I gave a lecture at the Politecnico di Milano, on December 14, on Socialist Architectures
Socialist architectures revisited: conceptions, evolutions and legacies
The current revival of the interest in socialist architectures is not only apparent in the field of architecture history but also in design, art and photography. Infrastructures and housing estates as well as monuments and public buildings are revisited and analyzed as materializations of a totalitarian ideology and as articulations of interactions between technology and aesthetics. Socialist architectures must be conceived in plural terms: the changing nature of socialist self-identification resulted in regular shifts in official aesthetics from Stalinist socialist realism towards International Style modernism at the scales of the interior, the building, the neighborhood and the city.
In my lecture I will look at the most important concepts of socialist architecture in their political, economic and technological context. While discussing the evolution of architectural forms, I will also talk about the ways in which the built environment was conceived in order to produce ‘socialist subjects’, the indispensable building units of a socialist society. Additionally, I will also address contemporary dilemmas of socialist architectures: the legacy of socialist buildings and its effect on contemporary evaluations of modernism.