The industrialization of construction in the second half of the XX century

The industrialization of construction in the second half of the XX century. A global perspective

Call closed

While submitting, select “Original Study” as the Article type and “The industrialization of construction in the second half of the XX century” as Section/Category in the online form.

Guest Editors: Angelo Bertolazzi, Ilaria Giannetti

Angelo Bertolazzi, University of Padova (CV)

Ilaria Giannetti, University of Rome Tor Vergata (CV)

Submission and peer-review process information

Please submit all figures as a separate file in compliance with the guidelines for authors.
The double-blind peer review process will take place from 22/01/2024 to 20/05/2024.

Deadline for the first peer-review round notification to the authors. May 31, 2024
The best 12 to 14 contributions will be selected and published in a thematic issue of the scientific journal “TEMA”.
The other accepted articles, assessed through a blind peer-review procedure, may be published in an ordinary issue of the scientific journal “TEMA” or could be redirected to a volume edited by an international publisher.

Final publication deadline: the beginning of the year 2025 (other accepted papers will be published within 2025)

Call for papers brief

In the aftermath of WWII, construction techniques replacing traditional building yards were resorted to, prompted by the urgent need for reconstruction. This trend was a follow-up of the industrialization of construction dating back to the 1920s. In the severely hit Europe, approaches aiming to cut times, reduce construction costs, and optimize construction processes laid the basis on which the technical know-how of prefabrication was built; it was to become a worldwide asset. The experience acquired in the highest-industrialized countries was then applied to fit the different local traditions so as to become a network conveying theoretical and technological know-how concerning construction procedures: in the 50s, in Great Britain, France, The Netherlands, in the U.S.A., in West and East Germany, as well as in Poland, Czechoslovakia and the U.S.S.R., the new standardization-and-prefabrication-based construction methods were widely resorted to; this led to radical transformations of both projects and building yards, which in turn impacted on construction approaches in less highly-industrialized countries, such as Italy, Spain, Latin American countries, reaching even Africa (Ghana, Libya) and Asia (China, North Corea).
Starting from the above premises, the Call – which is part of the research sector of Construction History – aims to gather international research contributions on the factual industrialization of construction in the second half of the XX century based on the evidence provided by a specific series of primary and secondary sources, that is to say: patents of invention, handbooks and technical legislation, suitability certificates, periodicals and pamphlets issued by firms, documents referring to the original projects, building-yard photos.
This Call for papers comes with the intention of providing still-unavailable historiographical data useful for better understanding the international interpretations of the relationships between construction techniques and architectural languages in the second half of the XX century as well as boosting the historical-technical know-how concerning the still-used (though not recent) buildings (i.e., built heritage), in order to facilitate current maintenance and renovation interventions.
The four themes on which the Call focuses are:

1 – Industrialization in mass housing
In the aftermath of WWII, between 1945 and 1980, reconstruction and residential housing development became the fields of experimentation and large-scale application of industrialization in construction, ranging from heavy industrialization techniques and construction-yard industrialization in large dwellings buildings to intensive building to light prefabrication techniques applied to one-family residential buildings. That is why the assessment of the applied systems and processes provides data underlining the link between construction techniques and building types and – more widely – between technological progress and urban projects.

2 – Industrialization in production
In the second half of the XX century, the increasingly expanding industrial building sector provided an international field of trial in which experimental construction systems could be tried; they stemmed from the functional and distributive features of the spaces allotted to construction. In this respect, the study of the industrialization of the “industrial span” allows a fresh interpretation of the project-based assessment regarding the integration of technique and shape, developing through the authorial design of prefabricated structural elements (narrow vaults, large tiles, frames).

3 – The journeys of patents
Patents were the underlying factors in the industrialization of construction procedures: by means of protecting the commercial ownership of the systems in the construction market, at the same time, patents furthered the chances of sharing theoretical and technological know-how. Tracing “the journeys” of the patents of the main construction systems, which were characterized by resorting to prefabricated components, and of the post-war processes of building-yard industrialization, on the one hand, allows to acquire insights regarding the global phenomenon of industrialization applied to construction, on the other to focus on the local variations, stemming out of the specific features of the social and economic contexts.

4 – Prototypes
In the industrialization process, the experimental stage leading to the production of a prototype plays an important role in making large-scale production viable. Studying the development of the prototypes – even in the instances in which such prototypes were neither produced nor marketed – amounts to gaining insights into the planning and project-related process of industrialized systems, as well as in the resorting to alternative materials, if compared to the worldwide technologies of reinforced concrete and steel.

Technical Information

Articles and submissions processing charges (APC)

The contribution for the publication of each paper amounts to:

  • euro 300,00 for ArTec Members;
  • euro 400,00 for authors who are not Ar.Tec. Members


Essential guidelines

Authors should be aware that submitted articles must be formatted as TEMA: Technology, Engineering, Materials and Architecture Template (Click here to download):

  • The article must be submitted in .docx (.doc) format with figures, tables, and captions.
  • The Author(s) Agreement (Click here to download) form must be signed by the Corresponding Author and submitted as a separate file.
  • All figures must also be submitted separately in .tif o .jpg format and have a resolution of at least 200 dpi.


Essential contents

There are no strict formatting requirements, but all manuscripts must contain the essential elements needed to convey the manuscript:

  • Title (maximum 20 words);
  • Highlights (maximum 5 lines);
  • Abstract (maximum 1.500 characters including spaces);
  • Classification matches (Click here to view);
  • Text, composed of Introduction, Methods, Results, Conclusions, Artwork, and tables with captions;
  • References (maximum 25).