Session details


Panayotis Tournikiotis (National Technical University of Athens) and Konstantina Kalfa (National Technical University of Athens)


Internal Immigrants,  Modern House, Self-help House-building


In the aftermath of WWII, internal migration led to new and pressing housing demands. New slums were created and met, to a certain extent, by State-planned schemes which were either furthering the well-established pre-war policy of housing blocks or developing a new type of housing provision which involved the migrants in the construction of their own houses (the so-called "aided self-help" system). A third approach soon emerged out of private initiative, which involved self-help cooperative house-building practices applied en masse, under State tolerance, or even after official incentive policies. These practices engaged the land, capital and labour of future occupants and small-time construction companies, thus prescribing an approach to house-building as well as to real estate which differs from large-scale projects of urban development. This third approach to housing is the focal point of the session. An indicative example is the case of the Greek postwar city. Rural migrants that vastly increased the Athenian and other Greek cities' population between 1950 and 1970, found themselves transforming the city through a popular contract of exchange of land for new apartments on this land, known as antiparochì. Antiparochì spread the typical modern-inspired mid-rise apartment block, the polykatoikìa, creating a sense of progress, prosperity and modernization, from the level of everyday facilities to the overall image of the city.

Paraphrasing Friedman's groundbreaking study "Women and the Making of the Modern House" (1998), “Internal Immigrants and the Making of the Modern House” aims to gather similar examples of house-building practices that expand our perception of the possible strands and forms of architectural modernity and the subjects that produce and/or consume it. Furthermore, it wishes to challenge the very concept of the "modern house," advancing beyond the masterpieces of modernism and the established cultural centers of modernity. It also aspires to develop critical stances toward the perception of such examples of mass embracement of "alternative" modernization paths and homeownership as an exclusively bottom-up phenomenon. The examination of the administrative, political and economic context and the impact of Cold War politics in the making of the modern house by internal immigrants are crucial for the understanding and comparative examination of the different cases.

Overall, the session advances beyond theorizations of historical instances of cooperative house-building practices, idealized as unique, bottom-up, spontaneous approaches to housing or, at the antipode, criticized as failed attempts and incomplete transitions to modernity. Our aim is to gather papers that will enable us to critically revisit and investigate patterns of similarities or map out structural differences between various cities and countries, and between various periodizations of history, toward a more global understanding of the phenomenon. 


Co-operative Housing in State Socialist Lithuania as a Field of Architectural and Social Experimentation


Marija Drėmaitė (Vilnius University)


Soviet Cooperative Housing, Artist Cooperative Housing, Post War Housing


Three types of housing tenure existed in the post-war Soviet Union: along with the state-owned and the private, co-operative housing was first introduced in the 1920s as a suitable type of housing tenure to encourage collective living. It was abolished by Stalin in 1937 and it was revived and officially sanctioned again in 1962 as a result of the prohibition of single-family home construction in large cities in the 1960s. Co-operative apartment arrangements meant that residents contributed their own funds to housing construction, thereby shortening their time on the waiting list and securing the opportunity to build an apartment that was larger than what may have been allocated to them according to regulations. Politically, co-operative housing promised a solution to the difficult situation posed by the well-known Soviet apartment shortage. The diversity of co-operative housing design increased in the late Soviet period, with an ever increasing number of petitions for permits to design custom plans. Cooperative housing also served as a field for experimentation for architects eager to express more varied planning ideas. Other advantages included a better selection of building materials, more comfortable apartment layouts and, even more importantly, better neighbourhood. From a social perspective, the process accelerated the concentration of more affluent urban dwellers. In the paper the questions of co-operative housing initiative, design and social value are discussed, presenting a hypothesis that the acquisition and consumption of co-operative housing helped to shape a Soviet middle class.

From State-led to Aided Self-help: Marshall Plan and Workers’ Housing Cooperatives in Turkey


Sıla Karataş (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne EPFL Laboratory of Urbanism Lab-U)


Marshall Plan, Turkey,  Workers’ Housing Cooperatives


This paper aims to analyze the transnational discourse behind the programmatic shift in spatial production and layout of workers’ housing in Turkey from the state-financed model of the interwar period to the aided self-help model by the introduction of the Marshall Plan after the World War II. In particular, the paper argues that the ideological and spatial discourse of the Marshall Plan indoctrinating ‘democracy, cooperation and freedom’ instrumentalized workers’ housing cooperatives in housing production for the promotion of postwar Americanization.

Turkey, like other participating countries of the Marshall Plan, witnessed domestic migration as a result of rapid urbanization due to industrial and infrastructural development as well as agricultural mechanization, which were guided by financial and technical assistance programs of the United States and the United Nations, and thus a great housing shortage and construction boom at the peripheries of cities. Cooperative housing was popularized by the state as a low-cost and efficient production model against housing shortage, but rather as an element of Fordist decentralization, and to realize the productive and affluent middle class ‘worker’ of the postwar welfare state.

