Reading Inhabitations Research task Essay Example

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Reading Inhabitations Research Task

Table of Contents

2Static architectural notation

2Envelope of the interior

3Week 3 & 4

3Bedroom development historically

3Late Andree Putman

4Models of domesticity

4Queer spaces and interiors


Week 1

Static architectural notation

Space, shape and the volume have a profound impact on a user, and an architect deals with them all while designing a built up environment. This is true of all aspects of architecture. For example, an interior designer, given the constraints of a particular space, will think of how the users will occupy that space; he will think of how that space could be better organised and he will apply ideas on how that space would behave in relation to others. This is very much like a dancer, whose body movements — movements that connect him or her with his or her inside and outside — will depend on the availability of the space in which the dancer is to act. Limited space would mean limited mobility and greater space a greater degree of flexibility (Caan, 2011).

In architectural parlance the end result on the design and the building process will depend on the types of available notations. Various forms of notations determine architect’s experiential and sensory response to space. If the notation is static, which means that there is limited flexibility on the application of ideas, it will not be sufficient for designing inhabited space. It was Paul Klee, who used static graphic image, to introduce the idea of time (Klee, 1930’s). Architecture is visual in nature, which is a dynamic process; being static is not. So when it is said that being static offers an insufficiency to the creation of an inhabited pace, it means architecture is not only a spatial act but also a temporal one.

The sensory response to space has also been dealt in detail by Juhani Pallasmaa. Juhani says buildings, or architecture, invokes feelings in the viewer; but not all buildings are able to accomplish that invocation. He calls it ‘geometry of feeling’ (Juhani, 1996). That means subjects establish a strange contact with the environment which they inhabit. There is a certain level of ‘attachment’ at work, and some spaces attach a subject more than the others. Throughout her career she explained this relationship by way of attaching external objects to human bodies and in the process explored their physical limitations and emotional trajectories. She termed these bodylandscapes (Theodotou, 2012; SouthBank Centre, nd). Space, thus, is central to almost everything in inhabited space. While it is capable of determining the space, it is also very much instrumental in determining the behaviour of individuals occupying that space. Space has a correlation with the inhabitants in it (Clark and Isen, 1982).

Week 2

Envelope of the interior

Since long furniture has been regarded as a social actor; an omniscient, omnipresent entity in a home that is witness to countless human encounters. In the epistemological business and cultural uplift of the eighteenth century, many objects of art began to act as narrators sort of. This led to a valuable insight into the role interior and the envelope of objects in which it was ensconced. Le Sopha, which is a novel by Claude-prosper Jolyot de Crebillion, critiquing 18th century France, remarks, for example, about sofa as part of an interior being both convenient and sumptuous (to receive the body) and surveillant (to observe the body) thus exhibiting both flaws as well as advantages (Hellman, 1999). This relationship was further explained by Charles Rice in what he termed as bourgeois domestic interior. Over a century later this envelope of interior began to be seen as a separate entity from that of architecture. A conceptual specificity got attached with the bourgeois domesticity (Thoronton, 1984).

Week 3 & 4

Bedroom development historically

Bedrooms are a relatively recent phenomenon, just as have been kitchens, dining rooms and bathrooms. The real twist could be seen in the nineteenth century during which industrial revolution rose and so did a dramatic rise in the middle class. New-found affluence was on the rise and the thin lining dividing home from workplace got thicker. Seclusion between the two as desired by the middle class became a norm and home began to be seen as a private abode of this middle class segment. This culture gradually seeped into households as well where a sort of «zoning» came into existence. Before that room in a home tended to be multipurpose and even furniture was shifted from one place to another depending on the need and convenience. What was a sitting room in the day transformed into a bedroom by the night. This is where need for a separate room, called a bedroom, sprang. Bedrooms provided further seclusion (Duncan, 2013).

Week 5

Late Andree Putman

Andree Putman was a legendary French interior designer, who was 87 when she died in Paris last year in 2013. Best known as one who designed Morgans Hotel for Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, one thing that made her stand out of the rest of her contemporaries was her space and product design which she based on minimalist style. She was the one who reissued and rediscovered early Modernist French furniture before she set on a global interior designing career. She was known for creating Guerlain flagship store and redesigning Concorde interiors, apart from creating private residences in Paris, Miami, Dublin, Shanghai, Rome, Tangier and Tel Aviv (Giovanni, 2013).

She rebuffed claims that money had anything to do with style and she believed that good designs are always simple and pure. Good designs never date, she had once remarked. She even contributed her design legacy in «The Pillow Book», a 1996 film by Peter Greenaway. A member of Left Bank intelligentsia in Paris, she designed the elegant interior of Jack Lang the French minister of culture, and even CAPC Museum of Contemporary Art’s dramatically lighted and subtly textured interiors. Sherman sees Andree Putman in light of primitivism as responsible for triggering artistic modernism (Sherman, 2004).

