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Title: Domestic modernities : the experience of architecture, planning and home, 1933-1953
Author: Llewellyn, M. R.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2002
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This thesis explores the way in which people 'experienced' Modernist architecture between 1933 and 1953. Its focus is the means by which domestic modernities, that is the home in its Modern form, were produced, consumed and re-produced by interested parties, including residents themselves. I focus principally on the work of three key figures in the history of Modernism and their relationship to the home: the housing consultant Elizabeth Denby, and the architects Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew. My aim is not to produce a comprehensive historiography of Modernism, but rather to offer a different perspective on what is a rather 'thicker' narrative of space than previously acknowledged. Questions of domestic modernities are explored at three spatial scales, through which key themes of gender, community and citizenship are theoretically interwoven. Firstly, Part I considers the relationship between Modernism and the home, with a specific focus on the kitchen. Analysing architects' plans, exhibition displays and the public's response to them, I argue that the notion of gendered space is a useful tool for a fuller understanding of how the kitchen was not only designed by, but also designed women. Secondly, the thesis analyses the Modern flat and the housing estate, through a reconsideration of the geographies of Kensal House in North Kensington, London. Through oral history and archival evidence Part II argues that the 'experience' and 'possession' of the built environment after its completion is as important a narrative as the architectural discourse surrounding it. Using a theoretical perspective derived from Henri Lefebvre, I argue that the re-production of space post-completion is a central factor in the experience of domestic modernities. Thirdly, the largest spatial scale analyses the Modernist concept of the 'neighbourhood unit' in the creation of the New Town of Harlow. Considering the housing groups of Tany's Dell and The Chantry, Part III analyses the 'architectural determinism' bound up in the attempt to build modern communities and to 'shape' modern citizens. Again using oral histories, I attempt to locate another voice in the geography and history of Modernist architecture, that of the end-users of these spaces.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available