Dubrovnik (Yugoslavia) 3-13 August 1956
CIAM X congress: scales of association

  1. Introduction
  2. Team 10 members present
  3. Bibliography


CIAM X: scales of association
CIAM X was organized by Team 10, under the supervision of the CIAM X Advisory Committee, and was considered by national groups and most CIAM members to be the last CIAM congress. Of the older members, Gropius and Le Corbusier stayed away, as did Marcel Lods of the French group Bâtir, Honorary President Cor van Eesteren, and Polish member Helena Syrkus. Giedion, Gropius, Sert, Le Corbusier, and Van Eesteren had all sent in their resignations before the congress which required that they discuss institutional changes and none of the ‘founding’ members who attended presented projects or grids. The behavior of the middle and older generations provoked the wrath of Alison Smithson who claimed that subversive activities were discussed by Team 10 in the courtyard of their hotel.

The congress had a tone of retrospection. Sert’s opening speech gave a historical account of CIAM’s concern with dwelling beginning in the congresses before the Second World War. Le Corbusier sent a message to CIAM X from his vacation home in Roquebrune, Cap Martin in which he described the ‘problem of the generations’ in terms of ‘Crisis or Evolution?’ He proposed that the ‘First CIAM’ (the founding generation of 1928) had ‘established’ a programme that was of international importance. The task of the ‘Second CIAM’ (the ‘generation of 1956’ who were less than 40 years old), would put into practice the programme of the four functions developed by the ‘First CIAM’ and place it on an international level. He also restated the idea that he had first put forward before the La Sarraz meeting (1955), that the founding members ought to concern themselves with historicizing the ‘First CIAM’ with a document titled ‘Charte de l’Habitat des ›CIAM-Premiers‹, 1928-1956’. Gropius, writing from Cambridge, Massachusetts, excused himself on the grounds that he had urgent demands in his practice and stated that the new task of CIAM was to apply the ‘comprehensive work’ of CIAM everywhere. Giedion came to the congress with the argument that CIAM had a ‘moral obligation’ to produce a Charter of Habitat since ‘everybody’ expected it. Yet, no book was published documenting the work produced at, and for, CIAM X.

In addition to producing a Charter of Habitat, the CIAM Council had set for itself the task of reorganizing CIAM, to which they dedicated two days of discussion. The main work of the congress was split into two commissions which were defined roughly along generational lines. One was composed of the founding and middle generation members Sigfried Giedion, José Lluís Sert, Roger Aujame, Ernst May, Jerzy Soltan, Jacqueline Tyrwhitt and Takamasa Yosizaka of Japan who were to study different aspects of the Charter of Habitat. The other group represented Team 10’s interests and were responsible for extracting material on ‘relationships’ from the grids to be used in the Charter of Habitat. This commission was further divided into four sub-commissions to address the problems of ‘cluster’, ‘mobility’, ‘growth and change’ and ‘habitat’.

Thirty-five grids were presented at CIAM X, seven of which were by members of Team 10. The panels presented by the MARS members were all based on the notion of creating community by means of the concept of ‘cluster’. Cluster represented a ‘new discipline’ where parts of a community were formed into a cluster by extending and renewing the existing patterns in order to make it comprehensible, which was an approach that stood in contrast to one that sub-divided a community into parts. The cluster formed the theoretical basis for the five grids for housing presented by the Smithsons in which they examined the relations between the size of population and architectural forms according to the ‘Scale of Association’ diagram. They also brought their ‘Dubrovnik Scroll’ made up of diagrams and captions which addressed the problems of environment in new terms: ‘identity’, ‘association’, ‘cluster’ and ‘mobility’, which they delivered to the older generation as their ‘parting shot’. Other MARS members also provided examples of the cluster: John Voelcker presented a project for village extension and rural resettlement in which he argued that the clustered forms would create a total habitat; and Bill Howell’s grid, produced with his partners John Killick and John Partridge, dealt with the issue of cluster in a city by infilling a neighborhood in London; James Stirling produced a proposal for a flexible, low-tech building system for village houses. The Dutch CIAM groups, ‘de 8’ and Opbouw, contributed six grids; Jaap Bakema (with Stokla) contributed a grid of a residential district, and another of the evolution of the Rotterdam Alexanderpolder plan from 1949 to 1956; Van Eyck presented two grids, one entitled ‘The Child and the City’, and the other of the new polder town of Nagele which dealt with the problem of the isolated settlement.

The congress concluded with the acknowledgment that the CIAM Council and its executive, CIRPAC would resign on December 31, 1956, and CIAM after that date would once again become a congress with individual representation. A newly appointed CIAM Reorganization Committee was formed that comprised Pierre-André Emery, Ernesto Rogers, Alfred Roth, Jaap Bakema, Bill Howell, Peter Smithson and Shadrach Woods. This committee, along with three CIAM Council members, was responsible for drawing up a list of thirty architects who would form the new CIAM and who would be responsible for preparing a proposal for the handing over of the functions of CIAM. Bakema sent around a document suggesting that CIAM provide an international forum for discussing ‘personal ideas or ideas developed in local groups’. A protracted debate surrounding the reorganization of CIAM took place between 1956 and the last CIAM congress at Otterlo, The Netherlands, in 1959.

Annie Pedret

Team 10 members present
present among other delegates:
Jaap Bakema
Georges Candilis
Aldo van Eyck
Rolf Gutmann
Geir Grung
Bill Howell
Reima Pietilš
Alison Smithson
Peter Smithson
Jerzy Soltan
John Voelcker
Shadrach Woods