Minimum Dwellings: Otto Neurath and Karel Teige on Architecture

In Radek Schuster (ed.), Vienna Circle in Czechoslovakia. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Verlag. pp. 111-134 (2020)

Authors
Tomas Hribek
Czech Academy of Sciences
Abstract
While the Vienna Circle had virtually no impact on the Czech-speaking philosophical community during the 1930s, one can find a curious meeting point in the field of theory of architecture. There is now a growing literature on Otto Neurath as a theorist of architecture and urbanism, who emphasized the social aspects of modern building and approached architecture from his idiosyncratic viewpoint of Marxism interpreted as a physicalistic social science. It is less well known that a young Czech architecture critic and theorist, Karel Teige, cultivated strikingly similar views during the same period—from 1920s to 1930s—albeit without any knowledge of Neurath’s thought in particular, or for that matter the Vienna Circle in general. The chapter reveals similarities as well as differences between Neurath and Teige on Marxism, science and architecture, and the Bauhaus, as well as a discussion of the relations of both to the contemporaries, most importantly Adolf Loos, Josef Frank and Hannes Meyer.
Keywords logical empiricism  Marxism  modernist architecture  Otto Neurath
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