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The Modern American House : Spaciousness and Middle Class Identity - Sandy Isenstadt

The Modern American House

Spaciousness and Middle Class Identity


Published: 9th June 2014
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Sandy Isenstadt examines how architects, interior designers, and landscape designers worked to enhance spatial perception in middle class houses visually. The desire for spaciousness reached its highest pitch where it was most lacking, in the small, single-family houses that came to be the cornerstone of middle class life in the nineteenth century. In direct conflict with actual dimensions, spaciousness was linked to a tension unique to the middle class - between spatial aspirations and financial limitations. Although rarely addressed in a sustained fashion by theorists and practitioners, and the inhabitants of houses themselves, Isenstadt argues that spaciousness was central to the development of modern American domestic architecture, with explicit strategies for perceiving space being pivotal to modern house design. Through professional endorsement, concern for visual space found its way into discussion of real estate and law.

'The book's themes are always intriguing. With its emphasis on viewers' experience of spaciousness rather than architects creating spaciousness, the book fits into recent vernacular architecture studies that examine inhabitation as a primary influence on buildings.' Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 'Isenstadt's book shines as a model of interdisciplinary writing ... His scholarly thoroughness and rhetorical openness make his work a pleasure to read and contemplate.' The American Historical Review

Introduction: spaciousness, history of a visual effect; 1. The small house era; 2. The production of spaciousness; 3. Spacious interiors; 4. Looking at landscapes; 5. Glass horizons; 6. 'The view it frames': a history of the picture window; 7. Cultivated vistas; 8. The ruler and the eye: the compensations of spaciousness; 9. Conclusion: this excellent dumb discourse.

ISBN: 9781107675063
ISBN-10: 1107675065
Series: Modern Architecture and Cultural Identity
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 344
Published: 9th June 2014
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 26.1 x 17.8  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.66