Tag: fifties collage artwork
The prime difficulty in most city planning until the 20th century was due to the fact that too few trained individuals had given specific thought to such problems as the regulation of traffic, control of the ingress of food stuffs, and the elimination of waste material. No one had considered the city as a greatly magnified human being which needed light, air, and exercise, as well as protection from the smoke and noise of the machine.
As cities simply grew, with the great concentration of population in the slums and with the advent of the skyscrapers, daily drawing their thousands of occupants from suburban areas, the problems of congestion and health control eventually forced the architects to think in terms of the efficiently planned metropolis. In the 20th century, a few enlightened industrialists also began to perceive that well-housed, healthy workers are a necessary part of the long-range planning for a stable industrial civilization.
In the America of the 1950s, it has been said, “each householder was able to have his own little Versailles along a cul-de-sac”. For the first time, many middle-class American families could afford to buy their own house, set in its own plot of land with an integrated garage.
The growth of suburban living brought with it a new lifestyle, in which leisure took on a new significance. A wide range of new domestic artefacts appeared as symboIs of this “affluent society”.
Desire for the new lifestyle goods was created and communicated by the mass media in magazine and television advertisements. As well as the readily available mass-produced additions to the household there was a growing tendency in interior decoration for householders to “do-it-yourself” to achieve a luxurious “modern” interior at a fraction of the price which it would cost to bring in an interior decorator.
The suburban “dream house” had its roots in Iate 19th-century America: Frank Lloyd Wright’s turn-of-the-century “Prairie” houses provided a model for later developers to emulate. By the early postwar years the “dream” had been made available to a new sector of the American populationý through improved methods of building cheap standardized, pre-fabricated houses and mortgage schemes provided for former members of the armed forces. A major justification for suburbia was the fact that it was safe for the children of the postwar baby boom. lncreased automobile ownership also helped to make suburban living a practical proposition.
The kitchen was the most important room in the suburban home of the 1950s as appliances began to take over from the automobile as the prime symbols of living in the modem age. The automatic washing-machine, the deep-freeze and the dishwasher were essentially products of the postwar era. They faciIitated living in the new settingý provided consumers with the latest technology in their own homes and filled the ever expanding space that constituted the kitchen area in the new suburban house.