CIAM Grid Rotterdam Alexanderpolder 1955

Jaap Bakema Study Centre
The Netherlands

For the 1955 CIAM meeting in La Sarraz Jaap Bakema presented a basic grid of the elements for the new city extension of Rotterdam, Alexanderpolder, as produced by the Rotterdam CIAM group of Opbouw. In an attempt to address the general theme of Habitat, which was the key issue for CIAM in the 1950s, it presents a catalogue, that ranges from the smallest element of the single house to the largest of a slab block reminiscent of Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation of 1952. The various typologies accommodate families from all walks of life. Together they create a modern cityscape based on patterns of mobility and the logic of mass production in the building industry. 

In what way does your proposal contribute to the open society?

The housing schemes as proposed by the Rotterdam Opbouw group and Jaap Bakema for the various post-war CIAM meetings start from a comprehensive, all-inclusive approach to the task of housing and planning in those years. In line with the classic, paternalistic welfare state model each household type is accommodated. Planning policies and building production are optimised according to rationalist principles. A positivist, problem-solving approach in architecture is met with an elementary aesthetic of optimism and progress.  

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