Social and Industrial Culture of Soviet Large- concrete Panel Factories in Chile and Cuba: KPD and the Politics of Prefabrication, 1970- 1980
RIBA Modern Architecture and Town Planning Trust Award 2008
This research project aims at documenting and explaining the process of installation of Soviet large- concrete panel factories in Chile and Cuba during the Cold War. From the comparison of these two experiences we aim at studying the manner in which a building system like this (in its connection to city planning and architecture) was used by the Soviet Union as civilizing device, or antenna for ideological expansion. Given the wealth of archival materials available both in Cuba and Chile, as well as in the ex Soviet Union, the subject provides a unique case study for the analysis of the interchange relations between these countries and the USSR, including the different political, social, and architectural cultures that in each case were affected by the reception - and adaptation - of Soviet systems of prefabrication.
By proposing a detailed analysis of the introduction of KPD in Chile and Cuba, this research will present areas never properly discussed in contemporary attempts to understand the nature of the interchange relations between these countries and the USSR. By combining a historical, political and social analysis, the interdisciplinary approach of the research will allow us to reveal the technological, architectonic and audiovisual culture attached to the introduction of Soviet building technologies into the Latin American socio-political realities of the time.
Pedro Ignacio Alonso studied architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile and completed his Ph.D at the Architectural Association with a dissertation on the construction of the discourses on ‘construction’ in modernist architecture. He is currently conducting research on the connections between technology, politics and architectural discourse. He teaches at the Masters Programme in Histories and Theories of the Architectural Association. Recent publications include:
Double Neutral: Guillaume Jullian’s the Venice Hospital Church, 1966, in Massilia, Anuario de Estudios LeCorbuserianos (Barcelona, 2008), pp.122- 129.
Diagrams of a Universal System of Construction in the Work of Konrad Wachsmann: between Representation and Technology (Exeter: The Construction History Society- Routledge, 2006), pp. 153- 165.
Acronym (AA Files 57, London 2008)
Hugo Palmarola Sagredo studied design at the Universidad Católica de Chile. Currently he is pursuing a Master in histories and theories of industrial design at the UNAM in Mexico. Since 2007 he is guest member of the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). He has written about the history of industrial design in Latin America, and about the work of Josef Albers in Chile. Currently he is conducting research about the history of design and the integration of technology into the domestic realm in Latin American countries during the first half of the twentieth-century.
Recent publications include:
"Chile. Diseño Industrial.", en: Historia del Diseño en América Latina y el Caribe. Industrialización y comunicación visual para la autonomía , pp. 138 a 159, VV.AA. (Gui Bonsiepe y Silvia Fernández Coord.), Editorial Edgard Blücher, Sao Paulo, 2008.
Cartografía del Curso Preliminar. Josef Albers en Chile, Universidad Andrés Bello, 2007, 40 p.
"Die Kartografie des Vorkurses – Josef Albers und Chile", pp. 170 a 183, en: Anni und Josef Albers. Begegnung mit Lateinamerika, VV.AA ., Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum Bottrop, 2007 [ediciones paralelas en inglés, portugués y español].
"Productos y Socialismo: Diseño Industrial Estatal en Chile", pp. 225 a 295., en: 1973, La vida cotidiana de un año crucial, VV.AA. (Claudio Rolle Coord.), Editorial Planeta, Santiago de Chile, 2003.