Modern Home. Single-family housing ideals as presented in Finnish architecture and interior design magazines in the 1950s and 1960s

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Abstract

The aim of the dissertation is to study through material found in the relevant magazines how the ideals for modern living were built in Finland in the 1950s and 1960s. The research questions are:What was typical of Finnish single-family housing architecture during those decades?How did the magazines describe and create the single-family housing ideals in the 1950s and 1960s?I have also studied the change in the role and the position of an architect in the design of single-family houses and the changes in the concept of a family in the 1960s and onwards compared to the situation in the beginning of the 1950s. Houses as architecture of everyday life and also as lived-in spaces have been among my preoccupations as well as the material forms they have taken. This dissertation is a monography and the methods are based partly on the author’s own experience as a practicing architect reading plans, sections and site plans, and partly on the analyses of the texts and accompanying images. The research material consists of journals which were published in Finland in the 1950s and 1960s and dealt with housing: Arkkitehti which was meant for the professionals, the interior magazine Kaunis koti which was read by enlightened housewives, and Kotiliesi which catered for the large majority of women. In the late 1960s also Avotakka entered the media field. The articles on the detached, semi-detached and row-houses in these magazines with their accompanying illustrations have been my research material. The exhibition catalogues of the Finnish architecture exhibitions Suomi rakentaa are also included in that material. The dissertation is divided into four parts. The first part includes the introduction and the short background of the history of detached houses and the housing policy in Finland as well as the concept of modernity. The second part is the analysis chapter of the research material based on the professional publications dealing with housing architecture: from villas in nature, row-houses and atrium houses to modular constructivism. The third part of the research is dealing with the interior design and family magazines. The most common topics of the articles are presented in the chapters: housing exhibitions, inter¬national influence, Tapiola, material and form experiments, and standardised house types. The presentation of the features of a modern home is based on the functions of the different rooms. In the fourth part of the research the material is analysed through two themes: family life and changes in the role of an architect. It was possible to see through the articles and accompanying images, how family members used the spaces of the home and how this was changing during the period under study. In the same way it was also possible to see how the position of an architect changed in the design of houses from the end of the 1960s. The research shows that this genre of journalism was ruled by specialists in the 1950s and 1960s. Architects were writing both for Arkkitehti and Kotiliesi. The decreasing appreciation of expertise can be seen from the late 1960s, when the titles of the writers disappeared from the articles as well as the names of the authors of the standardised house type designs. The do-it-yourself culture also increased in the construction of single-family houses. Architects became increasingly interested in city planning and the solving of global problems at the end of the 1960s. In the ways that domestic space was used by families it can be seen that gender roles remained traditional throughout the research period (women in kitchens, men in living rooms, children in their own rooms) though women were presented also relaxing at home, e.g. in the pool space or on the sofa, by the end of the 1960s. One remarkable feature of a modern home at the time was that the boundaries of private and public space became vague and less clearly defined, a phenomenon which is still ongoing in our time of digitalization and social media.
Translated title of the contributionModern Home. Single-family housing ideals as presented in Finnish architecture and interior design magazines in the 1950s and 1960s
Original languageFinnish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Niskanen, Aino, Supervisor
  • Huttunen, Hannu, Advisor
  • Saarikangas, Kirsi, Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-7701-7
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-7702-4
Publication statusPublished - 2017
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)

Keywords

  • house
  • detached house
  • architecture
  • housing
  • modernism
  • magazines
  • architect’s role
  • family
  • 1950s
  • 1960s

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