41.2 The travelling city, transfer and reception of modern urbanism in Latin American cities

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 9:15 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Diego ARANGO LÓPEZ , École des hautes études en sciences sociales , Paris, France
Theories, practices and methods travel in different ways. As Le Corbusier and the CIAM (Congrès International d’Architecture Moderne) movement members went around the world they carried ideas and theories to the cities and places they visited. In this paper I study the transfer of Le Corbusier’s and the CIAM’s urban theories to Latin America and specifically I analyze the projects for Buenos Aires (Le Corbusier, Ferrari Hardoy and Kurchan) and Bogota (Le Corbusier, Wiener and Sert).

The paper starts with a general reflection on the transfer of European urban theories to Latin America during the first half of the twentieth century. The purpose of this part is to understand the political and professional context in which these ideas were presented. This first part is based mainly on secondary sources by authors such as Liernur, Pschepieurca, Alamandoz, Gutiérrez, Tsiomis, Benton and Hofer. In a second part I analyze the reception of the two urban projects. The comparative perspective allows us to understand how this urban theory was interpreted and applied in divergent manners in different socio-political configurations. The sources used are mainly official publications, general press and professional and specialized journals.

These projects were not physically developed in either city. Nevertheless, they served as vehicles, accelerators and pretexts to create a new urban doctrine –both in academic and non-academic circles- that played an important role in the debate on how cities should be understood, organized and built. The new ideas, however, were interpreted in Buenos Aires and Bogota in ways that differed from Le Corbusier’s and CIAM’s original thoughts. Local actors, therefore, applied these theories in their own ways and finished the process of reception and cultural transfer by creating and adapting methods and forms of action based on divergent interpretations of a foreign theory.