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Housing - Stockholm in the interwar period

English title Housing - Stockholm in the interwar period
Applicant Ortelli Luca
Number 165729
Funding scheme Project funding
Research institution Laboratoire de construction et conservation EPFL - ENAC - IA - LCC
Institution of higher education EPF Lausanne - EPFL
Main discipline Architecture and Social urban science
Start/End 01.05.2016 - 31.01.2018
Approved amount 173'128.00
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Keywords (5)

Architecture; Urban design; Housing; Stockholm; Urban dwelling

Lay Summary (French)

Prof. Luca OrtelliInstitut d'Architecture et de la villeFaculté ENACÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne
Lay summary

La recherche étudie les politiques urbaines et les complexes d'habitation réalisés en Suède dans la période entre les deux guerres, particulièrement dans la ville de Stockholm. A cette époque, le logement était un des thèmes principaux dans le développement urbain. Un nombre important de villes européennes produisit des réponses spécifiques et des résultats particuliers au niveau urbain et architectural. L'originalité de l'expérience suédoise consiste en deux aspects : la forte continuité entre tradition et propositions modernes, et une relation originale entre ville et nature.

Le logement collectif a joué un rôle fondamental dans le développement de la modernité, considérée dans ses aspects économiques, sociaux et politiques, au-delà des résultats architecturaux et urbains et des expériences artistiques. Les résultats les plus convaincants furent obtenus en Allemagne, grâce au climat politique et culturel particulièrement favorable. Néanmoins, d'excellentes expériences existent également dans d'autres Pays, même si elles sont peu présentes dans les historiens de l'architecture du XX siècle.

Cette recherche se concentre alors sur une expérience relativement peu connue avec l'objectif d'illustrer un chemin vers la modernité alternatif aux grands récits qui ont marqué l'histoire. En effet, l'approche suédois et scandinave incarne une vision différente, également éloignée des pratiques de l'avant-garde et des excès populistes en vogue, à l'époque, dans d'autres Pays européens.

La recherche se propose d'étudier cette expérience sans se limiter aux aspects historiques mais en faisant apparaître la contribution que ces réalisations offrent à la ville contemporaine.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 04.04.2016

Responsible applicant and co-applicants



WHY CAN’T WE LIVE TOGETHER? Stockholm – Vienna’s large courtyard blocks
Monterumisi Chiara, Porotto Alessandro (2018), WHY CAN’T WE LIVE TOGETHER? Stockholm – Vienna’s large courtyard blocks, in Proceedings Series 10. Cities, Communities Homes – Is the Urban Future Livable?.
L’adeguatezza di Asplund
Ortelli Luca (2018), L’adeguatezza di Asplund.
TOWARDS THE PEOPLE’S HOME. First housing districts in Stockholm
Monterumisi Chiara (2017), TOWARDS THE PEOPLE’S HOME. First housing districts in Stockholm, in Joelho. Revista de cultura arquitectonica, (8), 80-95.
Monterumisi Chiara, Porotto Alessandro, COLLECTIVE SPACE IN STOCKHOLM AND VIENNA’S BLOCKS: “WHY CAN’T WE LIVE TOGETHER?”, in Cairns Granham, Day Kirsten (ed.).

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Cities, Communities Homes – Is the Urban Future Livable? Talk given at a conference WHY CAN’T WE LIVE TOGETHER? Stockholm – Vienna’s large courtyard blocks 22.06.2017 Derby, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Monterumisi Chiara;

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
149479 Logement collectif - Francfort et Vienne 01.09.2014 Project funding


Housing is a fundamental part of urban planning. It can contribute to the definition of urban character, the general well-being of dwellers and, more generally, have an impact on the quality of life within a given city. For many years, we have known that housing should be considered from both a quantitative and qualitative perspective. Housing problems are constantly at the center of urban, social, economic and political debates. Due to a general housing shortage, it is urgent for architects, urban designers and all actors involved in urban transformations to explore and understand models and examples from past experiences in order to develop new housing complexes. The conception of residential buildings should take these different aspects into account. Questions concerning density, for instance, are crucial today. A more conscious analysis of the real impact of density on the built environment is necessary to disseminate examples to give a clear idea of what density represents in terms of physical consequences. For these reasons, a better understanding and knowledge of the most successful experiences in the field should be considered a priority. The proposed research aims to present the case of one of most convincing housing experiences. The housing approach developed in Nordic countries during the first decades of the 20th century represents a valuable example that is not very well known or, in some cases, has been decidedly neglected. Given the significant role of the state in the political context of early 20th century Nordic Europe, housing policies in Sweden are particularly meaningful thanks to the strong implications between architecture, urbanism and socio-economic aspects. Today, Stockholm is considered one of the most livable cities in Europe thanks to its enlightened housing policy. The marginal position of Scandinavian countries in Central European debates on urbanism and architecture allowed for the development of original approaches and original results as well. One of the major aspects of the Scandinavian architectural experience, particularly in Stockholm, is the "smooth transition" from national romantic architecture at the beginning of 20th century to functionalism and, subsequently, towards an interpretation of the latter that we qualify as pragmatic and substantially sensitive to the delicate balance between mass society and individuals. This research intends to examine the early 20th century housing experience in Stockholm from an architectural point of view. In fact, in order to appreciate the real qualities of housing complexes, apartment buildings and their relationship to the city, it is essential to have a precise and deep knowledge of urban and architectural aspects: urban morphology, dwelling typology, construction techniques, materials, and so on. From a methodological point of view, the research is fundamentally based on the identification of a series of meaningful examples, part of which will be assumed as case studies. One of the main objectives is to show the highest degree of comparability between the case studies (and with the results of an ongoing research supervised by the PI). A key tool is the re-drawing of architectural designs, which allows for a complete comparison at different scales (neighborhood, apartment building, dwelling). Specific attention will be paid to the treatment of exterior non-built spaces and to the specific relationship between architecture and outdoor spaces - an aspect that occupies a central position in projects and designs of today. The research aims at analyzing public, co-operative and private initiatives. The objective is to demonstrate the shared contribution the three different initiatives have to urban development and the broader public beyond the community of the specific buildings. This is particularly pertinent today, given the shortage of public funds in comparison with the “heroic” period of established welfare policies, and the consequent necessity for global approaches that combine public and private investments.