ARCH Seminar: “Unpacking The Packaged House: What can a mid-century kit-of-parts housing proposal can teach us about architects’ confrontation with technology and society”, Ezgi İşbilen, 12:30Noon December 15 (EN)

You are cordially invited to the seminar organized by Department of Architecture.

Title : Unpacking The Packaged House:
What can a mid-century kit-of-parts housing proposal can teach us about architects’ confrontation with technology and society

Speaker: Ezgi İşbilen
Date & Time: December 15, 2022, Thursday, 12:30-13:30
Place: FFB-22

In 1941, two exiled architects in the US ventured into one of the most ambitious projects of industrialized housing. Konrad Wachsmann, an erstwhile chief architect of one of the largest prefabricated timber construction companies in European and an expert in timber construction, and Walter Gropius, an eminent proponent of factory-made housing at the height of his career with an esteemed international reputation, developed the project known as the Packaged House. The project was one of the many prefabricated housing solutions architects devised for the pressing defense housing problem alleviated by the war efforts. Later, it also benefited from the policies and privileges to cultivate new uses for wartime infrastructure.
Although it was conceived by skillful designers and developed under exceptionally favorable political and economic conditions, the project failed at wide reproduction. As design critic Reyner Banham notes, “it might have been a minor incident in the history of prefabrication, but it was a complete disaster within modern architecture since it marked the failure of one of the most cherished dreams of Modernism.” This presentation offers an alternative reading of the Packaged House to the existing literature that frames it as a failed project and asks what it can teach us when it is reconsidered as an experiment of an ongoing technological paradigm.

Ezgi İşbilen is an architect, researcher, and educator. She holds a B.Arch degree from the Izmir Institute of Technology and an M.Arch degree from Middle East Technical University (METU). She conducted postgraduate research at the Bauhaus Dessau foundation as a Global Modernism Studies research fellow of Bauhaus Lab 2018. She is an advanced Ph.D. candidate in the Architecture and Design Research program at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) with a doctoral research project on Konrad Wachsmann’s works. Her research focuses on the production of buildings, the entanglements between architectural theory and contemporary modes of production, tectonics, and architectural representation. She has taught architectural design studios, history theory surveys, and architectural drawing classes at Eskişehir Osmangazi University, Washington Alexandria Architecture Center of Virginia Tech, METU, and Bilkent University.