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From tenements to flats: gender, class and modernisation in Bethnal Green Estate

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This paper examines the relationship between domestic architecture, spatial memory and the construction of subjectivities through an in-depth study of the modernization of Bethnal Green Estate. It illustrates how the architecture of Bethnal Green Estate was the site of powerful discourses of gender, family and community, which shaped the nature of participants' relationship with its architecture. Situating architecture within the material culture that we produce, consume and interact with, this study indicates how the participants constructed the nature of difference between the architecture of kitchens, front rooms and communal areas in the Estate as illustrative of gender, ethnic and generational difference. The ‘spatial loss’ of memories of tenement living experienced by elderly participants also implied a dichotomous relationship between a ‘nostalgic’ past and a ‘modernized’ present. In designing certain spaces within the estate, some participants formed an ambiguous relationship with its architecture, perceiving this relationship to be negative or positive at different times and in different contexts. This paper concludes that in critiquing and reshaping the modernized architecture, the tenants did not just challenge the ‘conceived’ spaces of the architects but also the ‘lived’ spaces of their own making.

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en

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application/pdf

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/874/1/From_tenements_to_flats_%28LSERO%29.pdf

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