The texts in the anthology approach the analysis and interpretation of specific architectural typologies – multifunctional buildings for education and culture – from various aspects, placing architectural work and particular examples of buildings and institutions in correlation with broader political, social, and theoretical contexts. The research shows a network of a large number of multifunctional buildings and institutions for education and culture in particular socialist states, which were founded and built-in cities and villages during the second half of the 20th century in order to implement cultural enlightenment, promote political beliefs, and organise social activities.
In interpreting the development of typologies, a few authors note the existence of numerous taxonomic categories, which were developed in order to differentiate relationships between particular functions within this architectural typology, as well as to semantically and ideologically create distance between the function and social role of buildings and structures from previous socio-political periods. The diversity and abundance of names used among different countries and within each particular country (e.g. different names used by different political systems, or even multiple names existing simultaneously) bear witness to gradations in meaning that are difficult to understand if one does not also understand the political and social context of the time.
Political and social changes from the socialist to post-socialist period impacted how these buildings were used and perceived. Due to political changes in the post-socialist period, numerous buildings, complexes, and institutions lost their earlier functions, which have not been replaced with new ones. Starting from the specificities of architectural typology, the texts in this anthology shed light on the contexts of their transformation in a broad range of issues, from key roles in social life to marginalisation. By examining the continuity of discontinuity in material and non-material heritage, we strive to indicate possible guidelines for sustainability studies on cultural heritage in today’s expanded field of modern culture.
The texts in the anthology are available here.