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Urban Renewal and its Discontents: IBA 1984/87

A lecture by Esra Akcan, University of Illinois at Chicago

This lecture will focus on Berlin-IBA 1984/87 that was justifiably one of the most important architectural events of the late 1970s and 80s, where major aesthetic and intellectual shifts of the period materialized as social housing in the historical city. IBA’s fresh formal ideals were complicated however with the under-discussed fact that it took place in the Turkish immigrant neighborhood of Berlin’s Kreuzberg. The lecture will explore IBA 1984/87 as a micro cosmos of the history of urban housing, the postmodern and deconstructionist debates in architecture, and the relation between housing and immigration policies. Esra Akcan suggests to analyze IBA with an art/architecture historical method that gives voice not only to the architects and policy makers, but also to immigrant inhabitants while setting a distance from sociology and ethnography inspired research in architecture that maintain either positivist convictions or geopolitical divides between West and its “other.”

Esra Akcan is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of (Land)Fill Istanbul, Architecture in Translation: Germany, Turkey and the Modern House (Summer/Fall 2012) and Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (with Sibel Bozdogan, Spring 2012)

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