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Arkitektur och motstånd: Om sökandet efter alternativ i svensk arkitektur 1970-1980
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, History and Theory of Architecture.
2011 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Architecture and resistance : Alternative approaches in Swedish architecture 1970–1980 (English)
Abstract [en]

At the onset of the 1970s Swedish architecture showed noticeable signs of crisis, with failing confidence in architects and a general distrust in the future of architecture. Functionalism, the dominating architectural paradigm, was the root of the situation and the centre of contemporary debate. This thesis examines different alternative responses to the transition period that would follow, in particular how a growing awareness of the past played an important role in presenting answers to the cul-de-sac of contemporary architecture. This historical awareness is traced and analyzed in contemporary architectural discourse, written, exhibited or built. A parallel topic in the text is the historiography of the Swedish functionalist movement. This process was introduced by a few distinctive works at the beginning of the decade and came to an end, as it were, with events around 1980.

The study is concentrated to a book, an exhibition, a building and an anniversary. Different as they may seem, they all share the common trait of being critical responses to the situation of the day. They also inhabit a borderland between an established architectural paradigm and a quest for alternative solutions, often rooted in humanistic approaches and executed on an ambitious artistic level. Art historian Per G. Råberg’s PhD thesis Funktionalistiskt genombrott (The breakthrough of functionalism, 1970) is the first and so far most persistent analysis of the breakthrough of Swedish functionalism at the Stockholm exhibition of 1930. At the same time, the work is an important contribution to the historiography of the movement. In connection to this, two debates are studied (1972 and 1976 respectively) so as to give an account of the ongoing discussion. The exhibition ARARAT (Alternative Research in Architecture, Resources and Technology) in 1976, at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm, displayed an interpretation of architecture in the widest possible meaning. An alternative outlook, an open-minded approach to the vernacular and elements of experimental aesthetics made it a critical reaction to contemporary architecture. But the multifaceted exhibition also revealed a kinship with functionalism through its rationalistic approach. The building of the Museum of Ethnography (1978) illustrates the dynamics of the prevailing situation. The discrepancy between the red wooden paneling of the façade and the rectilinear concrete structure underneath it fuelled the debate and brought the questions of the relationship between the vernacular tradition and international modernism to the fore. Finally, the events around 1980 and the 50th anniversary of the Stockholm exhibition are juxtaposed with the first biennale of architecture in Venice the same year, an event that saw the definite breakthrough of post-modernism. In Sweden, this concept was scarcely discussed. Instead much effort was put into scrutinizing functionalism, telling obsolete elements apart from others that could be developed, eventually consolidating the critical reassessments of the 1970s and introducing a new chapter in the history of Swedish architecture.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Makadam , 2011. , 271 p.
Trita-ARK. Akademisk avhandling, ISSN 1402-7461 ; 11:04
Keyword [en]
Architecture, architectural history, architectural debate, Swedish 20th century architecture, 1970s, functionalism, post-modernism, historiography, mannerism, critical regionalism, Per G. Råberg, ARARAT, Etnografiska museet
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-45193ISBN: 978-91-7061-080-8OAI: diva2:451924
Public defence
2011-11-18, F3, Lindstedtsvägen 26, KTH, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
QC 20111027Available from: 2011-10-27 Created: 2011-10-27 Last updated: 2011-10-27Bibliographically approved

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