Six Points on an Architectural Historiography of the Global Cold War. A seminar with Łukasz Stanek – March 28th

PhD seminars series 2010-2011
The Historical Project: Whatever Happened to Operative History
Monday 28th March from 16.00 to 19.00 – J.J.P. Oud room
4th Seminar with Łukasz Stanek

Six Points on an Architectural Historiography of the Global Cold War

This talk presents the ongoing research project South of East-West. Post-Colonial Planning, Global Technology Transfer, and the Cold War in order to address the possibility of an architectural historiography of the global Cold War. In particular, this talk draws conclusions from the research carried out for the recent exhibition PRLT Export Architecture and Urbanism from Socialist Poland (Warsaw Museum of Modern Art (October 15-November 15, 2010). The exhibition uncovered widely unknown designs of architects and planners from People’s Republic of Poland (PRL) working during the Cold War to such countries as Iraq, Syria, Libya, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Kuwait, and United Arab Emirates. The architects, urban planners and engineers brought with them both the heritage of Polish inter-war architecture and their experience with large socialist building sites, such as the reconstruction of Warsaw and the construction of the socialist city of Nowa Huta, which they adapted to local climatic, cultural and technological conditions. Moving from an “export of modernism” towards an “export beyond modernism”, these projects testify about an introduction of new themes into the discourse and practice of post-war architecture, including that of politics of form, architectural research, and the relationship between the planned and the unplanned. At the same time, these designs provoke an investigation about their conditions of possibility: both the global competition and cooperation of architects and planners coming from two sides of the Iron Curtain, and the political economy of architectural labor in state socialism.