Parker Morris and the economies of the Fordist house

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

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    The Parker Morris report of 1961 attempted, through the application of scientific principles, to define the minimum living space standards needed to accommodate household activities. But while early modernist research into ideas of existenzminimum were the work of avant-garde architects and thinkers, this report was commissioned by the British State. This normalization of scientific enquiry into space can be considered not only a response to new conditions in the mass production of housing – economies of scale, prefabrication, system-building and modular coordination – but also to the post-war boom in consumer goods. The domestic interior was assigned a key role as a privileged site of mass consumption as the production and micro-management of space in Britain became integral to the development of a planned national economy underpinned by Fordist principles. The apparently placeless and scale-less diagrams executed by Gordon Cullen to illustrate Parker Morris emblematize these relationships. Walls dissolve as space flows from inside to outside in a homogenized and ephemeral landscape whose limits are perhaps only the boundaries of the nation state and the circuits of capital.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationEconomy and Architecture
    EditorsJuliet Odgers, Mhairi McVicar, Stephen Kite
    PublisherRoutledge Taylor & Francis Group
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Print)9781138025479, 9781138025486
    Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2015


    • taylorism
    • existenzminimum
    • Parker Morris
    • scientific management
    • modularisation
    • pre-fabrication
    • housing
    • Architecture


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