Housing Adaptation: The Fall and Rise of Modernist Residential Districts
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CitationPablos, Adriana. 2021. Housing Adaptation: The Fall and Rise of Modernist Residential Districts. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractThis thesis analyzes design strategies used to adapt modernist housing projects. During the first decades of the twentieth century, the modernist residential district was designed as the new and standardized form of collective living in response to the mass relocation of workers from the countryside into urban production centers. These districts became the most widespread manifestation of Modernist architecture, housing millions of civilians worldwide. From the turn of the twentieth-first century, these projects face physical degradation, cultural obsolescence, and socio-economic challenges. In response, we are witnessing an unprecedented number of demolitions and adaptations of these architectures. Demolition is problematic because it necessitates the eviction of residents, typically elderly and low-income, and discards usable material and energy. In contrast, adaptation becomes a vehicle for social, environmental, and cultural regeneration of cities.
Through the analysis of one hundred case studies across the world, this research reveals six distinct spatial strategies of adaptation: addition, subtraction, diversification, reprogramming, camouflaging, and augmentation. The thesis deepens understanding of eighteen case studies turning the architectural, urban, and landscape practices deployed to enable this work and their impacts on communities into visible objects of contestation and debate. Collectively, these cases describe a renewed role for designers supporting the adaptation of modernist housing projects rather than their neglect, abandonment, or demolition.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367867