History of Modern Urban Planning


※ This lecture will be conducted in English.

2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism Talk series is a lecture that introduces the intentions and works of artists and curators participating in the 2017 Seoul City Architecture Biennale under the theme ‘People Who Made Biennale’. It will be held 12 times in total. It will show the background of thematic exhibition, cities exhibition, three live projects, public programs, CI, souvenir design, and experience directly and indirectly many programs during the 2017 Seoul Biennale.

Modern town planning as the towers-in-the-park urbanism of Le Corbusier continues to be the model for high-density living in cities across the world from Africa, to the Middle East to Asia.  The success of this model lies in its ability, as intended, to produce “maximum economic efficiency” through standardization and rationalization of the building process in order to satisfy the “material” demands of people. Over the course of the century, the priorities of modern architecture changed from an ethic that emphasized the need for modern architects to satisfy the “material” needs of people in the first half of the twentieth century to one that emphasized satisfying the “spiritual” needs of people at and after the mid-century.  I argue that the shift in emphasis from physical to spiritual needs also changed a parallel discourse about the commons.  While emphasizing the need for modern architects to satisfy the “material” needs of people, the discourse about the commons focused on the issue of the physical “resources” of air and earth, and the “commonality,” as defined by the Seoul Biennale of making; while emphasizing the need to satisfy the “spiritual” needs of people the discourse about the resource commons ceased as the discourse shifted to the “commonalities” of connecting, moving, sharing.  Not in this discourse of modern architecture, but now part of the discourse of contemporary practices was a consideration of the” resource commons” of fire/energy and water and the “commonalities” of recycling and sensing.  This paper is based on the premise that by recognizing the continuities and discontinuities of the aims and discourse of modern architecture as they relate to the commons the better understanding we will have of emerging discourse and practices.

Annie Pedret

Annie Pedret is an associate professor in the Faculty of Design at Seoul National University.  She completed her B.Sc degree at the University of Toronto, B.Arch. degree at the University of British Columbia, and S.M.Arch.S. and Ph.D. degrees in the history, theory and criticism of architecture at MIT. She has taught history/theory and architectural design studios at the Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Illinois at Chicago.  Pedret has received grants and fellowships from MIT and the Graham Foundation. She is the author of Team10: an archival history (2013) Beneath Ethics: Love, Being and Non-Action (2007).  She has also authored chapters in books and lectured on issues of post-World War II architectural theory of CIAM and Team 10.  Her current research focusses on engaging the designer and historian for developing alternative plausible spatial futures for Pyongyang and Seoul.