The production of architects working in the postwar Eastern bloc remains largely absent from surveys of modern architecture and from the consciousness of most architects and historians outside the region. Unlike the global South and categories such as gender, race, environment, and everydayness, the Eastern bloc and the Communist world have not yet been widely embraced as essential topics for architectural history. Ana Miljački's The Optimum Imperative makes a compelling case that this absence is not simply a question of geographic inclusion; rather, it is better understood as a failure to engage with the political and material questions posed to capitalist architectural practices by histories of large-scale, state-funded design production. As Miljački states in her introduction, her project serves as an extended response to Western Marxists who have tended to dismiss “the intellectual contribution of the really realized Socialism, which thus detached Socialism from its key attempt at actualization, and...
Review: The Optimum Imperative: Czech Architecture for the Socialist Lifestyle, 1938–1968, by Ana Miljački
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Kimberly Elman Zarecor; Review: The Optimum Imperative: Czech Architecture for the Socialist Lifestyle, 1938–1968, by Ana Miljački. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 December 2020; 79 (4): 485–487. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2020.79.4.485
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