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Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne

The Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) (1928 - 1959) was the think tank of the Modern Movement (or International Style) in architecture. It was both an organisation and a series of meetings.

Table of contents
1 Formation and Membership
2 Influence
4 Conferences
5 Disbanding
6 See also

Formation and Membership

CIAM was formed at the Chateau de la Sarraz in Switzerland in June 1928, by a group of 28 European architects organized by Le Corbusier, Hélène de Mandrot (owner of the castle), and Sigfried Giedion (the first secretary-general).

Other founder members included Karl Moser (first president), Victor Bourgeois, Pierre Chareau, Josef Frank, Gabriel Guevrekian, Max Ernst Haefeli, Hugo Häring, A Höchel, Huib hoste, Pierre Jeanneret (cousin of Le Corbusier), André Lurçat, Ernst May, A G Mercadal, Hannes Meyer, Werner Max Moser, Carlo Enrico Rava, Gerrit Rietveld, Alberto Sartoris, Hans Schmidt, Mart Stam, Rudolf Steiger, Henri-Robert Von der Mühll, and Juan de Zavala

Other notable members later included Alvar Aalto and Hendrick Petrus Berlage.


The organisation was hugely influential. It was not only engaged in formalising the architectual principles of the Modern Movement, but also saw architecture as an economic and political tool that could be used to improve the World through the design of buildings and through urban planning.

CIAM published their controversial Athens Charter in 1943, based on discussions held ten years earlier, that claimed that the problems faced by cities could be resolved by strict functional segregation, and the distribution of the population into tall apartment blocks at widely spaced intervals. The ideas were widely adopted by town planners in the rebuilding of Europe following World War II, although by then some CIAM members were having doubts about some of the concepts.

As CIAM members travelled world-wide after the war, many of its ideas spread outside Europe, notably to the USA. Unfortunately the implementation of many of the ideas was frequently poorly executed in the post-war era, often due to tight financial constraints, sometimes compounded by a poor understanding of the concepts by architects.


The elected executive body of CIAM was CIRPAC, the Comité International pour la Résolution des Problèmes de l’Architecture Contemporaine (International Committee for the Resolution of Problems in Contemporary Architecture).


CIAM's conferences consisted of:


The CIAM organisation disbanded in
1959 as the views of the members diverged. Le Corbusier had left in 1955, objecting to the increasing use of English during meetings.

See also