MASS HOUSING 2009 Volume 21
Welcome to a world of
Sample Copy. Available Spring 2010. Order now and get a 10% discount. www.archis.org
Contents ......................................................................... This tourist guide is presented as an excerpt of a forthcoming publication.
Intro ...................................................................... 4 Yunusabad · Tashkent · Uzbekistan ...................... 6 Marzahn · Berlin · Germany .................................. 8 Le Mirail · Toulouse · France................................. 10 Special Focus: Colonial mass architecture – The North African Experience ............................. 12 Kim Liên · Hanoi · Vietnam .................................... 14 The Bijlmer · Amsterdam · The Netherlands ....... 16 Special Focus: The Grand Tour of Ruined Mass Housing ........... 18 Fuerte Apache · Buenos · Aires Argentina ........... 20 Lavatrice · Genoa · Italy ....................................... 22 Ekbatan · Tehran · Iran .......................................... 24 Hikarigaoka Park Town · Tokyo · Japan .............. 26 Glossary ............................................................... 28
FACTS for the Traveller ARCHIS teams up with MEDIAMATIC! Mediamatic Travel is a growing network where cultural professionals can meet and adventurous travellers can plan their trips. New local city experts join the website everyday making more interesting places within reach. Mediamatic invites local cultural experts from all over the world to join Mediamatic Travel. www.travel.mediamatic.net
Introduction There is something uncanny about traveling to places that continuously evoke a common, everyday landscape. Art historian Mark Crimson describes traveling between two cities in the world as ‘a means to return home as you inevitably pass through airport, ring roads, and similar buildings’. The experience of travel today increasingly feels this way. Modern architecture is everywhere and mass housing, epitomizing the principles of modern architecture and urbanism, has truly become a global phenomenon. From the Russian microrayon and the Argentinean FONAVI to the French grand ensemble our constructed environment has been shaped by the ambition to house the masses. The prevailing sense of uniformity among global metropolises nowadays is due in part to continuously encountering these large machines for living.
Yet this apparent uniformity is shattered by a thorough investigation of the realities of each place. Rather than focusing solely on slabs and concrete, this travel guide takes a site-speciﬁc approach to mass housing by exploring individual places and their social, political and cultural contexts. In doing so it aims to deliver a more thorough portrayal of collective living. In everything from their shapes to their stories these sites offer a diversity that contradicts their uniformity of purpose. And the sources of this architecture vary widely, often being incongruous from country to country: socialist sentiments, market ambitions, political strategies and utopian ideals. Mass housing gained a poor reputation in the latter half of the last century especially in the West. A form of collective anxiety regarding the standardized, excessive character of such large-scale structures stigmatized many of these projects. The demolition of an existing complex is met with cheers and
proposals for new ones incite outrage: ‘Not in my backyard!’ Yet the majority of our cities continue to struggle with housing shortages and the proliferation of substandard living conditions. This guide tests the validity and depth of the common story of mass housing. In some cases the reputation was deserved, but the many exceptions are surprising. This guide deﬁnes a new cultural attitude and proposes a tourism of the edges, margins and borders. No longer can cities be identiﬁed solely by their historic centers. Mass architecture today is part of an international historical heritage and an inevitable fact. We hope our readers will take the opportunity to travel to the sites described here themselves to see what is truly unique about each one. Mass Housing in the Future Mass produced buildings already account for a vast proportion of the world’s housing stock. Over
a billion people live in pre-fabricated housing today, yet we’re not producing it fast enough. By 2040 64% of the world, or almost 6 billion people, will live in cities. 4,000 houses need to be constructed every hour to meet the housing needs of this mass urban migration. Even by 2012 cities will need to build 27 million housing units. Slums, which house onethird of the global population today, are absorbing the majority of this need. And the population of slum dwellers will continue to grow at an alarming rate unless an alternative is found. Mass housing is an inevitable solution to achieve a livable standard for growing urban populations. There are already a great many efﬁcient examples of mass housing each of which continually inﬂuences the future shape of the city. Cities must learn how to build faster, cheaper and higher.
In England see the very ﬁrst example of IKEA’s house: the BoKlok.
China has the
35% of Dutch live
biggest market for
in social housing,
the highest rate in the
in 2009. See what
EU. See some crazy,
the craze is about.
Dutch-designed housing blocks.
See Co-op City
Look for the historic
in the Bronx, the
village of Alt-Marzahn
in the Plattenbau
district in Berlin
ment in the world.
