The Architectures of Childhood: Children, Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Postwar England, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

The Architectures of Childhood

Children, Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Postwar England, 1st Edition

By Roy Kozlovsky


292 pages

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Paperback: 9781138246973
pub: 2016-09-09
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pub: 2013-05-13
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pub: 2016-03-16
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Between 1935 and 1959, the architecture of childhood was at the centre of architectural discourse in a way that is unique in architectural history. Some of the seminal projects of the period, such as the Secondary Modern School at Hunstanton by Peter and Alison Smithson, Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation at Marseilles, or Aldo van Eyck’s playgrounds and orphanage, were designed for children; At CIAM, architects utilized photographs of children to present their visions for reconstruction. The unprecedented visibility of the child to architectural discourse during the period of reconstruction is the starting point for this interdisciplinary study of modern architecture under welfare state patronage. Focusing mainly on England, this book examines a series of innovative buildings and environments developed for children, such as the adventure playground, the Hertfordshire school, the reformed children hospital, Brutalist housing estates, and New Towns. It studies the methods employed by architects, child experts and policy makers to survey, assess and administer the physiological, emotional and developmental needs of the ’user’, the child. It identifies the new aesthetic and spatial order permeating the environments of childhood, based on endowing children with the agency and autonomy to create a self-regulating social order out of their own free will, while rendering their interiority and sociability observable and governable. By inserting the architectural object within a broader social and political context, The Architectures of Childhood situates post-war architecture within the welfare state’s project of governing the self, which most intensively targeted the citizen in the making, the children. Yet the emphasis on the utilization of architecture as an instrument of power does not reduce it into a mere document of social policy, as the author uncovers the surplus of meaning and richness of experience invested in these environments at the historical mom


'… it (the adventure playground) now has the scholarly account that it deserves: architectural historian Roy Kozlovsky’s very fine The Architectures of Childhood: Children, Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Postwar England … Kozlovsky provides a sympathetic but critical account of adventure playgrounds. He particularly questions the belief that play is a human instinct that surmounts its historical context.' The Architectural Review 'Each chapter is readable and informative in its own right, but what links them together, and what makes Kozlovsky’s study both more ambitious in its scope and more engaging than some of the design-led histories of the architecture the period, are strong theoretical underpinnings'. Journal of Historical Geography 'Roy Kozlovsky’s book … elegantly and convincingly shows the central place of childhood in England in the years around World War II.' Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The Peckham experiment: functionalism and subjectivity; Adventure playgrounds: play on display; The architecture of educare; Children in hospital; Cradles of citizenship: housing and community planning; Team 10 and urban childhood; Afterword; List of references; Index.

About the Author

Dr Roy Kozlovsky, Department of Architecture, Northeastern University, Boston, USA.

About the Series

Ashgate Studies in Architecture

Ashgate Studies in Architecture
The discipline of Architecture is undergoing subtle transformation as design awareness permeates our visually dominated culture. Technological change, the search for sustainability and debates around the value of place and meaning of the architectural gesture are aspects which will affect the cities we inhabit. This series seeks to address such topics, both theoretically and in practice, through the publication of high quality original research, written and visual. Topics to be covered include the following: Architectural history and theory and their relationship to the development of the discipline, building conservation, heritage and creative adaptation. The formal and aesthetic values of architectural design, the diversity of its expression of identity, and its representation in other media. The impact of technological innovation on the materialisation of architecture and the questions surrounding environmental sustainability, experimentation and visionary design The social and psychological context of architectural production, its relationship to occupants, clients and to other creative and professional disciplines, and the political situation in which it is commissioned. Proposals will be welcomed which explore or connect aspects of these themes. Subjects which deal with individual architects, with specific buildings or building types, and the critical interpretation of historical and contemporary architecture from a theoretical or philosophical perspective are particularly encouraged. Architecture's embodiment of technical, social, and aesthetic aspects will also be emphasised.

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