growing up modern
ongoing research and documentation project
Supported by a Faculty Fellowship from the Humanities Institute, University at Buffalo and the Lawrence B. Anderson Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
While a lot has been recorded about the clients who wilfully dared to pursue modernity in their domestic environments, little is known about the experience of children who grew up in some of history's most revolutionary homes and housing. Our aim is to document the stories and experiences of the serendipitous inhabitants of architectural visions in order to bring their memories to a broader audience through an exhibition and publication.
As part of the research and documentation project, we have undertaken a series of interviews with individuals who were, as children, the first inhabitants of radical buildings from the early twentieth century.
Interviews conducted thus far include the first children to grow up in:
- Row house by J.J.P. Oud in the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart
- Tugendhat Villa by Mies van der Rohe in Brno
- Schminke House in Loebau by Hans Scharoun
- Row house by Le Corbusier’s in Pessac Estate outside Bordeaux
- Unité d’Habitation in Marseille by Le Corbusier
- House by Walter Gropius in the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart
‘Growing up Modern’ is a foray into the field of oral history typically not investigated in architecture scholarship. The study questions what histories are being preserved for these exemplary structures and posits that the recollections of those who have occupied the buildings, rich in anecdotal and personal detail, are as valid and worthy of preservation as the material constructions themselves.