See some of the most elegant and expensive 90% of all housing
mass housing in
in Russia is prefabri-
the world in Tokyo.
Visit a unique
cated. Explore all
the available types
in Moscow. See an Iranian tribute to Brutalism
See a mass See some of
the 700,000 housing
units being built by the Brazilian
Discover one of
the hundreds of
the My House,
My Life program.
Visit a Soviet-
ruins of the
Engineers and architects cannot change any construction details, such as joints or connections, in
the initial design. Only the government designated agency is allowed to make modiﬁcations. 1
Plan a trip: a Pre-Fabulous Adventure Major companies outside the building industry are making their ﬁrst foray in the mass housing market with pre-fabricated homes. See if you
Yunusabad · Tashkent · Uzbekistan The northern district of Tashkent, the largest city in Central Asia, is home to a rich and abundant stock of mass housing due to the city’s history as a capital in the former Soviet Union. You can see a variety of types in many different scales nestled into large green pockets scattered around the district. As with most Soviet cities, the majority of Tashkent’s housing stock is pre-fabricated and standardized, and the inhabitants are not restricted to any social demographic, wealthy or poor. Also while in Tashkent you can see other relics of the Soviet era, like one of the 2,000 sports complexes that were built during those years. Mass Housing Tashkent A massive earthquake (7.5 on the Richter scale) leveled much of Tashkent in 1966 and ‘battalions of fraternal people’ from Soviet states rushed in with aid to rebuild it into a model, modern Soviet city. The efﬁciency of Soviet mass housing allowed for whole cities to be constructed with incredible speed. Such planning allowed for 95% of all housing stock in Russia to become standardized in a matter of decades by the 1970s. The sudden destruction of the entire city thus became an ideal opportunity for the Soviet microrayon in Uzbekistan’s formerly historic, capital city Tashkent. Over 100,000 homes were built in four years. In contrast to mass housing sites in non-Soviet nations, the boundaries between neighborhoods and complexes are more difﬁcult to discern as continuous bands of mass housing exist throughout the city. So start in Yunusabad and simply wander. Inevitably you will stumble through complex after complex in this paradise of mass housing. 66
Uzbekistan’s National Block Because so many buildings all over Uzbekistan are produced by the state, the government established a centralized mass production construction process. This uniform manufacturing process means that certain types of buildings are identical everywhere in the country. As the most common standard type, making up over 18% of housing and over 25% of public buildings in Tashkent, the following is the national standard block: The building is a pre-cast, reinforced concrete structure in a rectangular plan with nine to twelve storeys for residential blocks or one to four for public buildings. The plan uses dimensions of 18x18m, 12x36m or 15x24m (59x59 ft., 39x118 ft. or 49x79 ft.). Windows and doors range in size from 2.25 to 4.5 meters (7.4 to 14.8 ft.) and there are about 30 meters (100 ft.) between buildings. In a 12-story building there are 60 families living in 60 units, with one bathroom each. Residents are poor or middle class. Today about 90% of these buildings are privately owned and 10% are rented from the government. A typical 12-story block with dimensions of 18x18m can be erected by 10 workers in 10 months. This construction method has been the national process for over 35 years, since 1973 when the frame panel Seria IIS-04 was ﬁrst used. The cost for this building method is about 33,000 sum/m2 or about €80/m2 ($10.50/sq.ft.). The government commissions a design ﬁrm to develop a series of industrialized construction elements. The agency produces speciﬁcations for columns, girders, diaphragms, slabs, wall panels, staircases, etc. which are then mass produced by concrete plants. Other design ﬁrms then design standard building blocks from these parts as ordered by the municipality or private client. The concrete plants deliver all the required building materials to the construction site and these are then assembled. 6|7
can spot one during your adventures: 7 These clean, bright, Nordic homes have been constructed in Sweden since 1996 by SKANSKA and are now being exported by IKEA. The apartments come in one and two bedroom versions and every apartment includes a lawn, a patio/deck and even an IKEA apple tree.
1 Yunusabad neighborhood in Tashkent 2 Key load-bearing elements in the standard Uzbek block 3 Typical building plan in Tashkent 4 National housing block type in Tashkent 5 Cattle grazing in a Yunusabad park 6 View inside Yunusabad Sports Complex
See them in Sweden, the UK, Finland, Denmark or Norway. A marvel of pre-fabrication, an apartment building can be completed in one day with everything including electrical wiring completed. In the UK one bedroom apartments can cost as low as £99,500 ($162,000) and two bedroom houses as low as £132,500 ($216,000). In Sweden demand is so high that a lottery is held to distribute ownership of these homes.
