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08. Jan Jennings, Design and Environmental Analysis

Jan JenningsCheap and Tasteful Dwellings: Design Competitions and the Convenient Interior, 1879–1909 (University of Tennessee Press, 2005). Carpentry and Building magazine launched a competition in 1879 for inexpensive but well-designed houses for ordinary people. Jennings tells the stories of 42 competitions, 86 winning designs, winning designers, near-winners, and losers over a 30-year period, bringing architectural and cultural contexts to bear. The contests illuminated the problem of too few affordable, architect-designed houses for the majority of Americans. The book tells the story of the competitors’ attempts to apply architectural theory to designing practical houses with better interiors for ordinary life, with such features as proper working heights for countertops, plenty of natural lighting, and good cross-ventilation. Jennings gives a glimpse of American architectural history never before told.

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