A Springboard for Complexity: The User as a Critique of Modernist Architectural Conventions, ca. 1960
This essay outlines the influence that the new guidelines and conventions introduced by the postwar representations of the user exerted on the design of collective housing during the period between ca. 1950 and ca. 1970. It analyzes the forces that brought them to the fore, its various meanings, the polemics it was part of, and fundamentally, how its instrumentalization ushered in a new agenda of heterogeneity – a process that allowed a drastic raising of the threshold of architecture’s formal and procedural complexity. The conclusions establish that what had been initially posited as a set of external demands on architectural design became a means by which the discipline was able to adapt and exert its influence on the new cultural conditions of what would later be described as the era of postfordism. The findings of the essay are based on a review of relevant primary sources as well as recent historiographical discussions of the architecture of the postwar period.