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Authors on Architecture:
Schrank on Modernism and The Body
Saturday, September 09, 2017

Please join SAH/SCC and author Sarah Schrank as she explores the significance of the sun to modern concepts of healthful architecture. Her topic, “Sunshine Architecture: Naked Living and the Rethinking of the American Suburbs,” will focus on post World War II suburban nudist experiments and they ways in which standard 1950s and 1960s tract homes, mostly in Florida and California, were adapted to allow for modern concepts in indoor-outdoor living.

Shrank is an editor for and contributing author to the new book, Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body (Routledge, 2017), co-edited with Didem Ekici. The collection brings together twelve scholarly essays focused on the relationship between the modern architectural history of North America and Europe and modernist obsessions with health and the body. The essays interrogate unusual ways of thinking about architectural settings, nature and natural environments, and urbanism and physical well-being, keeping in mind the limitations of utopian design and the tension between healing the body and controlling it. Healing Spaces, Modern Architecture, and the Body’s  examination of how health and the body have been intentionally integrated into the design of the built environment helps expose processes of judging bodies “good” or “bad” while celebrating inherently playful architectural elements as many of the architects, designers, doctors, and homeowners simply tried to make living spaces pleasurable, alleviating of pain, and joyful.

Sarah Schrank is Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in United States women’s history, urban history, and the history of the body. She received her PhD in United States history from the University of California, San Diego and has held research fellowships from the Haynes Foundation, the Huntington, the Shelby Cullom Davis Center at Princeton University, and the Wolfsonian.

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