HERITO, No. 17–18: Cold War Modern Architecture

HERITO, No. 17–18: Cold War Modern Architecture

Today, “Cold War Modernism” has become fashionable. The appraisal continues, although hardly ever does it reach beyond the borders of someone’s own country. In this double issue of Herito, we expand the horizon of the discussion, to take a broader look at the architectural landscape of former “Communist democracies” and break away from the stereotype of the “concrete jungle style”.

The picture that emerges is indeed enticing: a generation of artists who remained unconnected and clung to their own path, while the international style of modernism was experiencing its heyday. In their own manner, they opposed the system, as they did not let themselves be pigeonholed into any doctrine, be it architectural or political. Despite the unbelievable scale of wartime damage and despite the need to “start from scratch”, they were the architects of continuity, faithful to the ethos of their profession and the inheritance of their predecessors. With these to fall back on, they developed their own, original language of architecture, and many of their works have gained the status of icons.

We are no longer looking at them with bias, as we stand closer to fulfilment of what Karel Prager addressed so frequently, namely, that new things are what people only have to get used to.

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