Maroš Krivý, “Faceless Concrete Monsters, c. 1990,” in K. Cupers, H. Mattsson and C. Gabrielsson (Eds.), Neoliberalism on the Ground: Architecture and Transformation from the 1960s to the Present, pp. 89–109 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020)

“Boom, boom, boom,” reveled Charles Jencks in the opening pages of The Language of Post-Modern Architecture (1977), inaugurating the postmodern age with a vignette of Pruitt-Igoe’s demolition. For architects in the state socialist East inspired by Jencks, the postmodern question was inextricable from the question of mass housing. This chapter compares socialist-reformist and anti-socialist tendencies in late-socialist postmodernism, and examines how, by the late 1980s, the latter prevailed through the medium of so-called paper architecture. It surveys drawings, magazine covers and other documents on paper produced in Czechoslovakia, and examines their dystopian visions for the future of mass housing—overgrown, abandoned, and dynamited. Departing from the argument that paper architecture was a medium of emancipatory imagination under late socialism, this chapter argues that it unwittingly helped to normalize neoliberal urbanism.