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Mass Housing Production: Do we really evolve?

7th August, 2019.

Today’s reality of production of mass housing is similar as was just after the Second World War. The evolution of production of mass houses was started in early nineteenth century just after the First World War in Germany due to shortage of houses. The new industrialization and political revolution had impacted in the area of building houses in the hope of new modernized style. The potential of factory made production had bound the imagination of the possible future. Thus, the developer became the owner of the factory who was only interested in earning profit by promoting checklist of aesthetics of the house rather than the experiential qualities. The group of amenities doesn’t provide the experience but certain arrangement does. Such abuses in reality of building industry, makes you think about the difference between a house and a home as did to Gropius. He has proposed artistic way of production methods of mass housing in 1910. His aim was “industrialization of the company in order to provide indisputable benefits of industrial production methods, best materials, workmanship, and low cost” to develop spatial experience of the house.

Post World War 2, rapid urbanization has taken place due to the industrial revolution. New techniques of production of mass houses can be found in Bauhaus architecture of that period where he is emphasizing on simplifying the form. Then the idea of home transformed into the efficiency of space using anthropometry in the Frankfurt kitchen in 1920's. It further evolves into mass housing in the context of the single family dwelling. Such transformation has come with its own problems as described by John Keats, 1956 article “The crack in the picture window” which describes how the view of the picture window is lost by the Venetian blinds. The purpose of picture window is ruined by its mismanaged sitting and it is impossible to achieve the view. This notion of one’s own land can be seen in American culture. They have beautiful fort lawn for public. Such transformation to achieve artistic modern mass housing draws to the possible future of building industry. The participatory planning and design is one of that concept. Where the power of the design decision is in the hand of the end user but that is limited to tenement or small houses on the ground unlike multistory apartment building. The Idea of participatory design is controversial itself. If a user will build its own house then what an architect will do? As a designer we should understand that we are serving those people in achieving their biggest dream of life “Their own house”. At least the minimum requirement of a person includes the own shed.

The chain reaction of the action that started in the 19th century is still being felt in reality of development of mass housing in terms of using the same standardized techniques of fast production of mass housing due to the commercialization of the city. Due to increased need of houses and earning the profit faster the developers have failed in their core duty to give a person “a home” and not “a house”. It is now a global question how to produce homes for the different users in mass.


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