Urban Summer School

Lublin, Warsaw, Szumin
26 August – 8 September 2018

Completed works by one of the most discussed architectural tandems in post-war Poland, Oskar (1922-2005) and Zofia (1924-2013) Hansen, will become a testing ground for the duration of the Urban Summer School, that is, for two weeks. This international and interdisciplinary project is yet another instalment of the “Visions and Experiences” summer school, initiated by the Centre for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, and devoted to urban issues. We welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and young professionals operating in the field of architecture, urban planning, art and design, as well as representatives of other areas of humanities (history, sociology, fine arts, anthropology, and more). We extend invitation to all those interested in the present functioning, and the future of modernist housing estates.

The Open Form

On the Theory of the Open Form

Open Form is a concept that Zofia and Oskar Hansen have placed at the heart of their architectural, artistic and didactic work. According to this theory, architecture is the framework for life, and it works only when people actually use it. Architectural substance is the background for social relations, rather that the designer’s goal and an end in itself. The Hansens’ built projects were ahead of their time, in terms of thinking about participatory design, accessible housing, and public spaces. Their architecture was intended to provide a framework for everyday rituals and practices of its inhabitants. The synergy of circumstances, such as the accomplishments of architects centred round CIAM and Team X, the development of prefabrication technologies, and the pressure from the authorities of the People’s Republic of Poland, who were set upon rapid expansion of residential districts, became catalysts, enabling these architects—humanists to realise their vision. Mindful of the lack of individualized approach to public housing in the People’s Republic on Poland, they sought a form that would allow residents to become part of the process of creating the space around them.

The expression of the Open Form is found in three different projects that will be visited by participants of this year’s summer school: osiedle Słowackiego (housing estate) in Lublin, osiedle Przyczółek Grochowski (housing estate) in Warsaw, and the architects’ home in Szumin. For ten days, these three locations will become a laboratory of experience and reflection.

Housing heritage of modernity

Osiedle Słowackiego, belonging to the cooperative of Lubelska Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa, has long been an object of international interest, by virtue of its urban planning and architecture designed in the “human scale”. Determined to meet everyday needs of the community, the Hansens placed the inhabitant at the centre of their architecture, and they paid attention to proper infrastructure and greenery. Today’s users of these apartments, however, often feel that they are living in a neglected and degraded place. They point to the discrepancies between the concept and the implementation, as well as problems related to the aging of the development. A similar situation is found in the case of the second housing estate designed by the Hansens – the Przyczółek Grochowski in Warsaw. Impermanent materials, poor technical condition, and the failure of the social inclusion project conspired to build this negative image. Owing to the self-organization of residents, the condition of the estate is currently improving. Nonetheless, new challenges continue to arise, including the gated communities built in the immediate neighbourhood, which are changing the urban and social context of the housing estate.

A window to political transformation in the region

In the area managed by the housing cooperatives of Lubelska Spółdzielnia Mieszkaniowa and Spółdzielnia Przyczółek Grochowski, like in many Central European countries during the political transformation, free-market reality changed the way housing estates function, in particularly affecting their social, as well as retail and service infrastructure. Everyday habits of the residents changed, and along with that, so did the way public spaces work. For the first time since the establishment of such large-scale housing estates, they saw a generational change among the residents. The new tenants have neither the sense of being rooted in this reality, nor the experience of sharing responsibility for shaping the space of their housing estate. At the same time, housing estates erected during the People’s Republic of Poland remain an attractive alternative to the latest accommodations on offer from real estate developers. Their important advantages include affordability, ergonomic floor plans, and an abundance of greenery and open areas.

Structure

Outline of the program, and the school’s principles

Participants in the Urban Summer School will be able to look at the architecture founded on humanistic concepts, which is currently used by the third generation of inhabitants. From a historical perspective, the position of the Open Form Theory and the Linear Continuous System will be outlined against the background of the ideas of the Modern Movement related to the architecture of housing estates and open areas.

School participants will also look at the relationship between the interior of the home and its exterior – the housing estate, and the residential environment, more broadly defined. The structure of the school will be determined by the scales, which the designers themselves have used: the micro, meso and macroscale. They will be translated into the perspective of a flat, a housing estate, and a housing cooperative.

The participants will tackle the questions:

  • How does the open structure of the housing estate function, half a century from its construction?
  • What elements have been added, and how did the users themselves modify the Hansens’ projects?
  • How did the inhabitants use the opportunities for transforming space, resulting from the Open Form? Also, what aspects did not fit into the premises of the theory, and underwent reality check?
  • How do the users themselves evaluate the solutions proposed by the architects, 50 years later?
  • To what extent is it possible to design apartments accessible to the masses, in a way that addresses the individual needs of inhabitants?
  • What is the future of the late-modernist housing estates in the countries of Central Europe?
Working criteria for the Lublin Urban Summer School

The methodology of work has been developed by the Centre for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, and it is based on experiences from the previous editions of the summer school (www.lvivcenter.org/en/summerschools). Thematic summer schools are conducive to expanding the participants’ knowledge, providing them with an opportunity to learn about the latest perspectives and research topics in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, in particular relating to the region’s cities. The summer schools are designed to stimulate the formation of a milieu of young researchers who share common scientific interests.

INTERDISCIPLINARY CHARACTER

Understood as horizontal learning from each other, as formulating questions together, instead of merely proving the formulated theses.

ACTION RESEARCH

A method, which requires that the subjects become researchers. We welcome the involved residents, employees of social institutions, activists and others who have knowledge about the local community or the notions that accompany the creation and subsequent transformation of housing estates.

Thanks to these persons joining in, research becomes a common cause of various entities. The concept of the project was based on the assumption that the goal is change – rather than merely an objective diagnosis. The research has practical applications, mainly due to the fact that it is performed by practitioners cooperating with each other, and engaging the community at the stage of diagnosis.

IMPACT

We hope that the interest on the part of international authorities on the subject, and the effect of joint research carried out in interdisciplinary groups, will provide a significant and substantive contribution to the discussion about the prospects for maintaining a good quality of life in 20th-century housing estates.

AUTHENTICITY

We work in the actual space of housing estates, while respecting the privacy of their residents. In the course of our work, we build relationships with everyday users of the studied space, drawing from their knowledge and shared experience.

Tutors and lecturers:
Project’s commissioneers:

Izabela Pastuszko (Assistant Director, National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning)
Sofia Dyak (Director, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe)

Tutors:

Daria Bocharnikova (Architecture historian, KU Leuven, BOZAR – Centre for Fine Arts, Leuven/Brussels)
Originally from a small industrial town in the Urals, She lived and worked in Yekaterinburg and Saint Petersburg, undertook postgraduate studies in Italy and the US. Her research interests lie at the intersection of the history of modern architecture and urban planning and history of State Socialism. As a PhD researcher, She studied the history of the architectural profession in the Soviet Union from the early 1930s to the late 1960s. Her second undertaking–the international collaborative project, titled Second World Urbanity that She launched in 2012 together with Steven E. Harris–explores the history of urban planning, architecture, and everyday life in socialist cities across Eurasia and beyond. Currently She is based in Brussels where she started working for BOZAR (The Center for Fine Arts) and Catholic University of Leuven.

Michał Fronk (Architect, illustrator, cultural activist, landscape architect, Lublin)
A graduate of the Lublin University of Technology, Lublin University of Life Sciences and Reggio di Calabria in Italy. In professional practice, he is interested in: – compilation, modification and widening of functional, spatial, natural and social typologies; – confronting pragmatism with imagination; – the influence of everyday routines on the shaping of space; – breaking and opening paradigms of functionality and usability; – responsible design; – exhibition as a tool for over narrative reflection. Since 2010 he has been involved in projects of buildings and public space, projects and strategies of revitalization, as well as museum exhibitions and art exhibitions. He treats design as a way of thinking, reflection and learning, not just as a collection of tools or way of solving problems. Drawing is especially important for him, which he treats as an intellectual – intuitive work with visible and imagined reality.

Tomasz Fudala (Curator, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw)
Tomasz Fudala is an art historian and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. He is interested in architecture and the history of exhibitions, which was the subject to his project The Space Between Us. Curator of the WARSAW UNDER CONSTRUCTION FESTIVAL (2009-2017), organised by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and Museum of Warsaw, attempts to describe the character of Warsaw. His writings have appeared in Domus, Artforum, Odra, Obieg, Czas Kultury, and Autoportret.