Based on workers’ pension funds released from the Workers’ Insurance Agency and loaned by the Mortgage Loans Bank, the legislative and institutional layout of this self-help model eliminated the state-financed technocratic practice of the interwar period for rental housing, and introduced a mortgage-based community practice of workers for homeownership, which pioneered the current private real-estate development. This housing practice also guided modern urbanization and urban sprawl by settlement morphologies and architectural typologies, which shifted from single-family detached house to multi-family housing block due to the rise of land prices and construction costs, and which made apartment block on individual parcel as the common practice of modern housing in Turkey.

Official documents and reports prepared by foreign experts as well as practices of political bodies, planners, architects and workers will be referred next to exemplary settlements to reveal the role of the Marshall Plan and related transnational expertise on planning and architectural practice of workers’ housing, and on political and spatial programming of the aided self-help model for postwar Americanization.

The Finnish Joint Stock Housing Company in Helsinki as a New Urban Working Classes' Form of Self Help for Rehousing, Architecture and Modernization


Juhana Heikonen (Aalto University)


Rehousing, Housing Company, House Ownership Legislation


The Finnish "Asunto-osakeyhtiö" is a similar housing arrangement to various condominium, Wohnungseigentürmergemeinschaft, etc. However, since the Finnish arrangement is legally a joint stock company, and thus, it is a part of the law regulating any joint stock companies owned by its shareholders, this makes the history of mass housing in Finland slightly different to the rest of Europe. In practice this means jointly shared real estate is built, traded and administered as a joint stock company (further on company).

The history of this arrangement starts from the 19th century but was regularized into a sub-law in 1926. This occurs at the same time when Finland started to urbanize and the housing shortage was dire. The law had two implications: first it enabled the home owner to borrow money against the stock and secondly, it abled the company itself to borrow money from the banks. Thus, the banks were able to lend off-shore, which was crucial for the Grand Duchy of Finland (independent 1917) short of capital. Founding a company was surprisingly effective way to battle the housing shortage and it was also favored by the mainly social democratic cooperatives which functioned as umbrellas to their members.

The founders of these companies were varied: municipalities, religious organizations, property developers, banks, cooperatives and collegiates. The latter could be anything from university professors to railroad workers. Before WW2 the state, or any other official, did not fund these building projects. What is interesting is how these various socio economic groups financed, planned and executed their building programs.

After WW2 11% of the population had to be re-housed due to the land concessions to Soviet Union (1944). This was done by land collectivization and mainly with new single family wooden type houses that were mostly self built outside the cities. Due to the objections of the bigger cities a new rehousing law (1949) was given to state fund also these companies and their new share holders (hard hit by the war and with no capital). This caused almost overnight newspaper advertisements to call up for meetings to set up new companies for housing. Due to the self organizing nature of these companies they proved to be very successful.

This paper seeks to explore this development between 1900 and 1960. This paper's focus is on the economically lowest segments of these newly founded housing companies and what kind of architecture they built as clients.

Urbanophilia' VS 'Urban Reconstruction' across the Greek Political Spectrum in the Early 60s


Christos Kritikos (National Technical University of Athens)


Urbanophilia, Antiparochi, Political, Discourse


A recent research in the archives of the Greek parliament proceedings from the period between 1946 and 1967 has uncovered a great deal of primary evidence concerning the political discourse around the legislation and policies that are connected to post-war internal migration and urban reconstruction. Two specific parliament conversations from the early 60s have been chosen to examine the spectral political discourse concerning two different but correlating subjects: the greek ‘problem of urbanophilia’ and the benefits of private small-scale investment that resulted in a – positive at the time - ‘building frenzy’.

On 22 February 1961, G.Mavros shares a critique of the rising wave of ‘urbanophilia’, allegedly caused by the K.Karamanlis administration’s lack of proper developmental and infrastructural planning for the province. A conversation concerning the institutional, infrastructural and even educational centralization that may have created the ‘urban monster’ of Athens begins, revealing opinions stemming from all sides of the political spectrum and commonly accepting the negative aspects of internal migration.

On 9 August 1962, G.Mavros opposes a legislation act that would limit the flourishing building activity in the Greek cities, stating that the latter benefits citizens of all classes and professionals from all sectors. The following conversation addresses the benefits of small-scale private ownership but also of the building activity, both ‘keeping people in the capital and in the cities and keeping them from leaving the country’, while of course supporting the national economy. The typical modern inspired mid-rise apartment block (polykatoikìa) is described as the ‘people's house’.

The choice of the dates is related to the fact that the official incentive policies that had favored the reconstruction of Athens had already been systematized with the implementation of the KH' Psifisma (1947) that partially led to the system of ‘antiparochì’ and the prevalence of the mid-rise apartment block in urban environments.

This paper aims to reveal the ambiguity in the political discourse of a specific period that addressed the ‘Making of the Modern House’ and the Greek urbanization as two separate issues with different repercussions, despite their common institutional context.