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New Left Review I/11, September-October 1961


Max Neufeld

Architecture or Technology?

the sixth congress of the International Union of Architects, attended by 1,898 delegates from nearly 60 countries, met in London in July to discuss the theme “New Techniques and Materials —Their Impact on Architecture”. Considering that for the last fifty years one of the tenets of the Modern Movement has been the application of industrial and mass-production techniques to architecture, it might seem a little surprising that this subject should still be thought suitable for an IUA Congress. However, anyone looking at the state of building and architecture will readily understand that this is a problem with which neither architects nor their clients—the public—have yet come to terms. In practice, the architect stands completely helpless in the face of the mass housing needs all over the world, resulting not only from the rapid increase in population, but also from the legacy of bad housing from the past. Figures of such magnitude mean very little, but an apt illustration would be that 200 cities of 50,000 inhabitants each need to be built every year, merely to absorb the increase in world population. It is clear from the experience of the immediate past that this cannot be achieved by the present methods of building.

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