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The Ambiguous Legacy of Socialist Modernist Architecture in Central and Eastern Europe



  • Available for pre-order on April 7, 2023. Item will ship after April 28, 2023
ISBN 9781032289274
April 28, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
272 Pages 50 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book examines the unique socialist-modernist architecture built in the 20th century in Central and Eastern Europe, as a source of heritage and of existing and potential value for present and future generations. Due to the historical context in which it was created, such architecture remains ambiguous. On the one hand, the wider public associates it with the legacy of the unpleasant period of the real socialist economic regime. Yet, on the other hand, it is also a manifestation of social modernization and promotion of a significant proportion of the population.

The book focuses particularly on concrete heritage, a legacy of modernist architecture in Central and Eastern Europe, and it was this material that enabled their rebuilding after World War II and modernization during the following decades. The authors search for the value of modernist architecture and using case studies from Poland, Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Lithiania and Slovenia, verify to what extent this heritage is embedded in the local socio-economic milieu and becomes a basis for creating new values. They argue that the challenge is to change the ways we think about heritage, from looking at it from the point of view of a single monument, to thinking in terms of a place with its own character and identity that builds its relation to history and its embeddedness in the local space. Furthermore, they propose that preservation of existing concrete structures and adapting them to modern needs is of great importance for sustainability.

With increasing awareness of the issue of preserving post-war architectural heritage and the strategies of dissonant heritage management, this multidisciplinary study will be of interest to architecture historians, conservators, heritage economists, urban planners and architects.

Table of Contents

Introduction  1. Modernism, socialism and concrete in CEE countries – a controversial heritage  1.1. Modernism in architecture – universal genesis vs CEE uniqueness  1.2. Socialist modernism in architecture as part of the modernisation policy in CEE countries  1.3. Concrete in post-war architecture: new possibilities for a new society  1.4. Soc-modernism architecture after socialism: the problem of dissonant heritage  2. The interdisciplinary character of heritage value  2.1. The concept of value in philosophy and economic thought  2.2. Value in the theory of monuments  2.3. Architectural heritage as an urban common good  2.4. Architectural heritage as a territorial capital  2.5. Heritage surroundings and its value from the societal and spatial order perspective  3. Towards a methodology of valuating ambiguous heritage  3.1. The review of research on valuating soc-modernist architecture  3.2. Ambiguous heritage and architecture  3.3. The classification of heritage valuation methods  3.4. Cost-benefit analysis as a response to the complexity of heritage development  3.5. Warsaw Ochota Railway Station, Poland – valuating soc-modernism in the daily life  4. The protection of ambiguous legacy in CEE countries – case studies  4.1. The Railway station in Katowice, Poland – from destruction to value discourse  4.2. The Buzludzha Monument, Bulgaria – the struggle of socmodernism heritage with nature and political controversies  4.3. Central Post Office in Skopje – the memory of the socialist reconstruction in the process of oblivion  4.4. Palace of Concerts and Sports in Vilnius, Lithuania – sports utility vs difficult history and dissonant heritage  4.5. Republic Square in Ljubljana, Slovenia – the beginnings of statehood and every day of the capital’s civic life  Summary  Bibliography

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Author(s)

Biography

Mariusz E. Sokolowicz is a scholar and urban activist, professor at the Faculty of Economics and Sociology, University of Lodz (Poland) and is the Chair of the Department of Regional Economics and Environment. He specializes in urban and regional studies, institutional economics, place marketing, and economics of proximity. For several years, he worked as a real estate manager and advisor, as well as a local government official responsible for the town centre revitalisation project.

Aleksandra Nowakowska is professor at the University of Lodz (Poland) in the Department of Regional Economics and Environmental Protection and Head of the Institute of Urban and Regional Studies and Planning. Her main areas of scientific interest are development and local policy, innovative methods and tools for managing the development of cities, smart city, development strategies of cities and regions.

Blazej Ciarkowski is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Art History, University of Lodz (Poland). He is the leader of the research team in international project "InnovaConcrete – Innovative materials and techniques for the conservation of 20th century concrete-based heritage”. His research interests focus on modernist architecture, mutual relations between architecture and politics, preservation and conservation of modernist architecture.