Week 6

Models of domesticity

Gender and relations van be explored through spatial and material expressions, particularly on the rural landscapes. Domesticity has been considered as a cult and has been studied most widely (Rotman, 1995). But as research into domesticity progressed, other relative concepts as domestic reform, equal rights feminism and others began to be explored since human interactions were thought as being structured by the same until early twentieth century from eighteenth century’s first half. In order to understand domesticity further, three models were used. These were: i) model for use of ceramic vessels and differential colour coding (Yentsch, 1991), ii) changing decorative model analysis (Wall, 1994), and formulas for modern discipline measurement (Shackel, 1993; Leone, 1999).

Based on these models when results were interpreted, it came to be known that before the codification of cult of domesticity was understood, separation of gender roles existed already. Another important point that emerged was that dictates as they emerged from a particular gender in a household had their roots in how that gender had been structured.

Week 7

Queer spaces and interiors

Aaron Betsky, a curator and an architecture critic, remarked in Building Sex that architecture was influenced by traditional gender roles. In Queer Space, he went a further ahead by stating that an entirely new architecture was taking birth on account of same-sex desire. He said same-sex people were responsible for redefining urban spaces, reclaiming neighbourhoods that are abandoned, and creating, on account of hostile environments, ‘liberating interiors.

It cannot be said that space is always politicised as queer spaces arises not because society is politically-driven but because same-sex people are practically driven to the wall that they develop an inherent desire to ‘break free’ from the shackles and taboos of the straight culture imposed on them. Another reason could be that because of these compulsions that they face, they turn inward, experiment with interior space and create stages of their own where they can probably hide their true nature, redefine themselves and celebrate without fear (Betsky, 2010).


Betsky, A. (2010). Queer Space. Peter McNeil. Crafting queer spaces: privacy and posturing, in John Potvin & Alla Myzelev (eds), Fashion, Interior Design and the Contours of Modern Identity, Ashgate, Farnham, pp. 19-41.

Caan, S. (2011). Rethinking Design and Interiors. Laurence King Publishing Ltd drawing place, 2011. 10 days Across the City. Press release, 20 October 2011. Available: Accessed May 01, 2014.

Clark, M. and Isen, A. (1982). Toward Understanding the Relationship between Feeling States and SocialBehavior, In: A. Hastorf and A. Isen (Eds.),Cognitive Social Psychology,Elsevier/North Holland, New York, pp.31-41.

Duncan, J. (2013). Sleeping around: A history of the Bedroom. Available: Accessed May 01, 2014.

Giovanni, J. (2013). Andrée Putman, Global Interior Designer, Dies at 87. Available: Accessed May 01, 2014.

Hellman, M. (1999). The Hotel de Soubise and the Rohan-Soubisc Family: Architecture, Interior Decoration, and the Art of Ambition in Eighteenth-Century France, Eighteenth Century Studies, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 415-445.

Juhani, P. (1996). The Geometry of Feeling in Kate Nesbitt (ed), Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1996), pp. 448-452.

Klee, P. (1930’s) (1961).Notebooks Volume 1, The Thinking Eye. Translated from German, Das Bildnerische Denken, (Schwabe & Co. Verlag, Basel, 1956). London: Lund Humphries Publishers.

Leone, M.P. (1999). Ceramics from Annapolis, Maryland: A Measure of Time Routines and Work Discipline. In Historical Archaeologies of Capitalism, edited by M. P. Leone and P. B. Potter, Jr., pp. 195-216. Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, Boston, Dordrecht, London, and Moscow.

Rotman, D. L. (1995). Class and Gender in Southwest Michigan: Interpreting Historical Landscapes. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, Department of Anthropology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.

Sherman, D. J. (2004). Post-Colonial Chic: Fantasies of the French Interior 1957-62, Art History, 27:5, pp. 770-80.

SouthBank Centre. (nd). Rebecca Horn: Bodylandscapes. Available: Accessed May 01, 2014.

Shackel, P. (1993). Personal Discipline and Material Culture. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.

Theodotou, P. (2012). Artist: Rebecca Horn: A Biographical and Artistic Review. Available: Accessed May 01, 2014.

Thornton, P. (1984). Authentic Decor: The Domestic Interior, 1620-1920, New York: Viking.

Wall, D.D.Z. (1994). The Archaeology of Gender: Separating the Spheres in Urban America. New York: Plenum.

Yentsch, A. (1991). Engendering visible and invisible ceramic artefacts, especially dairy vessels. Historical Archaeology 25 (4), pp. 132-155.