Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960

Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960

Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960

Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960

Synopsis

What was different about the environments that women created as architects, designers and clients at a time when they were gaining increasing political and social status in a male world? Through a series of case studies, Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960, examines in detail the professional and domestic spaces created by women who had money and the opportunity to achieve their ideal. Set against a background of accepted notions of modernity relating to design and architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this book provides a fascinating insight into women's social aspirations and identities. It offers new information and new interpretations in the study of gender, material culture and the built environment in the period 1860-1960.

Excerpt

Penny Sparke

Appearing as it does after thirty years of writings about women's relationships with architecture and design Women's Places: Architecture and Design 1860-1960 belongs to an academic tradition that is well established. However, it brings to that tradition a new perspective and offers fresh insights. That it can do this is dependent upon its awareness of existing work and its focus on case studies and the personal biographies of a number of specific women who have interacted with architecture and design over the hundred-year period, 1860-1960. This approach has provided the subject both with new material and with new interpretations. Straddling the usually distinct worlds of architecture and interior design, Women's Places is also able to suggest new ways of thinking about the relationships between women and these two disciplines which cross the boundaries between them. In addition, it seeks to embrace a wider range of relationships than have traditionally been covered, showing that women have interfaced with architecture and design not only as producers and consumers and clients but also as collaborators and commentators. As this collection of case studies will clearly demonstrate, women have brought a number of ways of working and a range of approaches and attitudes to these subtle and shifting relationships. Above all, Women's Places offers a pluralistic reading of some of the ways in which women living in the Western industrialised world have worked with, and related to, architecture and design.

The tradition which this publication recognises, respects and extends has dealt with the relationships of women to the material and spatial environment they have inhabited over the last century and a half. It began in earnest in the early 1970s and has gone through a number of methodological transformations. Not until the women's movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s had raised the consciousness of large numbers of women who sought to assert their rights in a wide range of fields did a rigorous approach to the subject emerge. In the early years interest lay, as it did in

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