In the years of reconstruction and economic boom that followed the Second World War, the domestic sphere encountered new expectations regarding social behaviour, modes of living, and forms of dwelling. This book brings together an international group of scholars from architecture, design, urban planning, and interior design to reappraise mid-twentieth century modern life, offering a timely reassessment of culture and the economic and political effects on civilian life.

This collection contains essays that examine the material of art, objects, and spaces in the context of practices of dwelling over the long span of the postwar period. It asks what role material objects, interior spaces, and architecture played in quelling or fanning the anxieties of modernism’s ordinary denizens, and how this role informs their legacy today.

part 1|63 pages

Psychological Constructions

chapter 1|23 pages

Taking Comfort in The Age of Anxiety

Eero Saarinen's Womb Chair
ByCammie McAtee

chapter 2|19 pages

The Future is Possibly Past

The Anxious Spaces of Gaetano Pesce
ByJane Pavitt

chapter 3|19 pages


Electric Light and the Anxiety of the Gaze in American Postwar Domestic Architecture
ByMargaret Maile Petty

part 2|82 pages

Ideological Objects

chapter 4|20 pages

The Allegory of the Socialist Lifestyle

The Czechoslovak Pavilion at the Brussels Expo, its Gold Medal and the Politburo
ByAna Miljački

chapter 5|40 pages

Assimilating Unease

Moholy-Nagy and the Wartime/Postwar Bauhaus in Chicago
ByRobin Schuldenfrei

chapter 6|20 pages

The Anxieties of Autonomy

Peter Eisenman from Cambridge to House VI
BySean Keller

part 3|58 pages

Societies of Consumers

chapter 7|20 pages

“But a home is not a laboratory”

The Anxieties of Designing for the Socialist Home in the German Democratic Republic 1950–1965
ByKatharina Pfützner

chapter 8|17 pages

Architect-Designed Interiors for a Culturally Progressive Upper-Middle Class

The Implicit Political Presence of Knoll International in Belgium
ByFredie Floré

chapter 9|19 pages

Domestic Environments

Italian Neo-Avant-Garde Design and the Politics of Post-Materialism
ByMary Louise Lobsinger

part 4|70 pages

Class Concerns and Conflict

chapter 10|20 pages

Dirt and Disorder

Taste and Anxiety in the Homes of the British Working Class
ByChristine Atha

chapter 11|27 pages

Upper West Side Stories

Race, Liberalism, and Narratives of Urban Renewal in Postwar New York
ByJennifer Hock

chapter 12|21 pages

Pawns or Prophets?

Postwar Architects and Utopian Designs for Southern Italy
ByAnne Parmly Toxey

part |15 pages


chapter |13 pages

From Homelessness to Homelessness

ByDavid Crowley