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Modern Housing

2020
Author:

Catherine Bauer
Foreword by Barbara Penner

Modern Housing

The original guide on modern housing from the premier expert and activist in the public housing movement


Originally published in 1934, Modern Housing is widely acknowledged as one of the most important books on housing of the twentieth century, introducing the latest developments in European modernist housing to an American audience. In light of today’s affordable housing emergency, Catherine Bauer’s prescriptions for how to achieve humane and dignified modern housing remain as instructive and urgent as ever.

Modern Housing has special interest for Americans, not because of what we have done but because of what we have not done.

The New York Book Review (1934, R. L. Duffus)

Originally published in 1934, Modern Housingis widely acknowledged as one of the most important books on housing of the twentieth century, introducing the latest developments in European modernist housing to an American audience. It is also a manifesto: America needs to draw on Europe’s example to solve its housing crisis. Only when housing is transformed into a planned, public amenity will it truly be modern.

 

Modern Housing’s sharp message catalyzed an intense period of housing activism in the United States, resulting in the Housing Act of 1937, which Catherine Bauer coauthored. But these reforms never went far enough: so long as housing remained the subject of capitalist speculation, Bauer knew the housing problem would remain. In light of today’s affordable housing emergency, her prescriptions for how to achieve humane and dignified modern housing remain as instructive and urgent as ever.

Modern Housing

Catherine Bauer (Wurster) (1905–1964) was a leading public housing advocate and a lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was instrumental in the creation of its College of Environmental Design.



Barbara Penner is an architectural historian and professor of architectural humanities at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London.


Modern Housing

Modern Housing has special interest for Americans, not because of what we have done but because of what we have not done.

The New York Book Review (1934, R. L. Duffus)

It should not be thought that this book is intended only, or even mainly, for technicians; on the contrary, it is entirely suitable both in manner and matter for anyone interested in its subject.

The Spectator (1935)

Catherine Bauer’s Modern Housing shows how we lag behind Europe in good homes for all.

The Washington Post (1934, Theodore Hall)

In discussing Modern Housing, which deals largely with European achievements of the last fifteen years, it is difficult to exercise restraint and to avoid fulsome praise.

Lee M. Brooks, University of North Carolina (1935)

Planners, architects, and builders today should be equally interested in this book.

Daphne Spain, University of Virginia

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Available in February 2020