From Conventional to Experimental – Mass Housing and Prefabrication

From Conventional to Experimental – Mass Housing and Prefabrication

International conference Docomomo Israel-Germany

Mass housing owes much of its social ideas and design to architectural prefabrication. However, it seems that the history of prefabrication and its relationship to modernist architectural concepts and their dissemination, has remained somewhat at the margins of contemporary scholarly debates. This is perhaps because most scholarly contributions discuss phenomena that do not engage canonic or iconic case studies of industrialized architecture, while other aspects of research are in the fields of engineering, rather than history.
This conference seeks to explore the connection between prefabrication and mass housing worldwide. The 17 papers and keynote propose new research that deepens our understanding of the inherent and crucial connection between the revolutionary advances in prefabrication that characterized the modern era, and their impact on design.



June 14, 2021


Opening remarks

Conference scientific committee:

Dr. Regine Hess, Prof. Dr. Inbal Ben Asher Gietler, Dr. Tzafrir Fainholtz and Prof. Dr. Yael Allweil


Welcoming Address
Prof. Dr. Uta Pottgiesser, Incoming Chair, Docomomo_International


Keynote Address –

Highly Visible & Highly Valuable: Big Housing Estates of the Boom Years

Prof. Dr. Silke Langenberg, Chair of Construction Heritage and Preservation, Institute of Construction History and Preservation, ETH Zurich

Morning session: Prefabrication: Materials and Typologies


The emergence of the single-family home out of prefabrication /
Regine Hess, ETH


“Dragonfly Architectures”: Experimental eco-fabrication of treehouses from New York to Berlin /
Virginia De Jorge Huertas, Independent Researcher


Prefabricated wooden buildings exported by Finnish Consortium Puutalo Oy /
Laura Berger, Philip Tidwell and Kristo Vesikansa, Aalto University


Norwegian Experiments in Timber: Mass Housing of Moelven Brug /
Maryia Rusak, Oslo School of Architecture and Design

Afternoon session: Prefabrication in colonialism and nation building


Assembling a home – politics, trauma and the Finnish export of prefabricated homes1940-1970 /
Mia Åkerfelt, Åbo Akademi University; Tzafrir Fainholtz, Technion; Anna Wilczyńska ,Estonian  University of Life Sciences


Decolonizing Prefabrication: IMS Žeželj System’s Journey Around the World /
Jelica Jovanović, University of Technology in Vienna


Hygiene, Prefabricated Housing, and the Évoluéin Postwar Tunisia /
Nancy Demerdash-Fatemi,  Albion College









June 15, 2021

Morning Session: Prefabrication at exhibitions


Re-use of Innovation and Innovative Re-use: Forms of Prefabrication at the Swiss Exhibition on Women’s Work (Saffa) 1958 in Zurich /
Helene Bihlmaier, Zurich University of Applied Science


The Milan Triennale’s exhibitions and the culture of prefabrication in post-war Italy /
Ilaria Giannetti, Stefania Mornati, University of Rome


Prefabricated steel homes for all /
Andreea Cel Mare, “Ion Mincu” University 


Individuality amongst Plurality: Housing the Void in the Solid /

Simran Singh, Architecture Association


Le Corbusier, The typology of a living cell: Le Corbusier’s study on the Cabanon de vacances /
Maria Tassopoulou, Technical University of Athens

Afternoon Session: Prefabrication and Urbanization


Massive blocks for the Soviet mass housing: Standardization and prefabrication in USSR (1935-1945) /
Angelo Bertolazzi, Giorgio Croatto and Umberto Turrini, University of Padua


Ramat Hanasi Bat Yam–An innovative Prefabricated Neighborhood of the 1960 /

Daphna Levine and Liat Savin Ben Shoshan, Technion


Skopje housing estates–a new model of city reconstruction after natural disasters /

Tamara Bjažić Klarinis, Institute of Art History Zagreb


Thamesmead: Prefabrication Between Utopia and Dystopia /

Alberto Franchini, Politechnico di Milano



The conference will be held online and is hosted by the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, DoCoMoMo Israel, DoCoMoMo Germany, and EU COST action Middle Class Mass Housing.


Meeting Registration:


Zoom Meeting Link: