Fallout Shelter: Designing for Civil Defense in the Cold War

Front Cover
U of Minnesota Press, 2011 - Architecture - 348 pages
0 Reviews
In 1961, reacting to U.S. government plans to survey, design, and build fallout shelters, the president of the American Institute of Architects, Philip Will, told the organization’s members that “all practicing architects should prepare themselves to render this vital service to the nation and to their clients.” In an era of nuclear weapons, he argued, architectural expertise could “preserve us from decimation.”
In Fallout Shelter, David Monteyne traces the partnership that developed between architects and civil defense authorities during the 1950s and 1960s. Officials in the federal government tasked with protecting American citizens and communities in the event of a nuclear attack relied on architects and urban planners to demonstrate the importance and efficacy of both purpose-built and ad hoc fallout shelters. For architects who participated in this federal effort, their involvement in the national security apparatus granted them expert status in the Cold War. Neither the civil defense bureaucracy nor the architectural profession was monolithic, however, and Monteyne shows that architecture for civil defense was a contested and often inconsistent project, reflecting specific assumptions about race, gender, class, and power.
Despite official rhetoric, civil defense planning in the United States was, ultimately, a failure due to a lack of federal funding, contradictions and ambiguities in fallout shelter design, and growing resistance to its political and cultural implications. Yet the partnership between architecture and civil defense, Monteyne argues, helped guide professional design practice and influenced the perception and use of urban and suburban spaces. One result was a much-maligned bunker architecture, which was not so much a particular style as a philosophy of building and urbanism that shifted focus from nuclear annihilation to urban unrest.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

City Suburb and Shelter in 1950s Civil Defense
1
The National Fallout Shelter Program
35
Fallout Protection
49
City and Social Planning for Civil Defense
77
Professional Architects and Civil Defense
107
Designs for Fallout Shelter
143
Fallout Shelter Design
154
Fallout Shelter in New Buildings
189
Boston City Hall
231
EPILOGUE
271
Acknowledgments
285
Notes
287
Index
335
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2011)

\David Monteyne is assistant professor of architectural history and theory at the University of Calgary.

Bibliographic information