“Architecture in Uniform,” which is the title of Jean-Louis Cohen’s excellent exhibition at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine in Paris, presents projects both known and unknown that came into being between the Nazi’s destruction of Guernica in 1937 and the Allies’ atomic bombardments of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. The interest of his academic research unit lies in its broad observational spectrum of countries that were engaged in the process of war in Europe, Japan, and the United States. For our seminar, he has agreed to discuss his methods of work and the reasons that drove him to relate gigantic projects as different as the Pentagon in the United States and Auschwitz and the Peenemünde Army Research Center in the territories annexed by the Reich and in Germany. What they have in common is that they all belong to a “modernization” process involving forms, techniques, and construction procedures.
Architects, draftsmen, and engineers played a major role in this process whose goal was to give efficient form to war factories from the Pacific to the Urals.