8 The car manufacturer Toyota recently entered the housing market offering these ﬁre- and earthquake-proof, car-friendly homes in Japan. There are currently more than a dozen designs, ranging from $200,000 to $800,000 or more. Targeting mostly single moms, these homes can be completed in as little as six hours on site. They also come with electrical systems to charge your car and a 60-year warranty.
Did you know? All over Tashkent you can watch farm animals grazing in city parks.
People have begun raising sheep and cattle in the city and parts of Tashkent have become urban pastures. Don’t miss the local fauna when checking out Yunusabad’s beautiful blocks! 5 Focus on: Post-Soviet Mass Housing in Central Asia Most of the countries that were once part of the USSR gained independence in 1991 after its collapse. Many of these made big strides toward the privatization of state-owned housing as early as 1993; Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan led the way with 35% of housing privatized. In some post-Soviet states there were initially give-away programs by which public housing tenants were given ownership. Most Central Asian states do not have strong records of privatization compared to Eastern European nations, but Kazakhstan is an exception. Governments continue to control a large portion of the production and home ownership throughout the country. Central Asians continue to have a strong Soviet ethic left over from the many years spent as a part of the USSR. Luckily this means that mass production and prefabrication are often still dynamic and proliﬁc in these nations, even in projects developed privately.
Marzahn · Berlin · Germany
Few locations bespeak what life was in the former DDR like Marzahn. This giant settlement located northeast of Berlin is the largest housing estate in Germany with 58,200 dwellings. It dates from the 1970s and comes close to being a perfect example of the standard building practice at the time. Plattenbau (prefabricated, large concrete panel construction) emerged from the dominant belief that it would provide solutions to every urban ill and satisfy demand for higher quality for the masses. Large housing estates were erected in both West and East Germany according to speciﬁc standards of construction, but it was not until the beginning of the 1970s that construction really took off. Today there are nearly two million Plattenbau units in the former DDR and almost 900,000 in former West Germany. Mass housing in Germany is not a recent urban phenomenon and is mostly connected with the many attempts to tackle housing shortages. The roots of the housing crisis in Germany lie with the poor quality of 19th-century working class housing. Attempts to resolve the housing shortage included the gardencity movement and provided an anti-urban model to accommodate the middle and upper-classes. After the First World War the Weimar Republic undertook mass-housing programs with low-rise estates such as Großsiedlung Siemensstadt. Although the method of construction and building technologies remained traditional, the result was deﬁned by a minimal aesthetic and standardization, ideas proclaimed by the Bauhaus school. Following the Second World War Germany faced a major housing crisis. Not only did the war destroy much of the housing stock in every major city, but millions of refugees from the east had to ﬁnd new homes. According to one estimate, there were 10 million housing units for 17 million households. In the early 1960s the German
after work. It quickly became a mono-functional area used only as a dormitory, separated from the rest of the city and largely serving the local inhabitants. Marzahn now forms part of a much wider area built at the same time. All the estates sit on the edge of the city and the contrast between the high densities and the adjoining landscapes, sometimes undeﬁned or left as grassland might suggest that the city has yet to be extended further east. Democratic Republic, like many of its socialist counterparts, began a large-scale housing program calling for signiﬁcant urban extensions on agricultural land in satellite towns. The Marzahn Grosswohnsiedlung The historic village of Alt-Marzahn ﬁnds its past surrounded by slabs and concrete panel buildings. This once rural village still had a traditional town center with a brick church built in 1871 and a lovely village inn. Another landmark is the windmill, rebuilt in 1994, that can mill up to a ton of rye or wheat a day. Marzahn remained a rural area until the late 1970s when local authorities planned a rapid urban extension and a vast housing estate program. This consisted of large housing blocks and high rises (‘Wohnhochhaus’) characterized by a monolithic monotony. Marzahn was built by engineers in a centrally planned state and came close to a computer model city. The buildings ranged from ﬁve to eighteen ﬂoors, in color schemes varying from drab grey through drab brown to drab red, and all assembled from prefabricated slabs. It included a day care center, a primary school and an ‘amenities cube’ containing a ‘Grossraumgaststätte’ for relaxing
The Plattenbau Style The word is a compound of Platte (panel) and Bau (building). Although Plattenbauen are often considered to be typically East German, the prefabricated construction method was used extensively in West Germany and elsewhere, particularly in public housing projects. 1949: 1950:
Walking tour The S-Bahn lines S7/S75 from Berlin travel through the 15km-long trail of functional blocks and high-rises that are Marzahn, Ahrensfelde,
Hellersdorf, Kaulsdorf, Mahlsdorf and Hohenschönhausen. From there a multitude of walking paths though the estates offer a good start to
explore this functional city. The sheer scale of the developments, the repetition of the same urban typology and monotony of the landscape create a disorienting labyrinth.
