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Rationell arkitektur: Företagskontor för massproduktion och masskommunikation
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History.
2003 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Rational Architecture : Corporate Offices for Mass Production and Mass Communication (English)
Abstract [en]

Modern architecture, which can be perceived as representational, metaphoric or symbolic, has often been excluded in Swedish architectural debate and writing. Ideological perspectives dominate, and the focus has been on housing and infrastructure. Frequently, architecture of the mid twentieth century has been characterized as neutral.

The aim of this dissertation is to broaden the horizon, and by investigating corporate architecture of the 1950s, show examples expressing more than economic and technical rationality. The perspective is that of the commissioners’, but the focus is on symbiotic relationships in society. The question is: What is rational architecture? And, what defines a rational corporate office building? Is it a building that functions like a well-oiled officemachine? Or, can other architectural features enhance productivity, and fight off competition in the market place?

The study is developed around three interrelated themes: rationalization, democratization, and mass marketing. Scientific management, and its effects on office work and office building is dealt with. Symbiotic relationships between economical development and democratization, within corporations and in society as a whole, are discussed. Within an economic history framework, the dissertation deals with how changing attitudes were expressed architecturally, as tangent ambitions in corporate building projects and in architectural debate concerned with new monumentality and the culture of cities. Surviving tough competition, however, also means successful distribution and mass marketing, and the dissertation describes how architecture and interior design became marketing tools, and how rationality, modernity and democratic values could both increase productivity and work as sales arguments.

The three themes of the dissertation are tied together in two case studies. The first, describes Asea’s innovative curtain-wall office building in Västerås, Sweden, inaugurated in 1960, and designed by Asea engineers and the architect Sven Ahlbom. The second, deals with corporate offices and showrooms designed for the American branch of the Swedish officemachine manufacturer AB Addo, and the Addo house style, created in 1957 by the Addo-X Inc President Göran Agrell, the graphic designer Ladislav Sutnar, the architects Oscar Nitzchke and Hans Lindblom, and the stage and interior designer Elfi von Kantzow Alvin

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2003. , 390 p.
Ars Suetica: skrifter, ISSN 0066-7919 ; 20
Keyword [en]
Art history, Addo, Asea, Bulten, Corporate Image, House Style, New Monumentality, Scientific Management, Swedish Modern, Ladislav Sutnar, Oscar Nitzchke, Sven Ahlbom, von Kantzow
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Art History
Research subject
History Of Art
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-3277ISBN: 91-554-5503-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-3277DiVA: diva2:162303
Public defence
2003-02-14, Vasasalen, Slottet, Uppsala, 13:15
Available from: 2003-01-23 Created: 2003-01-23Bibliographically approved

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