Pedro Ignacio Alonso and Hugo Palmarola


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Although largely marginal within official accounts of modern architecture, during the second half of the twentieth century the development of large concrete panel systems was central to debates about architecture’s modernisation and industrialisation.

Modern Architecture, Theory / History / Criticism
Through this development, not only was construction transferred from the building site to the factory floor, and manual labour succeeded by automated mass production, but political, aesthetic and ideological debates began to inscribe themselves onto the panel itself, a symbol for a whole new set of architectural values. Distributed and adapted to many different contexts, these systems went beyond national borders in producing more than 170 million apartments worldwide. This book focuses on a particular aspect of this history, namely those systems exported from Soviet Russia into Cuba and then on to Chile in the 1960s and 1970s. Written from the point of view of the worker as much as the architect, and containing an incredible visual panoply of archival photographs, stills, cartoons, sketches and drawings, as well as oral histories from its surviving protagonists, the book offers a fascinating portrait of an architectural and political history whose symbolic and physical register all along is a concrete panel.

Pedro Ignacio Alonso is an architect, educator and curator. He teaches theory of architecture and design at the Universidad Católica de Chile.
Hugo Palmarola is a designer from the Catholic University of Chile and holds a Master’s Degree in Theory and History of Industrial Design from the National Autonomous University of Mexico.
Palmarola and Alonso won the Silver Lion for the Chile Pavilion Monolith Controversies, curated for the 14th International Architecture Exhibition of the Venice Biennale (2014).

300 pages
Paperback, 20x26 cm
AA Publications, 1st edition 2014
ISBN 9781907896491