PhD ・ Academic Researcher ・ Architect

L'intelligence des formes

Open Access Book Project

Period: September 2019 – February 2020

Institution: Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Funding: Swiss National Science Foundation Open Access Books

Amount: 25,000 CHF

The urban policy experiments in Vienna and Frankfurt in the interwar period – Das rote Wien and Das neue Frankfurt – are still important references in the history of European public housing. The architectural models behind their design, the Hof in Vienna and the Siedlung in Frankfurt, represent the “extreme polarities” of housing built at that time. Although they have been the subject of numerous studies, the principle of complementarity that Alessandro Porotto detects through his rigorous analysis offers an original line of thought, both for the historical study and for the architectural potential of these achievements. Beyond the documentary understanding of the Viennese and Frankfurt experiences, the author conceives them as two paradigms of urban organisms fully belonging to the contemporary city.

Through this comparative study, crucial questions emerge regarding the collective housing project and its future evolution. Without dwelling on ideological prejudices, L’intelligence des formes presents a critical analysis from the city scale to the housing plan to present the results of these two alternative project models. Archival documents are used to support an exhaustive series of meticulous “redrawings” that reveal the complexities of these developments, allowing for easy comparison of their typological specificities. As Bruno Marchand points out in his preface, the author’s drawings form a very strong link between architecture and the urban environment. Combined with the text, they give the reader a key tool for understanding housing forms, their collective vocation and their intelligence.