The two-part roundtable Constructing Race and Architecture 1400–1800 consists of brief “think pieces” that examine issues related to the intersection of race and architecture from around the globe during the period 1400–1800. The first part of the roundtable appeared in the September 2021 issue of JSAH, and Part 2 appears in this issue, featuring contributions by Rachel A. A. Engmann, Laura Fernández-González, Mark Hinchman, Dana E. Katz, Khaled Malas, Peter Minosh, Garth Myers, Jason Nguyen, Ikem Stanley Okoye, Senam Okudzeto, and, Ünver Rüstem.
Through a reconstruction of the murky process involved in the design of the Hajj Terminal at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Matthew Allen examines how computational expertise negotiated a new role for itself within the hierarchy of late twentieth-century corporate architecture. In The Genius of Bureaucracy: SOM’s Hajj Terminal and Geiger Berger Associates’ Form-Finding Software he explores how Henry-Russell Hitchcock’s rubric of “the architecture of genius and the architecture of bureaucracy” played out in a situation where the two ideals converged. Unusual among other large corporate firms, SOM not only invested in computation early on but also leveraged computer-generated images to promote its practice. Examination of SOM’s printouts from the Hajj Terminal project reveals the pervasive presence of the lower ranks of the corporate hierarchy—particularly the engineering subconsultants Geiger Berger Associates, who developed unique software for engineering tensile structures. In this contest between decisive SOM designers such as Gordon Bunshaft and Fazlur Khan and engineering paperwork, a new understanding of “the computer” emerged that congealed around the concept of form-finding, or “smart” digital modeling.
In the early 1960s, amid affluence, loneliness, and increasing longevity, a new type of community appeared in the United States: the “active-retirement complex,” with thousands of houses and/or apartments and an unprecedented range of communal facilities. Though such communities were instantly popular, skeptics likened the first examples to internment camps, and to deflect such critiques, developers like Ross Cortese began to prioritize design. In Retirement Planning: Charles Warren Callister, the Neighborhood Unit, and the Architecture of Community at Rossmoor and Heritage Village, Matthew Gordon Lasner describes how Cortese hired acclaimed San Francisco Bay Area architect Charles Warren Callister, known for his innovative private and ecclesiastical commissions, to design a new retirement community known as Rossmoor, located in the East Bay suburb of Walnut Creek. Long interested in housing reform, Callister attempted to serve the needs of seniors, especially their needs for community and activity, by employing a village plan and arranging the housing in “neighborhoods” around clustered courtyards, both at Rossmoor and at a later project, Heritage Village in Connecticut. Lasner’s study examines the experiences of residents of Callister’s complexes to determine whether this approach, which was rooted in theory rather than gerontological research, “worked” as intended.
Transforming the Architecture of Food: From the Soviet to the Post-Soviet Apartment focuses on the changes to urban domestic architecture and food-related spaces—those for eating, cooking, and storage—that occurred parallel to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In this article, Kateryna Malaia traces a path from standardized Soviet apartment housing built and regulated by the state to the implementation of architectural and spatial solutions by individual apartment dwellers and designers in the post-Soviet years. From the 1980s through the early 2000s, such remodeling projects affected late- and post-Soviet architectural imagination and urban apartments en masse, coinciding with ephemeral yet important changes in domestic practices. To navigate these complex transformations, Malaia questions traditional architectural programmatic labeling—kitchen, dining room, family room, open plan—within the late- and post-Soviet context. Drawing on both archival and popular sources as well as interviews with apartment dwellers, architects, and engineers collected in the post-Soviet urban centers of Kyiv and Lviv in Ukraine, this study shows how the grassroots adaptation of standardized apartment housing at this time echoed new economic and political circumstances. Malaia’s analysis of changes in food-related spaces and practices provides a critical index of the widespread social impact of the collapse of the Soviet Union in everyday architecture and life.