In 1929, the great Swiss historian and architecture critic Sigfried Giedion (1888-1968)--later the author of the classics Space, Time and Architecture (1941) and Mechanization Takes Command (1948)--issued Befreites Wohnen (Liberated Dwelling), a small but vocal architecture manifesto and an early expression of modernist housing ideology. From the vision of an international architectural modernism (a mission with which Giedion was involved as the first secretary-general of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture, between 1928 and 1959) to debates on the industrialization of construction processes and their impact on public housing, Liberated Dwelling expresses the dreams and anxieties of early 20th-century modernist architecture.
In addition to its polemical argument--a call for "the cheap house, the open house, the house that makes our lives easier"--Liberated Dwelling was a landmark publication in several respects. A critical step in Giedion's rise as one of modernism's most eloquent champions, the manifesto was based on the argumentative power of illuminating visual comparisons. The only book Giedion both authored and designed, it is a photobook as well as an architectural tract.
Sigfried Giedion: Liberated Dwelling introduces this critical text to English-language readers for the first time, with an English translation presented in a slipcase alongside a facsimile edition in German, supplemented with comprehensive annotations and a scholarly essay anchoring the work in its context.