1st Edition

The Ideal of Total Environmental Control Knud Lönberg-Holm, Buckminster Fuller, and the SSA

By Suzanne Strum Copyright 2018
    236 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    250 Pages 48 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book traces the ideal of total environmental control through the intellectual and geographic journey of Knud Lönberg- Holm, a forgotten Danish architect who promoted a unique systemic, cybernetic, and ecological vision of architecture in the 1930s. A pioneering figure of the new objectivity and international constructivism in Germany in 1922 and a celebrated peer of radical figures in De Stijl, the Bauhaus, and Russian constructivism, when he emigrated to Detroit in 1923 he introduced the vanguard theory of productivism through his photography, essays, designs, and pedagogy. By following Lönberg- Holm’s ongoing matrix of relations until the postwar era with the European vanguards in CIAM and former members of the Structural Study Associates (SSA), especially Fuller, Frederick Kiesler, and C. Theodore Larson, this study shows how their definition of building as a form of environmental control anticipated the contemporary disciplines of industrial ecology, industrial metabolism, and energy accounting.

    Acknowledgements  Introduction  1. Knud Lönberg-Holm: A Productivist Architect in America  2. Monuments and Instruments: The SSA and the International Style  3. Industrial Emancipation and Technocracy in the 1930's  4. Sweets Catalog and Repro-Shelter  5. Information Architectures  6. The Archetype of the Invisible Architects of Invisible Architectures  Bibliography  Index 


    Suzanne Strum is an architect and scholar whose research focuses on the interrelation of technology and design. She teaches in international programs in Barcelona and was previously Co-Director of the Metropolis Master in Architecture and Urban Culture at the Centre of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), Spain, as well as a lecturer at Elisava School of Design. She has a master’s degree from Columbia University and a doctorate in the Theory and History of Architecture from the UPC, and is a recipient of the SAH/Mellon Author Awards in 2017.

    "From energetics and automatism to information and development, this trenchant and wide-ranging account of the Americanization of Soviet productivism via Knud Lonberg-Holm and his sphere of associates is a much-needed synthesis of those figures who advocated for a more instrumental modern architecture. In correlating Lonberg-Holm’s intellectual trajectory with his collaborative work in the organization and integration of American architectural practice and industrial production, Suzanne Strum foregrounds a figure whose self-imposed invisibility allowed for a pivotal role in shaping American architecture."

    Glenn Forley, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons School of Design, New York, USA.


    "By focusing on the personal and intellectual trajectory of Knud Lönberg-Holm, an intriguing, lesser-known Danish modern designer, Suzanne Strum unfolds a refreshing review of the architectural debate in the 1930s around Structural Study Associates (SSA) and Fuller --in addition to a renewed view on the transfer of architectural ideas between Europe and North America in the first half of the twentieth century."

    Xavier Costa, Professor of Architecture, Northeastern University, Boston, USA