During the 1970s and 1980s architects in Czechoslovakia grew disaffected with sídliště (housing estates) built in the country since the late 1950s. By means of design and discourse they turned to historical typologies and advanced the concept of sídliště as meaningful living environments. In Postmodernism or Socialist Realism? The Architecture of Housing Estates in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia, Maroš Krivý argues that the historico-phenomenological turn manifested in late socialist housing estates in a revival of the pedestrian street, the urban block (perimeter and superblock), and the communicative façade. He further asserts that this turn drew inspiration and legitimation from both contemporaneous Western architectural postmodernism and domestic socialist realist architecture of the early 1950s. From the 1970s Czechoslovak postmodernists and “neo–socialist realists” credited historicity with ideological importance. But if the historico-phenomenological turn pointed to the reform of architectural industrialization for neo–socialist realists, for postmodernists it was a way of freeing architecture from its strictures.

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