Discussion: Texts by Beatriz Colomina and Paul Preciado
Thoughts about the texts “The Split Wall: Domestic Voyeurism” by Beatriz Colomina and “Pornotopia or the Architecture of Playboy” by Paul (Beatriz) Preciado.
Loos and Materiality
– As Loos is an architect that works very precise with materiality in his interiors, we were wondering what role it has in the context of creating gendered rooms. It is noticeable, that Colomina only uses the materiality when it strengthens her argument of the “view mechanism”, other aspects were neglected.
The Playboy House
– We were discussing whether the physical building of the playboy house is actually important or if the constructed images by the magazine itself already created a new reality. The Playboy Mansion, for example, as a physical place didn’t exist for a long time.
– The bachelor house is represented as a modernist building located in the bustling urban area while the family house in contradiction, is placed in the suburbs and symbolized by a small traditional house. It seems that the bachelor is reclaiming the city but in fact the Playboy Mansion is highly secluded and masks itself behind a traditional façade. So the opposition of the two different styles of architecture and locations is more an expression of an idea.
– One could argue that the outside is actually not that important as the inside to live this lifestyle
– They wanted to sell an affordable and accessible lifestyle, which in reality wasn’t the case. The modern buildings and furniture of famous designers weren’t affordable at all and the access was only an illusion created by the magazine.
Further we have been asking ourselves, why men during the post-war period became more interested in domesticity.
– One explanation was that women in that time took over the role of the men. When men returned after the war and realized that, they were looking for another role and tried to acquire the domestic sphere.
– Another point that was mentioned was the different design of the kitchen for men. As bachelors live by themselves, they inevitably need to cook for themselves and the kitchen needed to be more manly. It turned into a high-tech artefact that was clearly distinguishing itself from the kitchen of the “housewife”.
– Maybe men also want to show that they are actually better at keeping a household. Until men were taking influence in the sphere of women at home, women had at least in those spaces a relative power and agency. So in the post-war period men claimed even that space.
– You still can observe nowadays, when a man is for example in a tram with his children, people react differently than if it was a woman. Usually men receive more appreciation for the same tasks while women get ignored, as it is normal that they take care of their children or cook.
– Another aspect could also be the rising middle class at that time. They didn’t have enough money to have employees that could cook, but they had enough money and education that they wanted to be more than peasants.
– But the system is also oppressive for men. We tend to forget that, when we always talk about problems the “poor women”.
– Maybe the degree of oppression is smaller in the field of architecture for men, but quite strong in the expectations of heteronormativity.