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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.
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III.3 “Stories of Houses”: Observing Post-War Middle-Class Housing in Italy

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FILIPPO DE PIERI

(Politecnico di Torino)

III.3 “Stories of Houses”: Observing Post-War Middle-Class Housing in Italy

On surface, the Stories of Houses project can be easy to describe. For slightly more than two years, between 2011 and 2013, a group of nearly thirty researchers, guided by four coordinators, dedicated some time to the reconstruction of the history of nearly thirty buildings situated in three large Italian cities: Milan, Rome and Turin. The buildings shared some broad chronological, typological and social features. They had all been erected between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s; they were collective apartment houses built mostly as condominiums or by cooperatives; and they could all be described, with various nuances, as “middle class” buildings, although such a definition could hide a remarkable variety of social situations1.

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