Arkitekt i mellankrigstidens Europa - Fred Forbat och funktionalismen
Sammanfattning: This is the first comprehensive monograph on the subject of the architect Fred Forbat. He was a pioneer of functionalism who worked in four different countries. Besides being a presentation of Forbats work, interesting in itself, this investigation also aims at addressing certain questions regarding the history and concept of functionalism as a style and movement. I deal with the work in chronological order and in the book’s four main parts – Weimar, Berlin, the Soviet Union and Hungary – I address several questions concerning specific periods in his life. Some of these are outlined below. Forbat’s long and important career in Sweden (1938–1972) is, however, only summarized at the end of the book. The overall picture also raises certain questions. One is if and how Forbat’s work reflects the fact that the countries in which he worked had very different social, political and cultural agendas and traditions? Was functionalism really an abstract, logical and international architecture unaffected by place? And how does Forbat’s individual brand of functionalism compare to the overall concept of this movement? Forbat was in his early twenties when he started working as an architect in the office of Walter Gropius, who had recently founded Bauhaus in Weimar. In the first part I discuss the origins of the functionalistic aesthetics, and investigate the role Forbat played in the transition from an expressionistic to a functionalistic design idiom that took place in Gropius office and the famous school in 1922–23. In the second part I look at the contribution Forbat made to the social housing programs in Berlin in the late 20s. I also discuss the gradual development of a functionalistic theory of architecture. In the third part I describe and discuss the city planning carried out by Forbat and the Ernst May Brigade in the Soviet Union in the early 1930s. I also compare Forbat’s manifest Die funktionelle Stadt (1933) with the functionalistic doctrine of city planning formulated by the CIAM organization, strongly influenced by Le Corbusier. In the fourth part, Hungary, I analyse the many, largely unknown and small buildings Forbat designed in his native country during the period 1933–38. By this time his architecture had undergone a definitive change, which I believe reflects a shift in his attitude towards place and tradition. This study shows that Forbat played a significant role in several key periods in the development of functionalism. It also shows that Forbat shunned the utopian tendency in modern architecture, and represented a realistic, pragmatic side. Yet, in many ways his work mirrors both the general development of the modern movement and the context of the different countries in which he worked.
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