New Standards publication offers new perspectives on factory-built timber houses
The book accompanying Finland’s exhibition at the Biennale Architettura 2021 will be launched at the Pavilion of Finland on 23 September 2021.
Standardisation in building is frequently deplored as monotonous and boring, but it persists as a recurring dream for architects aiming to harness the power of industrial production. The new publication, edited by curators Kristo Vesikansa, Philip Tidwell and Laura Berger sheds light on factory-built houses of the reconstruction era with several articles and previously unseen images.
New Standards – Timber Houses Ltd 1940–1955 examines the conditions that affect standard, industrial and manufactured buildings by re-visiting a forgotten chapter of wood construction in post-war Finland. The story centres on the industrial enterprise Puutalo Oy (Timber Houses Ltd.), which was established in 1940 as part of Finland’s response to a refugee crisis brought about by war. In less than a decade, the company became one of the largest manufacturers of prefabricated wooden buildings in the world.
From 1940 to 1955, thousands of buildings were exported from Finland to sites on every inhabited continent, constructing a legacy of housing and urbanisation that has been largely overlooked. Today, these wooden houses may be Finland’s most widespread architectural export. Situated at the intersection of architecture and industrial design, they use a limited range of components to achieve thousands of variations suited to different functional, climatic and cultural conditions.
The book offers a new perspective on this legacy through careful analysis of the ways in which these buildings and projects emerged from a rapidly changing political landscape. In addition to articles by the authors, a series of commissioned essays bring forth exports to the Stalin-era Soviet Union and Cold War Berlin, and the company’s advertisements on the domestic front. These historical studies are complemented by contemporary images by acclaimed photographer Juuso Westerlund, which capture views of life in neighbourhoods from Helsinki (Finland), Aarhus (Denmark) and Barranquilla (Colombia).
See the list of contents on the site newstandards.info (link).