Social condenser

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

From Soviet Constructivist theory, the social condenser is a spatial idea practiced in architecture. At the opening speech for the first OSA Group conference in 1928, Moisei Ginzburg claimed that "the principal objective of constructivism... is the definition of the Social Condenser of the age." The single building most associated with the idea is the Narkomfin Building in Moscow, begun in 1928 and finished in 1932.

Central to the idea of the social condenser is the premise that architecture has the ability to influence social behavior. The intention of the social condenser was to influence the design of public spaces, with a goal of breaking down perceived social hierarchies in an effort to create socially equitable spaces.

Approaches in creating the built form of a "social condenser" include the intentional overlapping and intersection of programs within a space through circulation. In this example, shared circulation nodes create collision zones of varied constituencies. The premise is that these areas of collision create the environment where there is potential to allow for otherwise disperse social communities to interact.

In the OMA book Content, a social condenser is described as a "Programmatic layering upon vacant terrain to encourage dynamic coexistence of activities and to generate through their interference, unprecedented events."


  • McGetrick, Brendan; Koolhaas, Rem, Ed. (2004). "Content", pp. 73. Taschen, 2004. ISBN 3-8228-3070-4.
  • Kopp, Anatole (1970) "Town and Revolution" London. p. 112