Natalia Mysak (Architect and researcher, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Lviv)
Received a Masters of Architecture at the Lviv Polytechnic National University from the Department of Architectural Design and was a postgraduate student at the Department of Design and Fundamentals of Architecture (2013-2017). She completed an internship at the Vienna University of Technology (2013) and at the Department of Urban Studies at Malmö University (2015-2016). She is engaged in designing public spaces based on the participatory planning principles, including as a participant of the interdisciplinary initiative “Group 109”. At the Center for Urban History Natalia is researching late modernist architecture and city planning in Europe and their identities. Within her interests are visual arts and photography interconnected with research in the fields of urban studies and architecture.

Natalia Otrishchenko (Sociologist, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Lviv)
Natalia Otrishchenko is a research fellow and coordinator of “Urban Stories” project at the Center for Urban History. She obtained a PhD with a focus on “methodology and methods of sociological research” (2015, Institute of Sociology at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine), graduated from the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv’s History Department (2012), and from the Cross-Institutional Individual Humanity Studies (2011). She studied in the U.S. (Berea College), Slovenia (IEDC–Bled School of Management), taught at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. Natalia participated in a number of research projects: “Region, Nation and Beyond” (University of St. Gallen, Switzerland), “Memories of Vanished Populations” (Lund University, Sweden), and “Historical Cultures in Transition” (Warsaw, Poland). During last three years she was involved (either as tutor or as coordinator) in the organization of Urban Summer Schools. Her areas of academic interests include methodology and methods of sociological research, oral history, urban sociology and transformations after state socialism.

Paulina Paga (Socio-cultural animator, Lublin)
Initiator of the Museum of Housing Estates, in the Lublin Housing Cooperative. Laureate of the Scholarship of Minister of Culture and National Heritage. She facilitates the processes of involving residents in the life of their neighbourhoods. She creates situations of dialogue between local governments, business, social institutions, NGOs and residents. She designs the processes of “education in action”, she gained her first experience working for the Laundry Association in Birmingham, which focuses on strengthening dialogue in the transformation of the immediate area. She combines the anthropological and production perspective, she graduated from Cultural Studies at the University of Warsaw. She is the co-creator of the cross-sector platform Actors of Urban Change, created at the. R. Bosch Foundation in Berlin, supporting the processes of changes in the spatial relations of metropolises in the countries of the Eastern Partnership and Southern Europe. She runs the Open Land Foundation and her own business.

Project coordinators:

Kacper Kępiński (Architect, Educational project specialist at National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning)
Ilona Woźniak

Open programme

“Bloki”
August, 26th (Sunday), 18:30

documentary movie, Konrad Królikowski, Poland 2017, 57 min., Polish with English subtitles

The story of the gigantic apartment complexes, known as Bloki, built under communist rule. These reviled blocks were home to thousands of people. The architects of these buildings talk about how the blocks came about, while residents explain how they shaped their lives. The government set the architects a clear task, but they did not always submit without signs of frustration. A wonderful story about a past that, despite the depressing Bloki, is not reviled by everyone.

“The first housing estate of the Lublin housing cooperative. Between dreams and reality”
August, 27th (Monday), 17:30

Izabela Pastuszko, Associate Director of National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning, Warsaw

The end of the 1950s in Poland was the time when housing cooperative movements returned after the Second World War. This was also happening in Lublin. In 1957, the establishment of the Lublin Housing Cooperative was a response to the housing needs at the time. From today’s perspective, we can notice that the bold urban projects of the first housing estates as well as the entire district being created constitute a record of cooperation in the development of construction technologies with attempts to capture the human needs that architecture can fill. Was this marriage successful? Has the humanistic perception of design been reflected in late-modernist realizations of the former area of ​​the Lublin Pipes? An attempt to analyze the relationship between design technology and the broadly understood human needs, also in the socio-psychological dimension, will be taken to answer the question: how much is this modernist architecture of engineering, but how much art of designing the framework of human life? Have dreams of a new quality of housing reflected real performances?

