The professionalization of housing design in Amsterdam, 1909-1919
Housing design in Amsterdam, 1909-1919
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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Housing design became an issue of public policy in Amsterdam when population growth spawned rapid urban expansion in the late nineteenth century. Dissatisfied with social, hygienic, and aesthetic aspects of the recent housing construction, between 1908 and 1919 the Amsterdam municipal council approved 87 housing projects to be built by housing societies and the municipality itself under the auspices of the 1902 Housing Act. In the attempt to improve housing design by public means and for collective benefit, the municipality drew on expertise from a variety of professions: medicine, architecture, law, and social work. However, the professionalization of housing design generated a number of conflicts: struggles between professions for authority, disagreements between laymen and experts, between middle and working class values, and between political and cultural progressives and conservatives. A close investigation of the first 87 housing projects, the societies which built them, and the experts who shaped them, reveals fundamental dilemmas in the professionalization of housing design. Experts had to perform two potentially conflicting tasks: 1) to advance their profession and its discipline; 2) to serve the collective needs of a socially diverse society. In the case of the plan, housing professionals attempted to standardize the type, but the diversity of views represented by the various housing societies succeeded to a limited extent in expressing a pluralism of forms. In the case of the facade, the strength and autonomy of the architectural profession succeeded in using housing design as an opportunity to advance the, discipline through the development of an innovative style, but the commitment to a partisan aesthetic position which was necessary for that development conflicted with the government's requirement for official neutrality. Amsterdam serves not only as an model of housing reform, but also as a demonstration of the dilemmas inherent to public professional service in pluralist societies.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1986.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCHIncludes bibliographical references (v. 3, leaves 676-693).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology