Institution and Home: Architecture as a Cultural Medium

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Techne Press, 2006 - Architecture - 268 pages
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The traditional dichotomy between institutional and domestic space does not adequately explain design in the 21st century, nor does it relate to the layperson's conception of a continuum between institution and home. By comparing various institutional and home environments, this book identifies the attitudes and behaviors associated with diverse housing settings and the design elements that generate and express them. While the cultural analysis of design is generally based on subjective interpretation, this book goes beyond this, employing additional quantitative measures to provide a more definitive analysis. On the basis of methods such as semantic differential evaluation of images, inventories, and space syntax diagrams, Julia Williams Robinson develops a territorial gradient delineating seven domains from intimate to public-urban based on numbers of users and spatial dimensions. On the basis of this, the text identifies different kinds of domesticity and institutionality. Such distinctions raise important questions about how design can empower residents, and how the designer can become a positive force, constructing and influencing cultural messages using the medium of architecture. Institution and Home: Architecture as a Cultural Medium offers a timely response to the debate on the effects of cultural change and consumer power in the built environment of the 21st century. It provides a wealth of information on housing that will interest both designers and theorists, students of contemporary urban culture as well as urban planners and architects.

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Architecture as a Cultural Medium
Conscious Cultural Change

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About the author (2006)

Julia W. Robinson is professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota. She
is the coeditor, with Andrzej Piotrowski, of The Discipline of Architecture (2001, University of Minnesota Press).

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