Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Production housing/marketing housing as an ideal

Postcard, Model Homes in the Town of Tomorrow, New York World's Fair

The New York Times Sunday Magazine Design Supplement has an article, "Nation Building," about Colonial Revival as a style of architecture and how it was promoted, in relationship to an exhibit that will opening at the Museum of the City of New York in the summer.

From the article:

The Town of Tomorrow at the 1939 World’s Fair proved uncannily prophetic. Model dwellings like the Electric Home and the Triple Insulated Home tucked dishwashers, air-conditioning and other technological marvels behind raised-panel doors and mullioned sash that proudly evoked 18th-century domesticity.

Colonial never regained its prewar status as a major urban style, although present-day examples — from reverent neo-Georgian mansions to puckish caricature silhouettes — at the museum confirm the style’s record as the longest-running revival in town, albeit for a carriage-trade clientele. The architect Peter Pennoyer designed the exhibition’s historically appropriate installation, including his own riff on a classic wooden doorway with fluted pilasters and a leaded-glass fanlight. Although the displays will not include the clip-on shutters and vinyl clapboard of today’s mass-produced tract houses, they’re proof that for suburbanites everywhere, Colonial remains the stuff American dreams are built on.

The postcard is particularly interesting, given that so much of the discussion of the 1939 World's Fair is about how the future of the city was described through the GM Motorama exhibit.

But post-war production housing, subdivisions of houses, with a set of designs representing various archetypes clearly derived from this kind of imagery.

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