Talk and Book Launch Revisiting i Press: '"The Ideal Communist City" and "World of Variation"

Salt Galata

September 15, 2022 17.30

Wovandticccovers Kapak görselleri: <i>The Ideal Communist City</i> ve <i>World of Variation</i>, The i Press Series on the Human Environment
The Ideal Communist City and World of Variation book covers, The i Press Series on the Human Environment
Salt Research

Salt is hosting a talk and book launch of the two significant i Press (1968-1978) titles, which have been out of print for decades: The Ideal Communist City and World of Variation. Originally published as part of the i Press Series on the Human Environment, founded by American architects Mary Otis Stevens and Thomas McNulty, these seminal volumes situate the fields of architecture and urban design within questions of social, political and cultural practices, as well as emerging discourses around environment and globalization.

The revisited editions incorporate fresh urgency for architecture and planning today through new interviews with Stevens as well as critical commentary by contemporary theorists and practitioners. The project offers an opportunity to reintroduce this crucial work into current debates around planning, sustainable architecture, and urban development on the local, national, and global scales. As part of the book launch, author Mary Otis Stevens, publisher Kirsten Weiss, and editors Ute Meta Bauer, Pelin Tan and Karin Oen along with guest speakers Hayriye Sözen, Neşe Gurallar, Ana Miljački, Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley will be joining the conversation.

The first of the series published by i Press under the thematic umbrella of “Human Environment,” The Ideal Communist City (1969) is an English translation of urban concepts advanced by architects and planners from the University of Moscow. The book was first published in a Soviet journal of a communist youth organization in 1960 and was then republished in Italy in 1968. Offering a new perspective on mobility, equity and social interaction in neighborhood planning, the publication was a direct response to suburban development and its focus on private spaces, presenting a utopian proposition that “the new city is a world belonging to all and each.”

In World of Variation (1970), Stevens and McNulty outlined a radical reenvisioning of socio-spatial relationships, informed by their background in philosophy and commitment to decentralizing hierarchies. Writing in the context of the Cold War and the political activism of 1960s America, they identified possible design solutions to then-current social issues. In striking abstract drawings, Stevens visualized aspects of the urban environment, proposing a design philosophy she termed “free flow.” These diagrams give expression to both the “flow” of movement and points of “hesitations.”


Introduction: Ute Meta Bauer, Pelin Tan, Karin Oen, Kirsten Weiss
18.00 Talk: Mary Otis Stevens
18.15 Guest Speakers: Hayriye Sözen, Neşe Gurallar, Ana Miljački, Beatriz Colomina, Mark Wigley

This event will be held in English.