What makes mass housing representations so different, so appealing?

Chairs

Alexandra Areia

Carlos Machado e Moura

Abstract

References to mass housing complexes tend to balance between their generally unknown realities and the pervasive power of their representations. These are often nourished by emotional experiences fed by words and images conveyed in mass media and political discourse (especially when it comes to ghettos or problematic suburbs), as well as by multiple arrays of commercial, documentary and fictional representations of either everyday realities or aspirational imaginaries.

Complementarily, different types of media devices have entered the middle-class house throughout the time, rendering these mediations bidirectional. First print and radio, then tv and home cinema, then internet with all its devices, all progressively conquered their place in the domestic scene, permeating it with representations of itself. Eventually, the history of access to affordable housing became one that runs parallel and often intertwined with the history of media.

In reference to Richard Hamilton’s collage “Just what is it that makes today’s home’s so different, so appealing?” (for the exhibition “This is Tomorrow”, London, 1956) – which vividly displays the paradoxical nature of the modern notion of “home” simultaneously as a multi-media recipient and a mediated construction, both an object of desire and its avid consumer –, this session aims to confront the ambiguity of images and representations with the complex realities of mass housing living.

This session seeks papers that attempt to document and enquire various mediated explorations – either of the urban context, collective architectural structures, communal relations, domestic space, etc. – through different media formats – from illustration to photography, literature to comics, cinema to television, advertising to artistic practices. We aim to foster the understanding of how different media entangle different representations, and what might be the effects of these mediated relations of production/consumption within the mass-housing for the middle-class realm.

Short bio

Alexandra Areia

Architect. Researcher at DINÂMIA’CET-IUL, currently working as contracted researcher on the project “MCMH - Middle Class Mass Housing in Europe, Africa and Asia” [PTDC/ARTDAQ/30594/2017], member of COST Action CA18137. In 2018 worked as scholarship holder on the project “Coast toCoast – Late Portuguese Infrastructural Development in Continental África (Angola and Mozambique): Critical and Historical Analysis and Postcolonial Assessment” [PTDC/ATP-AQI/0742/2014]. Obtained PhD in 2019 (ISCTE-IUL, Lisbon) with a thesis on communication of architecture in filmic formats; Master degree in 2007 (UPC, Barcelona); Graduated in 2004 (UMinho, Guimarães). Writer at Jornal Arquitectos (J-A) in 2016-18, Programmer at Arquiteturas Film Festival Lisbon in 2014-16. In 2019 wrote for the book “Porto Brutalista” (Circo de Ideias) and co-edited “Um Mapa de Lisboa no Cinema" (Dafne/AML–Videoteca).

Carlos Machado e Moura

Architect (FAUP, 2006), postgraduate in Architectural Heritage (CEAPA-FAUP, 2013), researcher (CEAU-FAUP) and PhD candidate (PDA-FAUP). He collaborated with Italian agency Urban S.p.A. (2007-09), lectured at University of Florence (2009/10), integrated research projects on urban regeneration and practised as an architect in his office MAVAA. Co-author of “Casas Quinhentistas de Castelo Branco” (2008) and “Building Views” (2017), member of Jornal Arquitectos’ editorial team (2016-19), he was assistant curator of the “Physics of Portuguese Heritage” exhibition (DGPC, 2019) and OpenHouse Porto (2016). He is currently a member of COST Action 18126 “Writing urban places” and researcher of “(EU)ROPA” (CES-UC).

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suburbia II

Middle-class large housing complexes

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Funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Union

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suburbia II