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

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


← 282 | 283 →


(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.

Each researcher was invited to “adopt” one of the buildings and undertook the task to collect a broad range of written, material, visual and oral sources. The purpose was to observe the building in its entirety but also to analyze with the greatest possible attention some of the spaces that were related to it – a room, an apartment, the shared areas of a complex, or the part of the city in which the building was situated. The history of a building was supposed to cover the initial phases of design and construction but also its subsequent transformations and social uses over time (fig. 1). ← 283 | 284 →

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.