chapter  12
14 Pages

African design and CIAM expansion after the Charter of Athens

WithElisa Dainese

This chapter examines the (CIAM’s) post-war questioning of modern culture and its growing interest in African architecture and planning. The Charter of Athens was recognized as a celebration of Le Corbusier’s Radiant City, which opposed the “pre-machine age utopia” of the dispersed garden city. African colonies had played a decisive role during the war by supporting their European empires. After the war, those European governments provided welfare to Africa, but mainly to legitimize their former colonial power than to compensate for war damage or to enter a more benevolent phase of colonial rule. The Charter of Habitat developed from the Charter of Athens, hope for reconstruction after World War II, the desire for a better future after the failure of the socialist project of the Weimar Republic. The achievements of CIAM 9, namely the Charter of Habitat and its applications, for example in Africa, were as important to architecture, architectural history as CIAM’s earlier documents, including the Charter of Athens.