CIDADES, Comunidades e Territórios Modernist High-Rises in Postwar Antwerp. Two Answers to the same Question

Els De Vos, Bergium Uantwerpen, Selin Geerinckx, Belgium Uantwerpen
2016 Comunidades e Territórios   unpublished
As recent international scholarship has shown, the Modern Movement was not as coherent as authors such as Sigfried Giedion or Nikolaus Pevsner have claimed. Postwar modernism in particular has many faces. Although architects produced similar housing typologies that are presented in collective works of social housing within the same category, the architects could still take different positions. By means of a comparative analysis of two radical modernist high-rise housing projects in Antwerp,
more » ... article demonstrates how the focus of the design of similar projects could still differ considerably. Designed by Renaat Braem, the Kiel housing estate (1953) in the south of Antwerp will be compared with Hugo Van Kuyck's Luchtbal housing estate (1954-1962) in the city's north. Although both complexes are social housing blocks raised on pilotis, they differ in size, concept, architectural quality and degree of detailing, but also in ideology and utopian content. Both architects shared a fascination for Le Corbusier's Ville Radieuse and for the Athens Charter (1933), and held a belief in progress and the need for a new idiom. At the same time, however, they have different ways of dealing with modernity. I will employ the analytical framework developed by architectural historian Sarah Williams Goldhagen (2000) to shed light on the architects' different positions on the social and political axes.