In preparation for the upcoming dissertation, I started to consider some overarching ideas in architecture that help give the discipline meaning and substance, beyond aiding in the development of our built environment. I dare say all architects are aware of the effect their buildings have on people, how a design could dramatically change the experience of a public or private space, and how, sometimes, architecture can even facilitate change in society.
Initially, my aim was to investigate the social agenda of modernist architecture and I might have (foolishly) started by looking at CIAM, Le Corbusier, and only going as far back as Otto Wagner. They all had underlying socialist ambiitions – trying to improve the quality of the built environment destined for the many, or even – “others”, but where did it all start? How did it get to the almost too prescriptive manifesto of CIAM?
There’s much to say on the subject, but here is a summary of the things I came across: