Dianne S Harris
THE POST-WAR HOUSE: DESIGN, DESIRE, DOMESTICITY
Professor Harris is an architectural and landscape historian specializing in studies of the built environment in eighteenth-century Italy and in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. Currently, she is developing a book manuscript on U.S. post-war domestic environments, which will be her focus during her Center appointment. The study examines post-war domestic environments in the United States between 1945 and 1965 using an interdisciplinary approach and a wide range of primary sources. The manuscript is divided into four sections: (1) new and increasing concerns for personal and family privacy and their impact on the design of houses; (2) the impact of material consumption in the development of post-war domestic environments; (3) the impact on house design of new technological developments such as high-fidelity sound systems, modern electronic devices such as intercoms, and new materials applied for indoor and outdoor use; and (4) the influence of the popular press and other communications media on residential design.
Unlike the numerous extant studies of post-war architecture that focus on high-style architects and elite design trends, this book begins to fill a substantial gap in the scholarship by focusing on the ordinary, middle-class house and garden. In addition to architectural archives and examples of built works, this research is based on new forms of evidence such as corporate trade journals and previously unexamined aspects of serial publications. The book aims to reveal the richly varied texture of post-war, middle-class domestic design, and seeks to provide an explanation for trends in house design and construction that persist today.