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Modernity for the Masses - 
      Ana María León

Modernity for the Masses

Antonio Bonet's Dreams for Buenos Aires

Throughout the early twentieth century, waves of migration brought working-class people to the outskirts of Buenos Aires. This prompted a dilemma: Where should these restive populations be situated relative to the city's spatial politics? Might housing serve as a tool to discipline their behavior?


Enter Antonio Bonet, a Catalan architect inspired by the transatlantic modernist and surrealist movements. Les mer
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Throughout the early twentieth century, waves of migration brought working-class people to the outskirts of Buenos Aires. This prompted a dilemma: Where should these restive populations be situated relative to the city's spatial politics? Might housing serve as a tool to discipline their behavior?


Enter Antonio Bonet, a Catalan architect inspired by the transatlantic modernist and surrealist movements. Ana Maria Leon follows Bonet's decades-long, state-backed quest to house Buenos Aires's diverse and fractious population. Working with totalitarian and populist regimes, Bonet developed three large-scale housing plans, each scuttled as a new government took over. Yet these incomplete plans-Bonet's dreams-teach us much about the relationship between modernism and state power.


Modernity for the Masses finds in Bonet's projects the disconnect between modern architecture's discourse of emancipation and the reality of its rationalizing control. Although he and his patrons constantly glorified the people and depicted them in housing plans, Bonet never consulted them. Instead he succumbed to official and elite fears of the people's latent political power. In careful readings of Bonet's work, Leon discovers the progressive erasure of surrealism's psychological sensitivity, replaced with an impulse, realized in modernist design, to contain the increasingly empowered population.
FAKTA
Utgitt:
Forlag: University of Texas Press
Innbinding: Innbundet
Språk: Engelsk
Sider: 288
ISBN: 9781477321782
Format: 25 x 18 cm
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«While Modernity for the Masses is indeed anchored by Bonet’s architectural designs, Leo´n is careful to paint a full picture of the vast, complex cultural and political context from which they emerged...Modernity for the Masses is instructive in the way it clearly distinguishes between architectural aspirations and the actual (or potential) impact a building has in the world. With a keen, skeptical eye, Leo´n shows what comes of form when it mixes with structural and systemic forces. Try as architects might, they will never control the conditions in which their designs are built, nor those by which their creations are received.»

The Architect's Newspaper

«León’s meticulous reading of [Antonio Bonet's] work in its architectural, political, and philosophical contexts underscores both the creativity and contradictions of trans-Atlantic modernities…Recommended.»

CHOICE

«A major contribution to the history of modern architecture in the Americas.»

Latin American and Latinx Visual Culture
Introduction
1. A Wandering Ship
2. The Machine in the Pampas
3. The Peronist Unconscious
4. Eternal Returns
Conclusion
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Notes
Index
Ana Maria Leon is an architect and a historian of objects, buildings, and landscapes. An assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Leon has cofounded several collaborations created to broaden the reach of architectural history, including the Feminist Art and Architecture Collaborative, the Settler Colonial City Project, and Nuestro Norte es el Sur. She sits on the board of the Global Architectural History Teaching Collaborative, the Architecture Lobby, and Anales de Arquitectura, and is an editor-at-large at The Avery Review.