Show Less
Restricted access

Post-War Middle-Class Housing

Models, Construction and Change

Edited By Gaia Caramellino and Federico Zanfi

Post-war middle-class housing played a key role in constructing and transforming the cities of Europe and America, deeply impacting today’s urban landscape. And yet, this stock has been underrepresented in a literature mostly focused on public housing and the work of a few master architects.
This book is the first attempt to explore such housing from an international perspective. It provides a comparative insight into the processes of construction, occupation and transformation of residential architecture built for the middle-classes in 12 different countries between the 1950s and 1970s. It investigates the role of models, actors and policies that shaped the middle-class city, tracing geographies, chronologies and forms of development that often cross national frontiers.
This study is particularly relevant today within the context of «fragilization» which affects the middle-classes, challenging, as it does, the urban role played by this residential heritage in the light of technological obsolescence, trends in patterns of homeownership, as well as social and generational changes.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

I.1 The Middle-Class Dwelling Unit: Architectural Theory, Lifestyle and Marketing in France, 1945–1965


← 38 | 39 →


(Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture Paris-Belleville)

I.1 The Middle-Class Dwelling Unit: Architectural Theory, Lifestyle and Marketing in France, 1945–1965

Between 1945 and 1965, a series of unprecedented transformations occurred in French society. After a period of division and scarcity in a country annihilated by war, the government attained a new level of legitimacy1. The period of the Trente Glorieuses2 [Thirty Glorious Years] began with new prospects for the future, including the nationalization of key economic sectors and the development of the tertiary activities, long-term regional planning policies and the transition to an urban country, the birth of consumer society and the premises for objections to it.

This modernizing fever did not fail to address the issue of housing from a completely new angle. Once they had rebuilt their ruins, the French started to discover new forms of housing essentially built under the State’s leadership. They would be modern, hygienic and dedicated to all the people living in sub-standard conditions. Within the span of just a few years, some cities would be built from the ground up in the middle of nowhere, while others would be transformed more radically than they had been over the course of several centuries (fig. 1). How did this colossal project, closely linked to the modernisation of French society and dedicated to a very broad spectrum of the population, manage to alter the conception and the representations of basic home architecture...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.