Architects from Socialist Countries in Ghana (1957–67): Modern Architecture and Mondialisation discusses the architectural production of the Ghana National Construction Corporation (GNCC), a state agency responsible for building and infrastructure programs during Ghana’s first decade of independence. Łukasz Stanek reviews the work of GNCC architects within the networks that intersected in 1960s Accra, including competing networks of global cooperation: U.S.-based economic institutions, the British Commonwealth, technical assistance from socialist countries, support programs from the United Nations, and collaboration within the Non-Aligned Movement. His analysis of labor conditions within the GNCC reveals a negotiation between Cold War antagonisms and a shared culture of modern architecture that was instrumental in the reorganization of the everyday within categories of postindependence modernization. Drawing on previously unexplored materials from archives in Ghana, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States, the article reveals the role of architects from European socialist countries in the urbanization of West Africa and their contribution to modern architecture’s becoming a worldwide phenomenon.
During World War II, interest in indigenous South African architecture deepened, leading to studies that challenged modernism and influenced architectural design. Histories of Exchange: Indigenous South Africa in the South African Architectural Record and the Architectural Review remaps the tension between modern and indigenous cultures during the 1940s and 1950s, examining the diaspora of ideas between South Africa and Britain and revealing a new genealogy of postwar architecture. Elisa Dainese addresses indigenous South African architecture as it was seen in the postwar years from the perspectives of two architectural magazines. In doing so, she provides a new theoretical framework that probes the role of architectural journals, considering them as alternative spaces where contact took place among European and African cultures.
The Cultural Center: Architecture as Cultural Policy in Postwar Europe examines how culture became an explicit domain of state policy in postwar Europe and why the modern architecture of cultural centers and culture halls became central to such policy. Kenny Cupers uses a variety of archival and primary sources to analyze maisons de la culture in France and Kulturpaläste or Kulturhäuser in the German Democratic Republic during the 1960s and 1970s. Focusing on the roles of bureaucrats, policy makers, and designers, he reveals how architecture articulated cultural politics in which participation was harnessed to bolster the intervention of the state in everyday life—whether through unqualified support, as in France, or through often-oppressive regulation, as in the GDR. This premise is what shaped the design approaches of programmatic integration, polyvalence, and communication for new cultural institutions across the Cold War divide.
Locating modernity’s unfinished project in the historical matrix of Iran, Louis Kahn’s Silent Space of Critique in Tehran, 1973–74 examines Louis Kahn’s master plan for a new civic center in Tehran. The 1970s witnessed a period of contention between political and cultural visions of modernity in Iran: as the shah’s state fabricated progress through a series of development plans, the queen’s reformist second court sponsored cultural and preservationist projects. This strife over modernity in Iran was reflected in Kahn’s design as form, space, and program. Shima Mohajeri shows that Kahn’s layout for a modern public space in Tehran concerned the development of an ethical attitude toward architectural modernity in a non-Western context as well as constituted a silent resistance to Iran’s sociopolitical reality and its spaces of representation.