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Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland: Transformation, Symbolic Form and National Identity

Author/EditorUrban, Florian (Glasgow School of Art, U (Author)
ISBN: 9780367860738
Pub Date14/12/2020
BindingPaperback
Pages226
Dimensions (mm)246(h) * 174(w)
€41.14
excluding shipping
Availability: Available to order but dispatch within 7-10 days
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Garish churches, gabled panel blocks, neo-historical tenements-this book is about these and other architectural oddities that emerged in Poland between 1975 and 1989, a period characterised by the decline of the authoritarian socialist regime and waves of political protest. During that period, committed architects defied repressive politics and persistent shortages, and designed houses and churches which adapted eclectic historical forms and geometric volumes, and were based on traditional typologies.


These buildings show a very different background of postmodernism, far removed from the debates over Robert Venturi, Philip Johnson, or Prince Charles in Western Europe and North America-a context in which postmodern architecture stood not for world-weary irony in an economically saturated society, but for individualised counter-propositions to a collectivist ideology, for a yearning for truth and spiritual values, and for a discourse on distinctiveness and national identity.


Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland argues that this new architecture marked the beginning of socio-political transformation and at the same time showed postmodernism's reconciliatory potential. In light of massive historical ruptures and wartime destruction, these buildings successfully responded to the contradictory desires for historical continuity and acknowledgment of rupture and loss. Next to international ideas, the architects took up domestic traditions, such as the ideas of the Polish school of historic conservation and long-standing national-patriotic narratives. They thus contributed to the creation of a built environment and intellectual climate that have been influential to date.


This book will be of great interest to students and scholars interested in postmodern architecture and urban design, as well as in the socio-cultural background and transformative potential of architecture under socialism.

Garish churches, gabled panel blocks, neo-historical tenements-this book is about these and other architectural oddities that emerged in Poland between 1975 and 1989, a period characterised by the decline of the authoritarian socialist regime and waves of political protest. During that period, committed architects defied repressive politics and persistent shortages, and designed houses and churches which adapted eclectic historical forms and geometric volumes, and were based on traditional typologies.


These buildings show a very different background of postmodernism, far removed from the debates over Robert Venturi, Philip Johnson, or Prince Charles in Western Europe and North America-a context in which postmodern architecture stood not for world-weary irony in an economically saturated society, but for individualised counter-propositions to a collectivist ideology, for a yearning for truth and spiritual values, and for a discourse on distinctiveness and national identity.


Postmodern Architecture in Socialist Poland argues that this new architecture marked the beginning of socio-political transformation and at the same time showed postmodernism's reconciliatory potential. In light of massive historical ruptures and wartime destruction, these buildings successfully responded to the contradictory desires for historical continuity and acknowledgment of rupture and loss. Next to international ideas, the architects took up domestic traditions, such as the ideas of the Polish school of historic conservation and long-standing national-patriotic narratives. They thus contributed to the creation of a built environment and intellectual climate that have been influential to date.


This book will be of great interest to students and scholars interested in postmodern architecture and urban design, as well as in the socio-cultural background and transformative potential of architecture under socialism.

Florian Urban is a Professor of Architectural History and Head of History of Architectural and Urban Studies at the Glasgow School of Art. He was born and raised in Munich, Germany, and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of the Arts in Berlin, an MA in urban planning from UCLA, and a PhD in history and theory of architecture from MIT. He is the author, among others, of Neohistorical East Berlin: Architecture and Urban Design in the German Democratic Republic 1970-1990 (2009), Tower and Slab: Histories of Global Mass Housing (Routledge, 2012), and The New Tenement: Architecture in the Inner City since 1970 (Routledge 2018). In 2018-19 he was a Research Fellow at the German Historical Institute in Warsaw.

Introduction Postmodern Architecture Across the Iron Curtain Architectural Innovation Under a Weakening Authoritarian Regime Private Houses and Small Cooperatives Sacred Architecture and the Influence of the Catholic Church Methodology Literature Chapter Structure Chapter 1: Architectural Debates in Late Socialist Poland Poland around 1980 International Postmodernism and the Polish Discourse The Polish School of Historic Conservation In Search for Truth Expressing National Identity The Post-functionalist City Chapter 2: Churches, Semiotics, and Patriotism The Ascension Church in Warsaw-Ursynow A House of Prayer in a Socialist Complex Semiotics and Patriotism Resourcing "Outside the Plan" Lazienkowska Street Church, Warsaw Immaculate Heart of Mary in Srodborow near Warsaw Our Lady Revealing the Miraculous Medal, Zakopane Our Lady Queen of Poland, Glogow St Jadwiga, Krakow Seminary of the Resurrectionist Congregation, Krakow The Postmodern Church and the Functionalist Block Chapter 3: Bottom-Up Village Churches Neo-historicism in the Countryside St Lucia in Rembertow: Pastiche Deconstructivism St Michael the Archangel in Kamion: Neo-historicism as Criminal Offence St Francis of Assisi in Mierzowice: A Neo-medieval "Decorated Shed" Church Building and Disobedience Traditional and Forward-looking Chapter 4: Postmodern Mass Housing Complexes Humanising the Housing Complex Lodz-Radogoszcz-East and the Spirit of Structuralism Lodz-Rojna and the Customised Panel House Poznan-Rozany Potok and the Revised Modernist City Extension Krakow-Na Skarpie and the International Context Postmodern Mass Housing Chapter 5: Postmodernism from the Spirit of Historic Conservation - The New Old Town of Elblag A Postmodern Old Town Rebuilding Through the Backdoor The Unrealised Neo-historical Panel Plan Elblag Old Town and the Nikolaiviertel in East Berlin Postmodernism from the Spirit of Historic Conservation Momentum at the National Level Fledgling Market Capitalism The Realised House-by-House Design Completing the Old Town of Gdansk Postmodern Reconciliation Chapter 6: The Urban Context Warsaw Infills The Ursynow Arcades in Warsaw Socialist Gentrification in Wroclaw "Tooth fillings" in Lodz Historical Pastiche in Krakow Medieval Gables in Upper Silesia New Urbanism in Zielone Wzgorza near Poznan Conclusion Bridging Contradictory Desires Beyond Compliance and Dissidence Increasing Individual Agency National Narratives Symbolic Representation of Community Urban Regeneration Postmodernism Across the Eastern Bloc Postmodern Architecture, International Exchange, and Fluid Meaning Pronunciation of Polish Names Index of Buildings Index of Architects Index of Subjects

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