This month another new book joins the Ashgate Studies in Architecture edited by Eamonn CanniffeTHE ARCHITECTURES OF CHILDHOOD: Children, Modern Architecture and Reconstruction in Postwar England by Roy Kozlovsky
Between 1935 and 1959, the architecture of childhood was at the centre of architectural discourse in a way that is unique in architectural history. Some of the seminal projects of the period, such as the Secondary Modern School at Hunstanton by Peter and Alison Smithson, Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation at Marseilles, or Aldo van Eyck's playgrounds and orphanage, were designed for children; At CIAM, architects utilized photographs of children to present their visions for reconstruction. The unprecedented visibility of the child to architectural discourse during the period of reconstruction is the starting point for this interdisciplinary study of modern architecture under welfare state patronage. Focusing mainly on England, this book examines a series of innovative buildings and environments developed for children, such as the adventure playground, the Hertfordshire school, the reformed children hospital, Brutalist housing estates, and New Towns. It studies the methods employed by architects, child experts and policy makers to survey, assess and administer the physiological, emotional and developmental needs of the 'user', the child. It identifies the new aesthetic and spatial order permeating the environments of childhood, based on endowing children with the agency and autonomy to create a self-regulating social order out of their own free will, while rendering their interiority and sociability observable and governable.By inserting the architectural object within a broader social and political context, The Architectures of Childhood situates post-war architecture within the welfare state's project of governing the self, which most intensively targeted the citizen in the making, the children. Yet the emphasis on the utilization of architecture as an instrument of power does not reduce it into a mere document of social policy, as the author uncovers the surplus of meaning and richness of experience invested in these environments at the historical moment when children represented values and ideas about life, community, happiness, human potentiality, and perhaps even the very prospect of imagining a more humane and secure future at the aftermath of the Second World War.
Eamonn Canniffe leads the Architecture Research Centre and the MA in Architecture + Urbanism at the Manchester School of Architecture. He was educated in Architecture at Cambridge and Harvard Universities. In 1996 he held a Rome Scholarship in the Fine Arts at the British School at Rome. Between 1986 and 1998 he taught at the University of Manchester School of Architecture, and between 1998 and 2006 at the University of Sheffield School of Architecture. He is the author of Urban Ethic: Design in the Contemporary City (Routledge 2006) (Chinese edition 城市伦理--当代城市设计 2013) and The Politics of the Piazza: the history and meaning of the Italian square (Ashgate 2008). He is co-author (with Tom Jefferies) of Manchester Architecture Guide (1999) and (with Peter Blundell Jones) of Modern Architecture through Case Studies 1945-1990 (Architectural Press 2007), (Chinese edition 现代建筑的演变 1945--1990年 2009) (Spanish edition Modelos de la Arquitectura Moderna -Volumen II 1945-1990 2013). For a number of years he has served as Architecture Series Editor for Ashgate Publishing.