CIAM 9: Urban Re-identification Grid

At CIAM’s ninth conference in Aix-en-Provence in 1953, young architects turned to children playing in urban streets and their unconventional–but at the same time very real–interaction with architecture. Architects Peter and Alison Smithson were critical of their play as they “were searching for a new, architectural equivalent to the intuitive, spatial connections they saw in the way children played.”

They focused on “clusters” — groupings of function and living: juxtaposing functionalism and modernism. Team X wanted to create an international modernist style, and variation within standardization—typologies. The grid brings order, rationality, legibility, and classification. They wondered, “how do you take organic culture and do something architectural with it?” Architects need to bring life into things.

This project/study seems very similar to our upcoming analysis of play and architecture, especially since we’re working within a site that’s a blend of urban and suburban. Check it out!


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