng (1901-1972) and Lin Huiyin (1904-1955); architectural modernists, among them the most insightful was probably Tong Jun (1900-1983); and socialist writers Hu Man (1904-1986) and Feng Zikai (1898-1975).

It is found that the historians stated above actually interweaved native learning skills and architectural history, a discipline originated from the West, to fulfill the need for a national identity caused by the asynchronous modernization. This is particularly embodied in the methodologies and historical styles that they remodeled. Contrary to most prevailing post-colonial theories, their methodologies and historical styles exemplify a positive and confident local response to foreign input. By scrutinizing these historical texts, this dissertation provides a new perspective on the early history of global architecture.

Facts and artifacts : Otto Neurath and the social science of socialization

Vossoughian, Nader

This dissertation traces the career of Otto Neurath (1882--1945), a Viennese intellectual who played a central role in establishing two key movements in European philosophy, the Vienna Circle and the United of Science movement, both of which rejected metaphysics and embraced empirical science. Neurath himself abhorred speculative thinking in all its cultural and social guises and spent his life trying to put his philosophy into practice. Although he is typically regarded as a philosopher of knowledge and innovator in graphic design, he pursued a range of careers that gave expression to his theoretical concerns. Between 1917 and 1940, he helped organize countless museums and exhibitions in over a dozen countries, and between 1921 and 1925 he was a leading housing officer in socialist Vienna. He brought to bear on these appointments his Austro-Marxian brand of empiricism, which was heavily utilitarian and anti-Idealist in outlook.

As a housing director, Neurath had nothing but disdain for priceless artifacts and rare artistic collections. He thought that they absorbed the subject's attention without stimulating his or her intellect; they fetishized the "spectacle value" of objects at the expense of being socially informative. As a housing advocate and city planner, meanwhile, Neurath was an ardent critic of picturesque and Baroque planning schemes and a foe of both laissez-faire urbanism and anti-city utopianism. He believed that overly concentrated urban development bred disease and inequality, while its inverse harmed worker productivity. Most of all, he detested Beaux-Arts and Sittesque urban planning on account of the priority they gave to aesthetics, beauty, and "good taste.

Neurath's approach to solving urban and museological issues, I argue, consisted in organizing his thoughts around facts rather than artifacts. Facts, he contended, are interconnected---they're governed by rules rather than exceptions. Artifacts, on the other hand, project the illusion of autonomy; like the "curiosity cabinets" of the 17th century, they are defined by their relative uniqueness or singularity. They pique the imagination, he contended, but they also breed irrationalism---an escape into disorder.

For Neurath, extinguishing this "auratic" urge was central to the project of installing a truly rational culture. In the area of museum administration, I explore in my thesis how Neurath pioneered the use of mechanically reproducible media---photographs, lantern slides, graphic diagrams, and the like. Most famously, he invented a language of pictoral communication known as the International System of Typographic Picture Education ("Isotype"), whose hieroglyphic signs are all but ubiquitous in today's airports, restrooms, and city streets. In the realm of city planning, Neurath was one of the earliest advocates of standardized mass housing. He developed innovative schemes for rationalizing the production of agrarian settlements and organizing and educating building cooperatives. He was instrumental to the careers of countless Neue Sachlichkeit modernists, including Margarete Schutte-Lihotzky, Le Corbusier, Josef Frank, and Cornelis van Eesteren, and carried on an extensive correspondence with the sociologist Ferdinand Tonnies.

In the dissertation, I conclude by critically considering the contradictions and tensions implicit to Neurath's cultural and urbanistic philosophy. I suggest that his example does not simply reflect the musings of an isolated historical figure, but are emblematic of the holistic aspirations of Enlightenment reason.