Maryia Rusak - Archeologies of production: aggregate un-architectures of the everyday in the 1960s-70s Norway

Photo by: Moelven Industrier AS

Photo by: Moelven Industrier AS

This project traces the archaeologies of production of Norwegian everyday spaces. The research methodology is based on dissecting and carefully studying layers of systems, structures and infrastructures involved in design and production of modular prefabricated architecture that found broad application in 1960s-1970s Norway through rationalization, standardization and optimization of industrial processes. Reformulating such wide-spread phenomena as prefabricated structures within a conceptual framework of construction history allows this research to investigate both the technological and the cultural processes that conditioned its emergence and proliferation, currently lacking in conventional Norwegian historiography.

The study will explore the complex relationship between industrial rationalization, standardization & user empowerment within the context of pragmatic Norwegian welfare state and how this dynamic changed over time. It will also trace the convergence between the thought and the built, the intellectual architectural theory and industrial production of the everyday spaces; the ways individual architects were incorporated into these processes and the ways they appropriate prefabricated products. The suggestion here is that modular architectural system developed at a timber company Moelven Brug as a response to series of economic constraints, procedural optimizations and market demands was a unique case of systems architecture – a realized modernist dream of a rational house from a conveyor belt. Developed largely autonomously to the architectural discourse, these industrial innovations nevertheless closely responded to the changing state and market demands, entering a curious interwoven relationship with the everyday spaces of the pragmatic welfare state. The research sees its unique contribution in investigating Moelven processes and products through the lens of construction theory as a way to produce a comprehensive account of the intersection between technological change, architectural practice and social aspirations. This account allows to test the limits of the discipline and bring a new perspective into the study of everyday spaces.

The expected form of the thesis is a monograph with an exhibition/product component.

Institute of Architecture / Thomas McQuillan (Supervisor)

PhD started in 2018