Izabela Pastuszko – lawyer and art historian, is a PhD candidate at the Institute of History, Faculty of Humanities at UMCS, where she is working on her PhD thesis, titled “Late Modernism in Lublin. Between ideas and practice.” She graduated from post-graduate program for Cultural Managers at the Warsaw School of Economics. Author of the monograph on “Architecture of the University District in Lublin”. Initiator and founder of the Lublin Agora of Modernism; creator of the Lublin Days of Modernism Festival. In her professional career, she has been associated with the “Zachęta” National Art Gallery, UMCS Academic Centre for Culture “Chatka Żaka”, and the Municipal Monument Conservation Authority in Lublin. Member of the Lublin Society for the Encouragement of Fine Arts, and the Association of Art Historians. Author of scientific publications and articles in the press regarding the post-war architectural heritage of the city of Lublin. She participated in numerous educational projects promoting architecture and urban planning. In 2015, she joined the curatorial team that developed and produced the exhibition titled “(A)Symmetries. Contemporary art in the context of the museum”, shown at the Lublin Museum. In her current professional activity she focuses on searching for forms of universal education, and supporting research in the field of architecture and space.

“How to inhabit? – the answers of architects Zofia and Oskar Hansen.”
August, 27th (Monday), 18:30

Tomasz Fudala, Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw

The lecture will bring closer the profiles of Zofia and Oskar Hansen, the legendary pair of architects who devoted their most important joint projects to housing architecture. Lublin, Warsaw and Szumin are places where they tested their ideas and where the USS is taking place. From flats that meet the norms of the socialist economy and offer a modest but worthy standard, to the visionary projects of the Linear Continuous System to improve the housing of the future. And finally, the smallest, but rare in the architecture of the modern twentieth century, the example of wooden architecture – the Open Form manifesto realized in their own home located in the picturesque Bug River.

Tomasz Fudala is an art historian and curator at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. He is interested in architecture and the history of exhibitions, which was the subject to his project The Space Between Us. Curator of the WARSAW UNDER CONSTRUCTION FESTIVAL (2009-2017), organised by the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw and Museum of Warsaw, attempts to describe the character of Warsaw. His writings have appeared in Domus, Artforum, Odra, Obieg, Czas Kultury, and Autoportret.

Mass housing and local contexts: experience of modernist peripheries of Lviv and Malmö”
August, 28th (Tuesday), 18:30

Natalia Mysak, Center for Urban History of East Central Europe, Lviv

Mass housing construction was a response to the burning housing problem emerging in Europe after the WWII and was related to industrial restructuring. Modernist approaches in urban planning and architecture aimed at modernization of lifestyles of urban citizens and were interpreted differently in different political contexts. Large-scale residential estates appeared within the structures of many cities (and mostly on their peripheries) across the Europe, and in many cases, they remain an important component of the housing stock until today. However, the quantitative response to the housing problem of the late 20th century transformed into a new qualitative issue in the 21st century in terms of contemporary social challenges and ways of co-living in cities. The transformations of modernist housing estates are often guided by crucially different trends and are largely context-based. The lecture will offer the comparison of mass housing in Ukrainian and in Swedish contexts as illustrated by the large scale housing estates of Sykhiv in Lviv and Rosengård in Malmö, alternatively changing the lens from macro to micro, taking into account the interdependence between the physical form, spatial practices, and estates’s representations.

Natalia Mysak – Received a Masters of Architecture at the Lviv Polytechnic National University from the Department of Architectural Design and was a postgraduate student at the Department of Design and Fundamentals of Architecture (2013-2017). She completed an internship at the Vienna University of Technology (2013) and at the Department of Urban Studies at Malmö University (2015-2016). She is engaged in designing public spaces based on the participatory planning principles, including as a participant of the interdisciplinary initiative “Group 109”. At the Center for Urban History Natalia is researching late modernist architecture and city planning in Europe and their identities. Within her interests are visual arts and photography interconnected with research in the fields of urban studies and architecture.

