Surveillance, Transparency and the Hidden in Contemporary Culture
Edited By Henriette Steiner and Kristin Veel
10 The Secret Suburb: Second Lives in Second Homes
The ability to be ‘invisible’ seems to be an important quality in relation to a summerhouse. In fact, summerhouses can be said to be ‘invisible’ in a double sense. As I will explore in this chapter, summerhouses are neglected in planning and partly forgotten in Danish building regulations, at the same time as their owners like to see summerhouses as hidden places where they can live secret lives, hidden away from the modern world.
Let me start by looking at developments in early twentieth-century domestic architecture. Naturally, the home was the primary focus for the architects of modernism, because the home was considered to be the space in which crucial aspects of modern life develop and unfold. The leading architects of modernism therefore developed a number of homes that have become architectural landmarks of the time and a continuing source of inspiration for architects today. The best of these homes have the status of icons, representing modernist domestic architecture and the prevailing ideals for which it stood. These icons feature in almost all literature about domestic architecture in the first half of the twentieth century. I will now briefly describe four buildings, built in different decades, which are among the most important of these icons.
Villa Savoye, designed by Le Corbusier in 1928, is probably the most reproduced building in books about the domestic architecture from the 1920s. With its white walls and the almost ritual ascent through the house, from the small washbasin...
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