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Teige, Karel

Teige, Karel (1900–51). Czechoslovak Communist architect, critic, and polemicist. With others he founded the anti-academic Devětsil Group (1920) which promoted Constructivism and other aspects of Modernism. Teige was opposed to any aesthetic considerations predetermining construction, believing the ‘New Architecture’ had to be hygienic, and that medical science should dictate layout, structure, and urban planning. From 1922 to 1928 he edited the avant-garde journal Stavba (Building), and developed relations between Czech Modernists and leading figures abroad (e.g. Behne, Hannes Meyer, Le Corbusier, and the Vesnins). He promoted new housing-schemes for the working-classes, advocating ‘dwellingcabins’ for each individual grouped into large ‘dwelling-hives’, also arguing for the abolition of family households (no permanent living together of two persons in one unit was to be possible) and for the complete socializing of children's education (1932). He prepared and edited the general report Die Wohnung für das Existenzminimum (Minimum Existence Housing— published in book form in 1937) for the third CIAM Congress in Brussels. He chaired the Prague-based Left Front, which he argued was the Czech CIAM group, but its extreme and intolerant views caused dissent within Czechoslovakia and even in CIAM as a whole. Nevertheless the municipal authorities of Prague and Brno determined to construct apartments taking into account Teige's anti-family views. However, by 1935, with Czechoslovak architects isolated, and Teige's opinion of architecture as a branch of science no longer fashionable, his influence, so strong for fifteen years or so, waned. Opposed to Stalinist Socialist Realism, he soon became a marginal figure, until the early C21, when his authoritarian Leftism once more appealed to a new generation in the West.

Bibliography

Codeluppi (ed.) (1996);
Wi.Cu (1996);
Dluhosch & Švácha (eds.) (1999);
Les'nikowski (ed.) (1996);
Sˇvácha (ed.) (1990);
Teige (1933, 2002)

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