Best Article Award for Architectural Histories, Volumes 2018 and 2019

At each Biennial Conference, the EAHN Award for Best Publication is awarded to the best article published in the EAHN Journal Architectural Histories in the two preceding years.

Jury: Mark Crinson, Kenny Cupers, Helena Mattsson

The jury was unanimous in awarding this to Sheila Crane for ‘Algerian Socialism and the Architecture of Autogestion

This is a brilliant analysis of a particular aspect of architecture in post-revolutionary Algeria, one in which the government policy of autogestion (self-management) was transferred and re-imagined in architectural terms. Crane offers a nuanced and carefully argued discussion of this fascinating if brief moment when architectural projects, debates and writing worked in synchrony with the politics of independence in order to un-shackle Algeria from the practices of the colonial era and its economic dependence on France. The article focuses on the theory of Abderrahman Bouchama, relating it to the work of a number of other Algerian architects who were doing (necessarily) experimental and ephemeral work galvanising users in active participation with architectural design. Of particular interest here is the way that Crane brings her arguments to bear in relation to the theoretical framework of provincializing Marxist architectural theory. Crane attends to the shifting alliances as well as the contradiction between architectural production and political ideology. Carefully contextualised and lucidly expounded, this is by any measure a substantial contribution to architectural histories of the post-colonial world.

One for runner-up to Andreas W. Putz for ‘Housing Paul and Paula: Building Repair and Urban Renewal in the German Democratic Republic’

Andreas Putz’s article considerably advances our understanding of architecture and reconstruction in post-war East Germany. Focussing on the repair of buildings, and the re-direction of the construction industry and its technologies to this end, Putz shows how through these techniques architects not only advanced urban renewal but also how they brought historic forms back into circulation in new economic circumstances. The article adroitly juggles fascinating details and many relevant contexts, helping us understand better how repair and re-appropriation were also a part of making the socialist world.

 And one for best article by a young scholar to Rixt Woudstra for ‘Exhibiting Reform: MoMA and the Display of Public Housing (1932-1939)

Still a PhD student at the time of the publication of this article, Rixt Woudstra has produced a substantial new account of MoMA’s commitment to housing reform in the New Deal era of the 1930s. We can now understand much better how this social project of architecture, supposedly marginalised by MoMA’s International Style interests, was interwoven with formal interests, even as it was subsequently treated as separate. Not only was it closely aligned with the policies of government and housing organisations, but it also, Woudstra argues, continued to offer a different set of architectural values, if shorn of their implications for architecture more generally. 

Architectural Histories is the open-access, international, blind peer-reviewed scholarly journal of the EAHN that creates a space where historically grounded research into all aspects of architecture and the built environment can be made public, consulted, and discussed. The journal is open to historical, historiographic, theoretical, and critical contributions that engage with architecture and the built environment from a historical perspective.