Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM)


28 leading European architects founded in La Sarraz, near Lausanne in Switzerland, the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM), the International Congresses of Modern Architecture in June 1928.

Initialized by Le Corbusier with the support of Hélène de Mandrot, Gabriel Guévrékian and the art historian Sigfried Giedionwith (the first CIAM secretary-general), the conferences were meant as think tanks and places for exchanging and spreading ideas of the Modern Movement in archictecture and urban planning.

The other founding members were: Walter Gropius, Karl Moser (first CIAM president), Uno Åhrén, Hendrik Berlage, Victor Bourgeois, Pierre Chareau, Josef Frank, Gabriel Guevrekian, Max Ernst Haefeli, Hugo Häring, Arnold Hoechel, Huib Hoste, Pierre Jeanneret, André Lurçat, Ernst May, Max Cetto, Fernando García 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. 

From 1928 to 1959 eleven conferences took place:

  • 1928: CIAM I, La Sarraz, Switzerland, Foundation of CIAM
  • 1929: CIAM II, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, on The Minimum Dwelling
  • 1930: CIAM III, Brussels, Belgium, on Rational Land Development
  • 1933: CIAM IV, Athens, Greece, on The Functional City
  • 1937: CIAM V, Paris, France, on Dwelling and Recovery
  • 1947: CIAM VI, Bridgwater, England, Reaffirmation of the aims of CIAM
  • 1949: CIAM VII, Bergamo, Italy, on The Athens Charter in Practice
  • 1951: CIAM VIII, Hoddesdon, England, on The Heart of the City
  • 1953: CIAM IX, Aix-en-Provence, France, on Habitat
  • 1956: CIAM X, Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), on Habitat
  • 1959: CIAM XI, Otterlo, the Netherlands

The founding statement from CIAM I in the summer of 1928 included the following key statements:

  • Building is an elementary activity of man
  • Architecture should express the spirit of an era
  • The transformation of the social and economic structure needs a corresponding transformation of the architecture
  • Architecture has an economic and sociological task in the service of people

The dissolution of the organization was announced at the last conference in 1959.