“At Home with the Collective: Hilberseimer, Labor Unions, and the Women’s Movement,” The Plan Journal Vol. 7, Issue #2 The Right to Housing (Spring 2023), 299-323.
Image Credits: Ludwig Hilberseimer, Wachsendes Haus, living room, 1932.
Abstract: While housing could be described as one of the basic forms of architecture and one of its main responsibilities, if not today’s most crucial task, architecture has largely ceased to rethink established forms of living and the politics and economies that surround it. Escaping the pervasive models of profit-based home ownership in the West seems increasingly difficult when housing is dominated by neoliberal market values. Already at the beginning of the twentieth century, however, some architects struggled with similar conditions within the metropolis. Ludwig Hilberseimer’s proposals for new types of living for a new kind of liberated individual are particularly instructive today as they rethought housing as a right, allied with unions in order to rethink its financial models, and learned from activists in the Women’s Movement to question the dominant narratives around heteronormative family structures and domestic labor. In our time of ballooning housing costs, stagnant wages, failed trickle-down economics, and shortages of affordable housing, these urgencies have not lost but only gained momentum.