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A Kasbah in Denmark. The Mediterranean and Islamic homes as architectural models of Danish dense-low housing (1950s-1970s)

Conference paper
Dorian Bianco. A Kasbah in Denmark. The Mediterranean and Islamic homes as architectural models of Danish dense-low housing (1950s-1970s). Modelling Social Housing. The Relational Aesthetics of European Social Housing Estates, Research Center for Social Urban Modelling, Danish National Museum, Apr 2023, Copenhagen, Denmark. ⟨hal-04090565⟩
During the 1960s, the building of collective social housing in the Danish suburbs aroused critiques against anti-urban modernist planning among architects and sociologists who gradually adopted alternative housing models based on low-rise building and the high density of traditional urban centers. The emerging « dense-low homes » movement (tæt-lav bebyggelse) borrows its architectural typologies from structuralism and Team X, but also the vernacular homes of Mediterranean-Islamic countries whose influence remains unevenly investigated in Danish architectural history. Paraphrasing the title of the article written by urban planner Hans Hartvig Skaarup in Architekten « A Kasbah in North Sealand. Planning of a dense-low district in Karlebo. » (1976, En Kasbah i Nordsjælland. Planlægningen af en tæt-lav bydel i Karlebo kommune.) about patio homes laid in a grid pattern at the Nivå and Åtoften estates, this paper proposal shows how Mediterranean-Islamic traditional dwellings and centers were used as architectural tools to turn social housing into the reconstitution of local communities, a growing preoccupation among planners and sociologists in the wake of the SBI researches and Jan Gehl’s awareness of Jane Jacobs’ Death and Life of Great American Cities. The strong internationalisation of Danish housing models from the 1950s interrogates the architectural genealogy of the Kasbah typology from Michel Ecochard’s habitat pour le plus grand nombre theory for social housing in Casablanca (1952, Morocco), the work of Hans Munk Hansen at Jørn Utzon’s office within the patio homes prototype to the master plan by George Candilis of low-rise homes for Barcarès-Leucate New town and touristic resort on the Languedoc coast (France) that partly framed Danish dense-low estates from Albertslund Syd (1963, Fællestegnestuen) to Galgebakken (1973, Jørn Ørum-Nielsen).
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