IXth International Conference on Urban History

August 27-30, 2008

Lyon France
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 Session description

Big Buildings - Concepts of Competition and Order since the 19th Century

Large-scale buildings characterize the appearance of the city. They draw special attention, communicate meaning, arouse admiration and pride as well as fear and jealousy. They are the objects and results of social-political and economically motivated competition on both local and global level.
Since the 19th century, new building materials (steel, glass, concrete) as well as modern techniques allow the realization of novel dimensions in space and height. Simultaneously, cities increased and became more complex. Urban scales and viewing habits changed radically. New social needs arose. Large-scale buildings restructure and organize the urban space and give shape to new cultural requirements.
Planning and realization of large-scale buildings are subject to multifaceted economic processes and evoke broad political, social and cultural discussions. Therefore, the study of large-scale constructions can be particularly informative for the interpretation of social and cultural preferences, proceedings and ways of perception in the 19th and 20th century.
We invite studies on the social-political-economic and cultural context of planning, production, assignation and the use of large-scale buildings, to be focussed on architectural-spatial concepts of urban development, economic processes, urban debates, configurations of parties involved etc., covering the period from the 19th century until the recent past. In order to establish and evaluate relationships between spatial architectonic objects and urban structures as well as economic, social-political and cultural conditions, multi-disciplinal accesses are required and warmly invited.

Session conveners:

  • Celina Kress
  • Dorothee Brantz

Session type: Main

Classification: M - Modern


A Duck is not a City. Concepts of urban imagery.

Author(s): Salewski, Christian 

Big Ambitions, Big Failures: a Comparison of the Designs and Constructions of Four Large Buildings in the Capitals of the Urals and Siberia in the 1930s

Author(s): Nevzgodin, Ivan 

Cluster buildings. Large scale urbanism in the 1950s

Author(s): Laurent, Stalder 

Corviale, Rome. Social issues and architectural utopia

Author(s): Vidotto, Vittorio 

Forming the Urban through Architecture

Author(s): Schrijver, Lara 

Fortunes and Misfortunes of Big Buildings : The Example of Breslau before and after WWI

Author(s): Ilkosz, Jerzy ; Stoertkuhl, Beate 

Shifting the Core and Spinning the City! The Vittoriano and the Urban Reorganization of Rome in the 19th Century

Author(s): Hentschel, Britta 

The Rebuilding of the Braunschweig Castle as a Shopping Mall 2005-2007

Author(s): Wagner-Kyora, Georg 

The Tower: The Unique Big Building in Luxembourg and its History

Author(s): Rentzos, Ioannis 

The invention of invisibility: Munich’s Stachusbauwerk.

Author(s): Martin, Murrenhoff ; Stephan, Becker