“The Open Form Studio”
August, 30th (Thursday), 18:30

Zbigniew Libera, radical visual artist

Zbigniew Libera is an outstanding and radical visual artist, pioneer of Polish critical art. In a penetrating and intellectually subversive way, his works play on the stereotypes of contemporary culture. After the imposition of martial law, he was sentenced to one and a half years in prison for preparing and distributing anti-regime prints. His artistic talent, and the drawings made for his fellow prisoners helped him to survive that period. After his release in 1983, he started to make shocking videos that have preceded the wave of “body art” by a decade. In the mid-1990s, he started designing “Corrective devices” – objects transformed from products of mass consumption. Many of his works have entered the canon of world art, particularly the famous and controversial project of Lego. Concentration camp. For about ten years now, he has been primarily involved in the photographic medium, including the specificity of press photography – of how the media shape our visual memory and manipulate the image of history. Winner of many prestigious awards, including the “Culture Guarantee” (awarded to him twice), granted by TVP Kultura, and the Film Award, which enabled him to direct the first feature film, titled Walser (Filmpolis, 2015).

“Building modern housing across the Second World”
August, 31st (Friday), 17:30

Daria Bocharnikova, BOZAR (The Center for Fine Arts), Brussels

As of early 20th century, seeking to cope with the urban crisis and the “social question” intimately linked to the swift modernization and rapid growth of the cities in the late 19th century, modern states across the globe turned to building (mass) housing on unprecedented scale. This increased state intervention into the everyday lives of its citizens reached especially impressive levels across the Second World. From Revolutionary Russia to newly born states of Central Europe, from Cuba to China, from Tanzania and Vietnam to Yugoslavia, mass housing construction campaigns radically reshaped the physical and social landscapes, forever changing these countries and their citizens’ notions of home. In the popular imagery, inherited from the Cold War era, all these massive transformations are often associated with one building type – grey slabs that covered evenly these vast spaces. In this lecture I propose to tell a different story of building modern housing across the Second World refocusing our attention on the impressive diversity not only of building types and building technologies, but also of a remarkable array of actors involved in envisioning, building and inhabiting these new cityscapes. Building upon the recent scholarship and research findings of the collaborative project Second World Urbanity (www.secondworldurbanity.org), I will sketch out the approaches to modern housing developed in such different places as Poland and Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, Albania and Vietnam.

Daria Bocharnikova – Originally from a small industrial town in the Urals, She lived and worked in Yekaterinburg and Saint Petersburg, undertook postgraduate studies in Italy and the US. Her research interests lie at the intersection of the history of modern architecture and urban planning and history of State Socialism. As a PhD researcher, She studied the history of the architectural profession in the Soviet Union from the early 1930s to the late 1960s. Her second undertaking–the international collaborative project, titled Second World Urbanity that She launched in 2012 together with Steven E. Harris–explores the history of urban planning, architecture, and everyday life in socialist cities across Eurasia and beyond. Currently She is based in Brussels where she started working for BOZAR (The Center for Fine Arts) and Catholic University of Leuven.

“Integrated circuit – Western context of the work of Zofia and Oskar Hansen”
August, 31st (Friday), 18:30

Alicja Gzowska, National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning, Warsaw

The electronic element mentioned in the title, so-called bone, is a metaphor drawn from everyday life that allows to simplify in some way the way of functioning of some Polish architects in international circulation in the period after World War II. On a relatively small scale, this arrangement of individual, diverse and mutually interacting elements resembles transnational cooperation networks in which the Hansens entered such as CIAM, Team X or Groupe d’Études d’Architecture Mobile, which can be perceived as important components of larger, global galaxies. The aim of the lecture is to outline the place that the Hansens’ thought and creation occupied in the European constellation of architectural environments and to outline the ways in which the creators and their theories crossed the Iron Curtain barrier.

Alicja Gzowska works at National Institute of Architecture and Urban Planning, is a PhD candidate and lecturer at Warsaw University, concerned with structural art in postwar Poland. She is the co-author of books on polish postmodern architecture: Postmodernizm polski. Architektura i urbanistyka. Rozmowy z architektami (2013), Postmodernism is almost all right. Polish architecture after socialist globalization (2012). As an enthusiast of thin-shell concrete structures and railway architecture she wrote Szesnaście żelbetowych kwiatów. Nowy dworzec kolejowy w Katowicach (2012), a monograph on the recently demolished railway station in Katowice, Poland. She has collaborated as a researcher in international projects including South of East West (www.south-of-eastwest.net) focused on the transfer of architecture, urbanism, and building technology from European socialist countries to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East during the Cold War, and now leads an NCN research grant: Piotr Zaremba (1910-1993): The oeuvre and impact of urbanist and scholar in the age of globalized competence.

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