If the intention is to lose oneself in the city, Marzahn can provide the impulse for the unknown, the unfamiliar and uncanniness. The pedestrian experience of this city will then certainly echo the acts of wandering reﬂected in the writings of Baudelaire and Benjamin’s ‘flâneurs’. Probably best then to leave the maps at home and navigate through this block city according to a single itinerary – your own. If these aimless wanderings don’t trigger the expected surrealist
experience, you can ﬁnd the ‘Marzahn Recreational Park’ whose labyrinths are modeled on Hampton Court Palace and gardens of the Italian Renaissance.
1972: 1990: 2001:
The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) and the Ministry of Reconstruction are founded. The Minister of Reconstruction travels to the Soviet Union. The ‘Sixteen Fundamentals of Urban Development’ are published, introducing the neo-classical, Stalinist period in building. The de-Stalinization period heralds the industrialization of construction. It is decided that the chronic housing shortage can be solved by abandoning traditional building methods. (Moscow All-Union Conference 1954, Construction Conference of the GDR, 1955.) The GDR builds its ﬁrst fully automated factory for the manufacture of concrete slabs used in building construction. The SED (Communist Party) Central Committee orders the mass production of construction elements; Establishment of building types (QP, P2, WHH, etc.): 315,000 new residential units are completed. The IV. Communist Party Conference creates fundamental structures for industrialized construction. ‘Wohnungsbaukombinate’ (Public Building Trusts) or WBK are declared the sole builders of residential housing and are placed under the jurisdiction of the Bezirke (districts) of the GDR. The SED Central Committee’s Fifth Conference on Building. The GDR Council of Ministers decides to develop a uniﬁed system for the construction industry. The state-owned construction companies harmonize the dimensions of their products (standard measurement 6000mm) and develop ‘Wohnungsbausystems 70’ (residential construction system 70); existing products are given type names. Completion of the ﬁrst WBS 70-type residential unit in Neubrandeburg. Completion of the 644,900th residential unit of the same type, the 1,205,400th residential unit in all. There are over 270,400 industrially-produced residential units in East Berlin, including the Berlin-Mitte (central) section of the city. Of these, 232,000 residential units have been modernized. The added comfort in the interior of the buildings provided by the modernization efforts is accompanied by a loss of the unique features characteristic of this architecture. Source: www.superclub.de
1 The traditional village of Alt-Marzahn and its windmill 2 A ‘line of desire’ in Marzahn open spaces 3 Siemensstadt, Berlin
Le Mirail Âˇ Toulouse Âˇ France
Planned as utopian project to modernize the country, many of the grands ensembles are now stigmatized as â€˜quartiers sensiblesâ€™ (euphemistically, â€˜neighborhoods at riskâ€™). Other common names include citĂŠs, banlieus, quartiers, zones, HLM, ZUPâ€Ś
Toulouse, known as the â€˜pink cityâ€™ for its distinctive brick architecture, is changing its color scheme to deep gray in the Le Mirail district. The grand ensemble is located just south of Toulouseâ€™s historic center. The French Grand Ensemble There are currently over 250 grands ensembles which constitute approximately 18% of the total French housing stock, the highest proportion in Western Europe. The origin of the grand ensemble lies in the unstable social and economic conditions of the post-war period when France needed to build more, faster and higher. A number of national housing and urban policies (Plan Monnet in 1947, Plan Courant in 1953) called for a vast program of state-subsidized, suburban housing. Like the Anglo-Saxon housing estate and the Soviet microrayon, the grand ensemble is customarily a group of buildings built together as a single development, but the name speciďŹ cally characterizes 1
the French approach to mass housing. They are typically located on the outskirts of major French cities and were developed as completely new urban centers or extensions of peripheral villages. They were an entirely new collective habitat in rupture with the old city, housing an entirely new population. Volume 21
