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A Wall of Books: The Gender of Natural Colors in Modern Architecture
Journal of Architectural Education (1999)
  • William Braham, University of Pennsylvania

This essay examines a decorative convention-the display of books in modern interiors-that appears in both The International Style (1932) by Henry Russel Hitchcock and Philip Johnson and The Personality of a House (1930) by Emily Post. Looking at books in this way constitutes a partial history of the architectural palette that arises from the privileging of natural over applied finishes. The internal logic of that practice and its class and gender characterizations are discussed in the context of the separation of architecture from interior design. The "natural" palette and its host of attendant conventions is everywhere visible in contemporary architecture and interior design and even helps to define the boundary between the two practices, to explain what is and is not architectural.

  • International Style,
  • Emily Post
Publication Date
Citation Information
William Braham. "A Wall of Books: The Gender of Natural Colors in Modern Architecture" Journal of Architectural Education Vol. 53 Iss. 1 (1999)
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