Toulouse Le Mirail As one of the ďŹ rst post-war mass housing projects proposed in France, Le Mirail in Toulouse was both an experimental form of urban planning as well as the largest housing project in the country. In the late 1950s Toulouse faced a growing housing shortage which pushed local authorities to erect a new town just south of the city. It was designed by architects Woods, Dony, Josic and Candilis (then a student under Le Corbusier) to accommodate 100,000 new inhabitants but ďŹ nancial constraints limited the developments to just under half of this initial number. The desire to create new â€˜citĂŠs radieusesâ€™ as an ideal of collective stability for both the family and the individual not only emerged from C.I.A.M. theories but as a general consensus to dramatically improve impoverished inner-city urban conditions. Le Mirail is composed of three areas, namely â€˜Le Mirail â€“ UniversitĂŠâ€™, â€˜La Reynerieâ€™ and â€˜Bellefontaineâ€™. Construction began in 1964 and was ďŹ nished in 1972. Three main housing typologies can be distinguished: Y-shaped apartment blocks, low-rise buildings and pavilion villas. The large â€˜unitĂŠsâ€™ are grouped around a number of community facilities including day-care centers, nursery schools, elementary schools, a secondary school, sport centers and a swimming pool, as well as a medicalsocial center,a housing unit for the elderly, a sociocultural center and a library. Large boulevards separate each area and integrate them within Toulouseâ€™s wider transport system. A single platform connects the three areas together and every
10 | 11
high-rise building includes galleries running along the 5th and 9th ďŹ‚oors. The project also introduced experimental trafďŹ c management systems in separating pedestrians from vehicular trafďŹ c. Functionalist principles favored a complete separation between living, working, recreation and trafďŹ c. The social structure of Le Mirail was designed to conďŹ gure a new community in which the residents could gather, meet and socialize. The housing was designed for a diverse population although mostly young families and newly arrived immigrants moved in. While ethnic households were initially underrepresented, the demographics rapidly changed and the proportion of tenants from low-income groups, large and â€˜foreignâ€™ families grew within a couple of decades. This pattern of changing social composition was seen not only in Toulouse, but also on a national scale in most mass housing projects.
Franceâ€™s history with collective forms of housing begins in 1894 with the establishment of an â€˜Affordable Housing Societyâ€™ (HBM) for less fortunate families and large households. At the end of the 19th century urban migration far outweighed the construction of new homes. That situation resulted in overcrowded urban centers and slums in the suburbs which led to the rapid deterioration of hygienic conditions. The social housing act of 1894 stimulated a number of housing philanthropists to construct affordable housing, mostly located in collective buildings. Today social housing still makes up a large proportion of the rent housing stock (40-50%) and is referred to as HLM (habitation Ă loyer modĂŠrĂŠ).
THE FUNCTIONAL CITY According to Le Corbusier, the Functional City positions the individual and the collective at the center of the design and societal processes of building cities. The 94 points manifests the intentions in rethinking the concept of the city, urban life and individual needs. 1
Linear blocks of various heights at angles of 90Â° or 120Â°, centered around a vertical core of transportation. With ďŹ ve, nine and 13 ďŹ‚oors buildings, this type allows for a preferred high density of 120 to 150 homes per hectare. Low-rise buildings articulated at a 90Â° angle, centered around
a staircase. This type of grouping allows for 75 homes per hectare, with a two to four ďŹ‚oor maximum. Pavilion-villas grouped in a horizontal system of low-density,
25 to 30 homes per hectare.
The city is only one element within an economic, social and political complex which constitutes the region Juxtaposed with economic, social and political values are values of a physiological origin which are bound up in the human person and which introduce concerns of both an individual and a collective order into the discussion. Life ďŹ‚ourishes only to the extent of accord between the two contradictory principles that govern the human personality: the individual and the collective. (A plan is well conceived when it allows fruitful cooperation while making maximum provision for individual liberty) High buildings, set far apart from one another, must free the ground for broad verdant areas. The keys to urbanism are to be found in the four functions, inhabiting, working, recreation (in leisure time), and circulation Urbanism is a three-dimensional, not a two-dimensional science. Introducing the element of height will solve the problem of modern trafďŹ c and leisure by utilizing the open spaces thus created. Once the city is deďŹ ned as a functional unit, it should grow harmoniously in each of its parts, having at hand the spaces and intercommunications within which the stages of its development may be inscribed with equilibrium The initial nucleus of urbanism is a cell for living â€“ a dwelling â€“ and its insertion into a group forming a habitation unit of efďŹ cient size. Private interest will be subordinated to the collective interest
1 FaĂ§ade of one of the blocks, quartier de la Bellefontaine 2 Housing estates map of Toulouse 3 Changing Toulouse red-brick colors. The â€˜grey concreteâ€™ new town of Le Mirail
Colonial mass architecture â€“ The North African Experience